As part of the Family History Fair, held recently in Hamilton, a team of genealogists have been researching a celebrity family for an in-house documentary called ‘Which Stalk Brought You?’. I was team leader and this has been a wonderful experience.
So, here is what we did and the results. You might like to try this too. Part 1 this month.
I am a member of the NZ Society of Genealogists (www. genealogy.org.nz) and used some of their resources. I also have subscriptions or access to www.findmypast.co.uk, www.ancestry.com.au, www.thegenealogist.co.uk, www.familyrelatives.co.uk, www.originsnetwork.com, www.myheritage.com. Check your local library in case they offer free access to any of these sites. If not, suggest they do!
So, first step: the genealogy program. You can download free starter programs from www. legacyfamilytree.com or www.rootsmagic.com Start by entering what you know – usually your immediate family data. I had to search the internet for information on our celebrities, and found their parents’ names. You should not have to do this!
I then emailed the NZSG School Records Officer, who is able to do a one-person search for a specific name for members. This gave me a location for the family. I also checked the NZSG and clicked on Resources and Members Interests. You don’t have to be a member to do this. Type your surname and if there is a match, your request will be emailed to the member so that they can contact you. I also used the NZSG Pedigree Collection (members only). These are ways of finding others researching your families. We had a great find and were sent a gedcom file of around 800 people with extensive, worldwide research. So a new family file was opened with the .ged file. A gedcom file allows researchers to exchange their data for use in different genealogy programs. Spot checks soon confirmed the high surety level of the research.
You should also, or instead, use search engines to look for previous research (others researching your families). Identify three or four search engines you find beneficial to use, eg: when you enter “Rose Bush” the hits are Rose Bush. Don’t have three favourites? Go to www.trovando.it – access over 30 search engines with your search string, plus different search engines if you click on one of the 11 types of searches, eg: images. My favourites? www.altavista.com, www. google.com, www.clusty. com, www.bing.com
Your search string? Forename and surname in quotes: “Rose Bush”. ~genealogy will give you sites that mention genealogy and similar words, eg: ancestry, family, history, family tree, roots, surname, tree. Watch for words too (minus sign means don’t want), eg: garden. Words to add with a plus sign include country of birth. So “Rose Bush” +~genealogy +England -garden -plants would be a good start.
You are looking for others researching your family and also any records that contain mention of your family – databases like cemetery records, for example. Use www.treepad.com to keep track of your search strings, the search engines and the results.
Next month: finding family in South Africa, England, USA and NZ.