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ancestry.com sucks. I signed up for a month and after not getting anywhere with the DNA results, decided just to search for stuff that I needed to using the records. It won’t let me, despite confirming that I’ve paid. Whenever I click on something to view the record it takes me to a subscription page.

I dislike ancestry. They promise so much and deliver fuck-all, and their results page leaves a lot to be desired. Like familysearch, why show me results that don’t fall into the parameters I specified. It’s a waste of time scrolling through irrelevant results.

Give me findmypast any day.

Edit: Well, it seems the sub I went for only included basic records (which appear to exclude parish records and anything before 1840), which are of no use to me, since I’ve exhausted pretty much all those records, so I asked to cancel, which they have done. I didn’t see any benefit in having a subscription for the DNA part of the site and dislike their search result display so goodbye ancestry.

I recently watched the latest British “Who do you think you are?” DVD.  Normally the show enthuses me to do some genealogy but this series didn’t for some reason.

What did enthuse me was joining a Facebook page on historic Sydney and seeing the old photos.  I contributed a couple from my mother’s photo album and it got me thinking how little I know about that period.  As I looked through old photos I realised I knew little about how (or why) my maternal grandfather’s brothers and parents got to Australia.  Searching online for passenger lists drew no result although I’d got the information on my grandparents from somewhere.  They sailed to Sydney on the Demosthenes in 1922.  Why?  Was one of my grandfather’s brothers there already?

My grandfather had five brothers and two sisters.  Three of the brothers stayed in England but the rest of the family ended up in NSW.  I realised I didn’t have the death dates for two of the brothers.  While searching I came across an Edward Benjamin Rose who was in a battalion sailing from Sydney in June 1915.  Did he go to Australia first?  There is no other information but he would’ve been 23 at the time.  Then I discovered an entry in the AIF project and it had his father’s name as next of kin living in Essex.  It was the right Edward Benjamin then.  Interesting.  He fought on the Aussie side while his brothers fought for England.

Not having any more luck on the Rose brothers I concentrated on my great-grandfather’s wife, Mary Reeve’s family.  I visited ancestry.com.  I hadn’t been there for a while and they’ve changed some things.  I’d read about the changes and some were not happy with them.  It took me a while to even figure out how to get to my mother’s part of the tree instead of my father’s!  Once there I discovered several duplicates in the siblings as well as a mother’s name listed as a sibling.  Fixed all that and focused on the generation back of Reeves and Reynolds.  I looked at the “hints”.  The hints are now useless unless you have a subscription.  They don’t actually tell you anything.  Now that ancestry is next to useless I returned, with very low expectations, to familysearch.org and did a few searches to try and fill in some gaps.

I was pleasantly surprised that the results were quite useful.  Although there appear to be many “Gabriel Reeve”s, I found my Gabriel Reeve’s marriage to Hannah Wright.  I got the details and ordered the marriage certificate from GRO.  Excellent.  I also found Gabriel’s death in 1873 but I’ll leave ordering that certificate until later.  I have the details in any case.

I made a list of all other Reeves with the name Gabriel living in Ipswich.  They might be relatives.  Some of them were christened in the same church so that looks promising.

Not bad progress overall.  I did, however, find that I was re-searching stuff that I’d done before.  I used to have a notebook noting down what I’d previously searched, but do you think I can find it?  I’ll probably find it months down the track.  For that reason I’ve detailed the day’s search here.  Unfortunately, my searching is rather sporadic.  Unable to find results on one side of the tree I head over to another and have no real follow-through.

Oh, I also filled out some biographical details on the Rose family in a word document and hope to continue filling these out for anyone I can.  It’ll be a long slog.  I’m only able to do any searching at the moment because I have some days off work.  The weekends are normally too short to be able to “get into it”.  It’s always so time-consuming.

Enough ramble.  Thanks for reading to anyone who may be!

familysearch.org have changed their website and I’m not sure I like it.  It’s not intuitive, and you have to look all over the page to see the search button.  Pages are slower to load as well.

They seem to want people to sign up and start a tree and add photos.  I was reluctant at first but decided, in the end, that I would.  I thought it would make for easier searching, but no.  It forces you to enter some details twice, as well.  While entering details about one ancestor, including parents and spouse, you then get to the tree to find you have to enter parents and spouse again.  What a pain in the proverbial.

I did,  however, find some details on the Scottish side with a possible birth date and place for John Sutherland (taken from another member’s tree).  However, when I try to search for confirmation of those details, I can’t find any.  This is a common problem when trying to verify details on others’ trees.

I found another tree for Elizabeth Cornelius with details going back to 1700 and on various linked families to 1640.  Fascinating stuff if correct – all apparently based in Redruth, Cornwall.

Finally, I found some descendants of some Grunsells, but could not add these to my tribalpages website as it’s playing up, showing just a blank page – very frustrating.

I do like the fact that you can get proper birth or marriage details at familysearch (when you can find an entry), rather than just an index.  This is totally useless when the index lists only one name and a vague date.  There’s no way of verifying if it’s the right one if you can’t enter a spouse or parent’s name.  There are several Richard Jones dying in 1864 in Shropshire, for example.  There’s no way I can purchase death certificates for all of them – really stupid.

Anyway, very time-consuming, and I don’t really feel I’ve achieved much.

There are no more useful ‘tips’ on ancestry.com, so it’s just as well I’m cancelling the sub, but where to now?

I had meant to update before now on the searching I’ve done recently, but I forgot and have now forgotten the specifics.

I ordered and paid for the death certificate of Christopher Dart, an ancestor on my father’s maternal line.  He was a Cornish miner, and died in 1837 of consumption, a common thing for miners.  He left a widow and several young children.

While briefly going through some files, I discovered I did not have the birth or marriage certificate of my maternal grandfather, surprisingly.  I rectified that.  They didn’t give me any new information but it was important to have.

I have cancelled my ancestry.co.uk sub which expires next month.  I’ll give it a break for a while then sign up again to the Australian site to fill in some gaps on the Aussie side.

I logged into ancestry and was looking at one of my Rose ancestors, when I noticed that another researcher had the dates of death and marriage.  I verified the date of marriage and added it, wondering why I didn’t have this before.  I also found a death notice in the Sydney Morning Herald for Mary Kate (and John Edward), so verified that date as well.  I looked up the 1911 census for them both.

One of the researchers had added two extra children to a Rose couple, which I knew was wrong.  I discovered they’d got this information from the census.  The entry for Rose included a Reeve visitor and then two children under that.  The researcher (and indeed ancestry) took them to be children of the Rose household and not the children of the Reeve visitor.  Another census return search revealed those children were indeed Reeve and not Rose.

While at the newspaper archive site, I searched for Kercher and found a few results in the Sydney Morning Herald, but was also happy to see that they will be adding material from the Goulburn papers soon.

I logged onto ancestry.com and found a message from a fellow researcher who thought I had some families mixed up.  I couldn’t see where, so have sent her details I have and asked what she means.

While there, I reviewed some hints and linked a few census returns and BMD details (which I already had saved but hadn’t linked on the tree there).  Other researchers differ on details on the surname of Matthew Darlington’s wife.  Although they appear to have the same person (other details match), one puts his wife’s surname as Malam (which I had) and the other as Johnson.  There are some differences in birth places too so someone somewhere may have the wrong record (although dates seem to be the same).

I had a look at the Rose side of the family and found more details for Hannah Reynolds, connected to the Reeve family.  That’s branching out a bit.

I then looked at hints for Mary Rose, nee Mudd.  I found national probate details at her death in 1900.  She left 1240 pounds, 10s 4d to one of her sons.  I remember my great aunt mentioning something along these lines.  Because Mary had left everything to him, he made sure that his sisters (of which there were 10!) were left money on his death.  I think  he only left it to the younger sisters.  I will have to go back to my aunt’s letter, in which she mentions this.  So, nice to see evidence of the will.

All the above took me a long time and the sun is shining and I have much to do, so I must stop there for now.