Family History Group
Family History is one of our new groups formed in April this year. Greta Mills, the group leader, says she finds running the group really enjoyable and has gained much knowledge from the other members. Greta conducts the meetings in a friendly way, doesn’t dominate, and has a knack of involving all members. She initiates discussions by asking each member how they have got on since their last meeting. The replies naturally lead on to further discussions when salient points are raised. These included advice on where to continue their search and plenty of ideas were given: the Commonwealth War Graves Commission was one and apparently it not only provides information of those killed and buried abroad during the wars but also includes those who were injured, brought home and who later died
Basically Family History is tracing your family roots and the general advice from one member was to follow one line and not deviate from it until you got stuck; then go on to another branch and quite often some new way of doing things or an unexpected link would lead to extending the first line of the tree. Another member described her family tree as starting our as a single tree but now she has a forest and this forest has a lot of leaves. She cited the instance when a local person died and ‘from one of the leaves’ in her forest she realised that in some tenuous way she was related to him.
Various websites were discussed including Ancestry, which apparently has occasional free weekends and quite often has special offers where, for as little as a penny, you can have a month’s searching. Of course history plays an important part in tracing family trees and the group is lucky to have one member in particular who has a wealth of knowledge on historical dates and occurrences and could give reasons as to why something may have happened – for instance a person moving to London at a certain period may have been because of the Industrial Revolution. Immigration and emigration were discussed and ships passenger lists could be checked for these. The ideas were endless and every comment warranted some discussion.
There was an account from one member who said she had followed a lead to America and had written to four possible people for information. Three had negatively replied and it wasn’t until two years later that she received a positive reply from the fourth person and so could progress with that branch of her tree; it seems patience is an asset.
I didn’t spend long with the Family History Group but what I saw was an enthusiastic group that were learning from each other and, judging by the spontaneous laughter emitting constantly, were enjoying it.
Unfortunately this group is full but if you are interested in Family History do let Greta know and she will place you on a waiting list and, should there be a space one day when a permanent member can’t attend, she could invite you along. As with all groups if the waiting list gets enough people listed then we will endeavour to start a further group.