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It’s all very well saying I’ll detail my searches in a spreadsheet, but often I’m not at my home computer when I’m searching so I don’t have the spreadsheet to hand.  Often I’ll think of something “just to see” and veer off in a different direction, without any methodical follow-up.  It’s a mess.  Then I read past posts on this blog and often can’t remember what I found or how I got there.  It’s really bad.  It all takes time and focus, which is difficult when you have a short period (maybe an afternoon) in which to do it.  No wonder I end up doing the same searches all the time.

I was idling away and thought I’d do another search on Christopher Dart in Redruth.  I haven’t been able to find his birth in Cornwall.  Well, today I happened upon a forum with someone saying they suspected he came from Devon.  Ah!  Interesting.  But why the suspicion?  Is it because there are a lot of Darts in Devon?  Very possible.  With that in mind I did a search for Christopher Dart outside of Cornwall and the nearest I found to 1801 was one baptised 3 January 1799 in Hatherleigh, Devon, son of Roger and Herriot.  Hmm.  Children are often named after grandparents but there are no Rogers or Harriet(?)s in Christopher’s family.  There must be more than one Christoper Dart in the whole of Devon for that time, but it appears to be an uncommon first name, if the results are to be believed.

And this is where I make another complaint about search results.  It’s no wonder I draw complete blanks time after time on ancestry and familysearch.  Familysearch, in particular, is a nightmare.  For example, I might enter the name Joe Bloggs, with a date and place and perhaps even parents, and what happens?  I get a list of results with Joe Bloggs listed as the father at a christening for that period.  WTF?  So, I usually end up leaving the first name blank and trawl through heaps of results.  I once entered the father’s name as the name of the birth or christening I was looking for (when it was his son I was looking for) and only then did I get the correct father, and had to search through heaps of irrelevant results.  That’s another thing.  Why ask for a date range if you’re going to show me results 50 years later than what I wanted?  It pisses me off.

Ancestry is just as bad.  Why show me a load of totally irrelevant results?  If my person died in 1850, why are you showing me results for a person born in 1870?  WTF?  I get so irate.  It’s just wasting my time.

I’ve been thinking about the 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge.  It might help get me focussed, although I know it goes against the grain to focus on one person at a time – I want all the answers now, for everyone!  Naturally, for such a challenge, I do not want to wait until January – why wait for some arbitrary start time?  There are 52 weeks in a year regardless of when the year starts, so I thought of doing it from 1 July.  It probably would be a challenge as there would be other interests and events to distract me AND I’ve just sent off my DNA sample, so there’s that whole huge learning curve with DNA matches and trees, etc, but  I think I’ll do it anyway.  It could actually be a challenge to find 52 ancestors that I can write anything about, but it doesn’t have to be a lot.  I could also just write about my search for more information or focus on a sibling instead.  I’ve decided I need to know more about siblings and perhaps searching for them will uncover more.  Past searches have proved that right.

Anyway, I’ll start on Friday.