Robyn expressed frustration that a lot of people who are DNA matches don't have family trees online, while others have private trees. We talked about the advantages of public trees, particularly for the sharing of photographs and documents, some of which can be quite rare. Andi described sharing photographs helpful, recently finding some photos and documents of a grandfather she knew little about. Andi is currently accessing a lot of BDM certificates and described taking a sharing approach to them. A useful suggestion which all agreed on - to make your tree private while working on it, moving it to public view at other times.
Our focus area this month was Irish Records. Irish born U3A member and keen family researcher Elizabeth Kearns gave a most informative presentation on Free Irish Records, using a case study and other resources relating to her family to demonstrate the process of discovering a range of documents. Elizabeth answered questions from the group during her presentation and stayed to contribute ideas to people with Irish ancestry who wrote about 'black holes' in their research later in the session. We would really like to thank Elizabeth for the effort she took in preparing the presentation, for the handouts and list of resources prepared as a follow up to her presentation.
Having missed last month’s topic ‘Family Treasure Chest’, Wendy brought in a handmade scarecrow doll and her grandmother's treasured doyley's...
Stories discussed in the second half of the session related to 'black holes' class members remain perplexed about in their research. The stories shared were most engaging, with lots of hypotheses or hunches for the group to consider, some of which resulted in suggestions which might assist in making a breakthrough. You can read our 'A Black Hole' stories at https://u3abenalla.weebly.com/family-stories/category/a-black-hole.
At the end of the session, we discussed planning for 2022. The group would like to continue and were positive about the suggestion of developing a cooperative team approach. Both Wendy and Bev mentioned needing to step back a little next year, Wendy to travel, Bev to 'downsize' and sell her home. Barry has already put his hand up. With almost all class members 'intermediate' to 'advanced' family researchers this year, the 'story telling approach' adopted during Covid was very well received and will almost certainly continue to be a component of the course. The small classroom is now available, so it may be possible to offer small group, hands on sessions for beginners as well next year. Watch this space for further developments.
Next Month's Topic - ‘Census’ Find one of your favourite families in your family tree. Pick a year for a census in which you describe what you know about where they were living, who was likely to be living there, what their occupations were, what else was happening in the country, world at the time… in fact anything else you know about them then. Create your own census, or draw upon a census document you have found during your research to develop your ‘census report’ around.
Wendy Sturgess and Bev Lee