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Family History 4 All

 Learn how to trace YOUR family tree.

Newsletter No. 35 - January 2010.

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1. Our welcome message.

2. Featured Article – Courting Information - How the Local Courthouse Can Be a Wealth of Information by Paul Duxbury and Kevin Cook

3. Latest Family History news: Research information

4. Next Months Featured Article: Family Tree terms: What are Stepfathers, Half-sisters, First Cousins Twice Removed etc? by Nick Thorne


Here we are well into February 2010 and only just producing the first newsletter of the year! I don't know where time goes these days. December and January were just a blur what with Christmas and New Year celebrations and then I decided to turn 60 on the 14th of January! Carol asked me if I wanted a party or a vacation for my birthday. I decided on the latter. We had a wonderful break in Benidorm. Here's a sample of what we got up to:

Scary wasn't it? But we enjoy our karaoke.

Please forward this newsletter to your friends/relatives if they are interested in family history, with our compliments.

That's enough of my ramblings...on with the newsletter.

Jim Ackroyd

2. How the Local Courthouse Can Be a Wealth of Information by Paul Duxbury and Kevin Cook

While researching your family tree you may have heard that a trip to a courthouse should be a last resort. Often this advice is passed along as a result of a futile trip, or similar unhappy experience. However, that is just not true; a trip to the local courthouse can result in a great deal of information that may be valuable to your genealogical searches. To avoid this, make sure that you know what you are looking for in your family tree, and that you are aware , where information useful to filling out  your family tree is located in the courthouse. Once you have this lined up, you will see that a trip to the courthouse really can be a profitable trip. All it takes is some preparation and discipline to make it worth your time.

 First things first, a courthouse can provide a wealth of genealogy information. As it is home to records going back as far as the courthouse itself in many instances including property records, wills, birth certificates, death certificates and so forth, the bedrock of building a family tree. However, you have to know what you are looking for when you go into the courthouse records, in order to ensure your trip pays off. Here are a couple of tips.

First of all, consider this: you will be going into the record books at the court house. They are large and heavy often, weighing up to 20 pounds each, with one page often covering most of the glass on a photocopier. They are located in racks that are metal and have pockets, that are sized to hold each large record book. Each of these pockets is generally equipped with rollers that allow you to slide them in and out. They can also be located as high as 6 feet up and as low as the floor. Proceed with caution if you have  back or knee trouble. Try to avoid the days the court is in session and that most real estate closings occur at the end of the month, so the court is liable to be filled with lawyers and clerks. Consider making your trip to the courthouse during the middle two weeks of the month if you plan to peruse the records.

In order to maximise your time for researching your family tree, when you arrive at the courthouse you should ask if the records you are seeking are there. Many court houses have moved most of their older family tree records to the state archives, sometimes these moved Irish family tree records have been converted to microfiche. There is also a chance you will be told that records aren't there simply because not every courthouse clerk is receptive to genealogists. They reckon if they tell you the records are not there,  that you will go away. Feel free to do a quick search anyway. If you are told they are at the state archives, its a good idea to follow up phone call just to be sure.

In order to make your trip to the courthouse as productive as possible, you should make sure that you are going into the visit with a plan, why not prioritise  what you are looking for. It can be hard to prioritise, so why not put the items that you have been searching for the longest on top of the list. In order to keep yourself focused once you are in the room, write out your priorities and take them with you. Index cards, or a typed page will all work just fine. Make sure that you keep yourself focused so that you get as much done as possible in the time you are there. Remember, productivity is the key to this trip.

Genealogy can be an amazing hobby, but there is so much you want to find out that you find yourself stuck. Many times experts will tell you to avoid that trip to the courthouse like the plague. You may be told that you are not welcomed there, that the trip will be unproductive, and that you will deal with rude lawyers all day. That all may be true, but there is a way to make sure your trip is as productive as possible. Make sure that you are aware of the procedures and "tricks" used to avoid being uninvited. In addition, make sure you have a plan going in. Your time will be limited so you need to be focused and on task during the time you are there. Follow these handy tips and no matter and your trip to the court house will give a wealth of Irish family tree information and bring new genealogy records to light about your Irish ancestry and family tree

About the Authors

Paul Duxbury and Kevin Cook own www.amateur-genealogist.com  and www.ourfamilytrees.co.uk   two of the leading Genealogy Websites.  In addition Paul owns a wide range of exciting websites which can be viewed at www.paulduxbury.com 

3. Research Information:

http://www.ffhs.org.uk/tips/adoption.php - Adoption a difficult area to research. You'll find lot's of advice here.

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizensandrights Trace your family history using Directgov. Find out how to go about researching your family tree.

http://www.irishfamilyresearch.co.uk/  Trace your Irish Ancestry Here

4. Next Months Featured Article:

Family Tree terms: What are Stepfathers, Half-sisters, First Cousins Twice Removed etc? by Nick Thorne

Family historians need to be able to understand the terms stepfather, stepmother, half-brother and second cousin twice removed when creating a family tree. The Nosey Genealogists tries to make sense of it in this extract.... Read the whole article next time. Very interesting!

I really hope you enjoyed this months newsletter. And in case you forgot earlier - Please sign the  Guestbook.

Jim. Editor

PS. Please forward this newsletter to your friends/relatives if they are interested in family history, with our compliments.

To send us a comment or an article you can  us here

Or by snail mail to: Jim Ackroyd. Address: 12 Avondale Road. Doncaster. South Yorkshire. UK. DN2 6DE

Take a look at our other web sites here: http://jamesackroyd.com

P.S. I hope you are not offended by the advertisements on this site. I get a small commission from some of them which helps towards the cost of my hosting and domain fees. Sometimes I make a little extra. In fact I've worked out that if the 'little extra' grows at around the same rate, I should be able to retire when I'm 129 years old :-)



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