My Top 5 Genealogy ‘to-dos’ for 2013


I don’t really go for New Year’s Resolutions, as I like to challenge myself on a daily basis, but I thought that I would put down 5 areas of my family tree research where I hope to make progress in 2013.

1. The Missing Bowers

If you use RootsChat.com, you may have spotted me trying to unravel the Bowers family of Burwell, Cambridgeshire. There’s quite a lot of them there during the 19th century, and amongst them i am sure, *should be* my Great Great Great Great Grandfather, Henry Bowers – yet there’s no sign of him in an appropriate part of the baptism registers, and unhelpfully he was born in about 1812 (so, well before that helpful 1st July 1837 date) and there’s no parents noted on his 1832 marriage entry in nearby Wicken. Henry’s children’s Burwell connections are frequent, yet he himself has yet to appear.

I feel that I’m beginning to make progress though, by researching all the Bowers in Burwell by cross-referencing the registers to census returns. Annoyingly, my favourite census – the 1851 for Burwell – is missing, and so this leaves a hole in the data.

I am determined to crack this one. Somehow.

2. My Time-traveling Great Great Great Great Great Grandmother

Elizabeth Yarrow‘s birth, death and burial dates and place of death is open to discussion as none of the key sources corroborate. A death in London, a burial in Stretham, a date of burial in Stretham differing from the date of burial (randomly) noted in the register for neighbouring hamlet Little Thetford, date of death and age different between burial registers and gravestone.

It’s all a mess… and with her 1837 death year, there’s also no suitable certificate to help iron it all out (the one i did excitedly find was for a small child). My 5x Great Grandmother’s life and death might be impossible to unravel unless I get my hands on some newspapers and some railway records.

3. Writing that book

So, for quite a while now I’ve been toying with writing up research into a book, but then the genealogist’s work is never ever finished – so at what point do I start and end the book? What do i include and omit? Having several friends who are published authors themselves helps, but I hope to be able to work out how, and start, to turn my years of research into something that can be shared in print and in eBook.

If you’re a published genealogy author – drop me a message – i’d love to hear about your experiences.

4. Visiting places familiar to my ancestors

I’m quite good at this, mainly because few strayed from Cambridgeshire. Top of my list is to find the building (or site) of my Great Grandmother’s birthplace - The Stables, Abercorn Place, Kilburn. I’ve meandered the streets via Google Streetview, and I’ve been in the neighbouring streets (including the famous Abbey Road) where the family lived and worked… but this place remains unvisited.

5. Killing off my wicked Great x4 Grandmother

My Great x4 Grandmother, Mary Clarke ended up in court and eventually prison for neglecting, abusing and playing the role of wicked step-mother to her husband’s children during the mid-1800s. She’d already bore my Great x3 Grandmother and a brother outside of marriage and before becoming the wife of William Bailey of Botesdale, Suffolk. This was to be to their advantage, as they went on to escape the miserable family life that followed. No wonder my Great x3 Grandmother Caroline Clarke changed her name and hid her parentage. Meanwhile, after a couple of stints in the workhouse, and one in prison, Mary vanishes after 1881… but I’ve yet to kill her off.

Mary, i’m coming to get you!

What genealogy brick walls are you hoping to demolish in 2013? Is there something special you hope to achieve in the coming year?  Let me know in the comments below.

Alternatively, join in the conversation over on LinkedIn.

About Andrew Martin

+Andrew Martin is owner and lead writer for History Repeating and Family Tree UK. Genealogist, historian, writer, photographer and would-be archaeologist. He'd love a time machine, but worries that it might take all the fun out of it.
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8 Responses to My Top 5 Genealogy ‘to-dos’ for 2013

  1. Valmay Young says:

    An excellent idea. I might try and do the same as I gave up with New Years resolutions years ago due to my inability to keep them!

  2. Hello fellow GeneaBlogger!
    I found your site through the LinkedIn group, Genealogical & Historical Research. I am preparing my 2013 goals for my blog today, and the question you posed piqued my attention. I was unaware of RootsChat.com, even after researching since 2002. I am glad to say I am now a registered member.
    One-half of my roots originate in England, and one-fourth from Wales. I have done some Census research on my Welsh roots during a year’s membership to the World Deluxe Edition of Ancestry.com. My research efforts in recent years have been directed toward my husband’s African American ancestry, and are the subject of a family history memoir on which I am presently working.
    Looking forward to seeing more of your posts in the months to come! Hope you have a very happy, blessed & prosperous New Year!

    • familytreeuk says:

      Hi Debra,
      Welcome to the blog! Glad you enjoyed the post and that you’re having some Genealogy Resolutions too – can’t wait to read them.

      RootsChat.com is a great site, and has been the most useful place to get some fresh eyes, ideas, and solutions to many of my queries in the past.

      Have a wonderful New Year, and I look forward to hearing how you get on with your list on your blog.

      Andrew

  3. Pingback: Genealogy Resolutions for 2013 « Valmay's Family History(onics)

  4. Pingback: Those top 5 genealogy resolutions of 2013 | History Repeating

  5. Pingback: My Top 5 New Year Genealogy Resolutions for 2014 | History Repeating

  6. Pingback: Genealogy Resolutions for 2014 | Valmay's Family History(onics)

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