Right at the tail end of 2014, I set myself some more New Year Genealogy Resolutions, in a bid to get myself to focus on solving some more problems (if only in a rush in December 2015). So, how did I get on?
1. Source and Scan even more photographs
I can confidently say that I have achieved this.
In my resolution, I included a screenshot of my current archived collection of photos, and it stated that I had 258 faces across 273 photographs. As of right now, I have tagged 283 different relatives faces across 321 photographs.
Okay, that’s an increase, but I didn’t even start talking to my more distant Gilbert relatives, or my elderly uncle, so I think I could easily improve on that if I tried harder.
2. Kill off Mary Clarke
Honestly, this woman just won’t die. Mary Bailey (née Clarke) was my 4x Great Grandmother, and she has survived conviction and hard labour for abusing, neglecting, and cruelty towards her step-children, and a few periods in the workhouse, and yet she continues to dodge death.
In my resolution, I hinted towards a possible lead that might place her burial place under what is now a housing estate. However, the death certificate proved incorrect, and so she remains – out there.
Somewhere. Almost teasing me.
I’ll get you Mary!
3. Delve into new record sets
It’s easy to stick to censuses and parish records, but there’s so much more out there.
In 2015 I achieved this – I explored the newly launched online Wills service – which allowed me to download copies of relatives Wills from the comfort of my desk.
I’ve continued to explore newspapers, and these have often thrown me some new slivers of information – or leads to go on at least.
As I write this post, I’ve just had an email from Alex Cox at the FindMyPast team telling me about yet another batch of records they’ve added to their site. Honestly, you guys ruin my weekends!!
So, just a couple of minutes ago, I took advantage of some newly available British India Ecclesiastical Returns and downloaded a copy of the marriage entry for a Sgt Thomas Yarrow and his wife Catherine O’Keefe (née Cambert) in 1863 at Faizabad. I already have a great deal of information on these two (including a family photo), but the marriage entry finally gives me the exact date of this event.
4. Write more
I kind of wrote more…. but unlike my resolution, it didn’t involve a book.
Instead, after Google announced it’s ‘mobilegeddon‘ update back in April 2015 (where Search Results will be biased towards mobile-friendly sites), I’ve been busy designing a fully responsive website template with which to upgrade The Family Tree UK website. I’ve done this from scratch, and now I’m slowly migrating the content across.
So yes, I did write more, but it was in HTML5, CSS3 and all in the name of future proofing my site. I also took the opportunity to tidy up some data and links too – so essentially all behind the scenes stuff.
5. Complete Simpson Bishop’s timeline
This one has puzzled me for a while ever since I stumbled across an unexpected departure from rural fenland up to the cotton mills, and an extra two marriages.
I lose Simpson Bishop after the deaths and burials of two of his young daughters in 1874. At the time of the 1871 census, he is not living with his third wife. Instead, he is living a short distance away with some of his older children.
He goes AWOL 1881-1891, whilst his third wife Sarah is easy to find – yet she states that she is ‘married’. She finally states she is a widow on the 1901 census.
Did he abandon her? Were they simply living apart on the census because they had a big family that wouldn’t fit in one small house for cotton mill workers like them? Did he emigrate? Did he die just after the 1871 census?
These questions puzzle me, and I feel that I need to give more attention to the Lancashire records and maps so that I can make judgements as to where he might have gone and why.
So, like Mary Clarke, he’s still out there… and I will find him.
Did you have any Genealogy Resolutions from 2015?
Last year a few of you suggested that you might participate with your own resolutions, so I’m wondering how yours fared – better or worse than mine?
It’s so easy to get sidetracked in family history if its your hobby as your attention competes with everything else that’s going on in your life. I’d like to think that professional genealogists, being more focussed and deadline conscious, would be better at Genealogy Resolutions. What do you think?
Anyway, have a think about what you might aim to do in 2016, as my 2016 Genealogy Resolutions are almost ready!
In the meantime, Happy Holidays!