Have you ever wondered if you are related to somebody famous? An A-List celeb from Hollywood or someone that helped change the course of history? Popular TV programmes, such as Who Do You Think You Are?, have encouraged more people to research their family tree. But are you confused about where to begin and need some handy hints? With the aid of expert Ian Marson, from genealogy company Linklines, we have put together this guide to building your family tree.
“Being organised is important and when starting out the most common mistake people make is not to write everything down,” states Ian.
Your initial research is important and a lot of it takes place offline. Here’s where to begin:
Ian, accredited by the Association of Genealogists and Researches Archive (AGRA), advises:
“Start with what you know about yourself and your family. Talk to relatives, look at what family papers you have and ask your relatives to do the same.
“It is important to write all this down, even if you are not sure if the facts are correct, you can always check these out later.”
Start with yourself and add in parents, siblings, grandparents and great-grandparents if you can get information that far back. Rough notes taken down (as above), can be converted into a more appealing visual look online through websites such as Genes Reunited that may be easier to read.
When using documents for the family tree, Ian adds:
“It is essential to have these so you can actually prove relationships between people. Never guess and always check your sources. Write it down, take copies if possible and most importantly keep a record of what you have checked, whether you find anything or not. Otherwise you will forget where you have looked and in five years’ time you will be looking at the same records you have looked at before.
“Also, your family history will be a legacy for your descendants and they will want to know what records you have found and where they can find them.”
Play around with FreeBMD and the census searches to get used to the way they work in the first instance. The more information you have the better and dates are generally shown in the quarter of the year the event took place. Census records are particularly helpful in confirming names and extra relatives you may not be aware from your initial research. Extra information is also provided on censuses, such as any children that may have died young or between censuses.
“Building a family tree is much more than collecting names and dates – it’s called putting flesh on the bones. So once you have found birth, marriage and death records and looked at census records make a note of occupations and where people lived then go to that locality and see what other records are available. For instance in Sheffield many worked as cutlers so it is worth looking at the records of the cutlers company.
“You may find criminals in your family. It was not uncommon because what we may consider a misdemeanour nowadays may at one time have been viewed as much more serious.”
“Newspaper reports are always a good source of information and don’t forget that your ancestors could have made wills which would give a good indication of any property and belongings they had.”
In terms of ancestors who may have been overseas, Ian explains that a good website to use is Cyndi’s List:
“If you have relatives overseas then try searching the internet first to see if there are any online records available. A good web site to look at is Cyndi’s List, which has many links to records all over the world.”
Transcriptions – Online records have usually been transcribed by volunteers and so errors can occur in spelling of names. Whilst in the majority of cases searches should provide results you are looking for, it may be worth ticking the phonetic search box if struggling to find a relative, particularly with surnames that are pronounced the same but spelt differently (i.e. Keiley/Keeley).
“Thinks about your surname and think about how it could be spelt in other ways and the chances are that as you search further back you will come across that spelling. Never assume your surname will be spelt the same was in every record” advises Ian. “It was not uncommon for people to be unable to read or write so if anyone had to write a name down they may well spell it as they saw fit, for example Clark, Clarke, Clerk and Smith, Smyth, Smythe.”
Errors on Census Records – As with transcriptions, early censuses were the responsibility of enumerators – paid volunteers – who collated the information on behalf of the government. If the forms had not been completed by the homeowner, the enumerator would question the household family members and fill in the information based on their answers. As a result this has meant that records on censuses can change, such as ages of household members, birth locations, occupation and spelling of names. This was as a result of illiteracy and also a lack of knowledge about some of these details. Findmypast.co.uk provides some great information on common errors on census records.
Irish Census Records – Although census records were kept for Ireland, sadly a lot of them were destroyed in fires and have been lost. Alternatives have been kept but a lot of information is now inaccessible. 1901 and 1911 censuses are available online at http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/.
Change of names: When using information provided by grandparents and great-grandparents, one issue you may come across is that they sometimes refer to siblings and relatives by nicknames or shortened names (i.e. James becomes Jim) and not their original name. Any documents left in the family can help provide accuracy for close members of family.
The Experience of Researching Your Family Tree
Building a family tree can be an enjoyable and interesting experience particularly when learning things you didn’t know about yourself such as extended family. It requires a lot of patience and perseverance on your part and online tools can help get you started.
Ian offers some final words for researchers:
“Be sceptical: there is so much online now relating to family history and unfortunately there are many errors so another mistake is not to check out the information you have found. If you do see other family trees online that you think are part of your family then check the credibility of these. Many are wrong and you will start barking up the wrong tree if you don’t check them out thoroughly.
“Never miss out a link, always work from the known into the unknown. It is a big mistake to jump to the next generation back without first verifying what you know. Never rush, take your time and be methodical. If you are serious about tracing your family history then you will make a big investment in the amount of time you spend doing that, so the return on your investment is to know that you have done the research and proved your pedigree without any doubts.”
Have you ever been interested in looking into your family tree or already started building it? Share your experiences and tips below with the rest of our Plusnet community and let us know how you are getting on!
Have you ever wondered how many other people are on the Internet doing the same thing as you? How many people are on the same page you are such as reading the same news article, or watching the same video as you? How about during a multinational event? Here at Plusnet, we thought we would find out just how significant big events are in terms of driving traffic.
We live in a connected world, where anything that happens can be seen, photographed, reported on and read by billions of people. Here are some key statistics from the events that you may be familiar with over the past eighteen months.
Red Bull Stratos was a truly global event that saw millions of people tune in live to see daredevil Felix Baumgartner jump worldwide and many more view his achievements in the following days. If you haven’t heard of this, then here are some headline facts:
To date 35 million people have watched Felix Baumgartner fall from space, with 8 million watching live. This is a massive number and we can see this representation in our graph below, which – unsurprisingly – shows a huge spike as more people came aware of the Austrian’s challenge and tuned into YouTube.
There is a steady incline as more households added to the downloading traffic until it reaches its peak (where the arrow points to), which is where Felix jumped from the balloon. If you were part of this, you were a small piece of YouTube history. After he had jumped and landed safely, there is a massive drop off as people turned off and did something else.
There is nothing more significant than a royal wedding to unite the world, with people from far and wide tuning in to see the then Prince William get married to Kate Middleton.
Although not quite as massive on our network as Felix Baumgartner, many people opting instead to watch it live on the television, for those people out or perhaps having the misfortune of having to work on the occasion, it still managed to raise some healthy figures. At its peak, over 4 gigabits per second was being used for streaming from the BBC website. Much of the demand we saw at that time was from business customers, however, over 33% still came from consumers watching. The amount of bandwidth was triple the amount usually seen at this time of day too!
The biggest and most sustained increase in Internet usage however has come from last year’s London Olympics. The organisers for the Olympics said they wanted to inspire a generation. So did they? Here are some statistics:
The two-week, quadrennial sporting event saw Internet usage skyrocket – no more so than from business users. As we can see from the graph below, business use, depicted by the darker line, more than doubled across several days – no doubt as workers sneakily tuned into Olympics coverage whilst at their desks throughout the working week. Traffic from business use returned to a low level from the 3rd, which was incidentally the first weekend.
The most popular event of the Olympics, at least in bandwidth usage terms anyway, was when Bradley Wiggins took the Cycling Time Trial Gold medal, with a peak of 13Gbps. This was followed by the Tennis and 100m, with a peak of 12Gbps.
We know that people using our broadband, whether at work or at home, want to be able to watch big events particularly if it is once in a lifetime, such as the London Olympics was. In the case of events like the Olympics we have to consider not only the normal every day demand and the extra traffic from people watching the event but also increased usage from people working from home who didn’t want to travel. In order to ensure that everyday browsing, streaming and gaming continues to work as normal and everyone gets a good experience on the event traffic and their work VPNs Plusnet uses traffic prioritisation. This traffic prioritisation ensures that interactive and real time traffic will take priority over less time critical traffic, like file downloads, so that where one person in a household is watching the football game they don’t see any buffering because someone else is downloading the latest software updates for their phone at the same time.
Were you part of our statistics through streaming any of these events? Do you prefer to watch events live on the Internet or in front of the television? Tell us your thoughts below…
Viewers can relive the incredible excitement and atmosphere of the inaugural Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon in an hour-long TV programme this Sunday [November 3].
The special highlights show is to be screened on:
Channel 4/HD at 7.05am on Sunday 3rd November
Channel 4 + 1 at 8.05am on Sunday 3rd November
It will feature inspirational stories from the thousands of runners who took part, great sky-high shots from the race helicopter, an in-depth focus on the elite field and interviews with some of the many celebrities who ran.
The programme is to be hosted by well-known presenters Rob Walker and Charlie Webster. Rob is the current BBC master of ceremonies for the World Snooker Championships and part of the BBC’s 2012 Olympics reporting team. Charlie has reported and presented for BBC Football Focus, Channel 4 and is a regular Sky Sports News presenter.
The television programme was commissioned by Plusnet and produced by Dream Team Television.
Jamie Ford, CEO of Plusnet said:
“The Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon captured the public’s imagination well before anyone even got to the start line and the amazing scenes on the day have only cemented that.
“This event is destined to have a grand legacy but we wanted to ensure we played our play in this and we’re proud to enable the event to be showcased across the world through this TV programme.”
A version of the programme will also be shown on:
Over 6,500 people signed up to take part in the first ever Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon which took place on the ancient streets of York on Sunday 20th October.
Demand for this year’s event was so high that it sold out in just three days when it was launched in January.
Places in the 2014 event are now available via the Ultimate Season Ticket at http://www.runforall.com
Alternatively would-be participants can have first chance at places by registered for the 2014 Priority Pre-sale at http://www.theyorkshiremarathon.com
Did you take part in the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon, let us know if you spot yourself on camera in the comments below.
It might come as no surprise to hear that Britons love to boast about their holidays with pictures and updates of their travels being the favourite of social media updates.
However, we’ve been doing some research here at Plusnet and a sure-fire way to lose followers or friends is to excessively post ‘selfies’ with a fifth of people surveyed (20%) saying they would delete someone for littering their timeline with pictures of themselves.
Men are nearly twice as likely (38%) to find photos of babies, pets and food irritating compared to their female counterparts (22%). In fact, women seem to actively enjoy this side of social media with 36% saying they find them satisfying to see.
The idea that women are more natural communicators rings true on social media too; only 28% of women said they didn’t enjoy posting anything online compared to 37% of men.
Kelly Dorset, Head of Products and Digital Care at Plusnet commented
“Here at Plusnet we have a very open relationship with our customers on our community forums. People are spending increasing amounts of time online and as a broadband company, Plusnet is always interested to see what is making them tick while they are there.
“Our research shows, people don’t like to see other people sell themselves too much on social networks. It seems vital to strike a balance between talking about yourself, listening to others and also providing tips and content that friends or colleagues might find useful.
Think before you unfollow – as the research shows you could well be posting updates that annoy other people”
Have a look at what made the top five list in each category…
What do you like/not like about other social media users? Does our research sound familiar? Why not post a comment below to let us know…
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