My Family History Journey
Catching the family history bug
My interest in Family History began back in the early 1980s when Gordon Honeycombe’s Family History series was shown on the BBC.
Of course, way back then it was not so easy to trace your family history as it is today. The parish registers and census returns had not been transcribed or indexed and nothing was online – there was no internet!
So I enrolled on a WEA Family History Course to learn how to research, what documents were useful and where I could find all these records I needed to consult.
When I felt suitably informed, I set off to the Record Office and the Local Studies Library. Out of county parish registers could only be ordered and viewed on microfilm at the Mormon Family History Centre, a process that could take many weeks.
Learning from experience
I learnt how to use the International Genealogy Index, or IGI as it was called, (a very basic forerunner of Family Search) and how to use fiche and micro-film readers to view the parish registers in the Record Office. When an individual disappeared from their place of birth it was extremely time consuming to find them – sometimes impossible!
The Census returns were on microfilms, which took forever to wind to the village you wanted to view. And if you had to look through a town or city on the off-chance of finding that illusive ancestor – well that was unbelievably difficult! Only the 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1871 census were available when I first started and I can remember getting really excited when the 1881 became available!
Each twig on my tree was hard-earned, but at the same time, satisfying to discover each fact.
Expanding my knowledge
I connected with distant cousins from all over the world via the Gloucestershire Family History Society and did lots of research for the branches on their family trees, all sent via snail mail of course.
For a number of years I was a Volunteer at the Gloucestershire Archives, assisting visitors in the Search Room and helping them to find elusive ancestors on Ancestry.
After finding great satisfaction in researching family trees for friends and colleagues, I set up PixBytes Family Tree Research in 2011. Since then I have helped many people discover their family histories.
I look forward to being of assistance to you!