A natural question when someone first thinks about finding out more about their ancestors is “what will I get out of it?” It fascinates us how many different answers there can be to that question. Those who have watched “Who Do You Think You Are?” will know how varied people’s ancestors can be – rich or poor, from home or abroad, lucky or unlucky.
Here are some examples of the ancestors that we have researched for our clients:
• A woman from Cheshire who had emigrated to USA with her family in 1907. She had lived just by the Anfield Stadium of Liverpool Football Club; her grandfather had run a pub in Chester which is still there; and she had ancestors who had come from Wales in the 17th century.
• Scottish parents from the West of Scotland. We traced the father’s line back to Lanarkshire in the 18th century, including a storekeeper, farmer, miner and carpenter; and the mother’s line back to an ancestor who had known the poet Robert Burns and to Chiefs of one of the Highland clans.
• An Englishman who had moved to Swansea in Wales in the 1720s, at the very start of the Industrial Revolution. He had got involved in copper when Swansea had 50% of total British production; and his son had helped to start the world’s first passenger-carrying railway. We found diaries recording many family activities.
• An Irish judge who had come with his family to Gloucestershire in the late 19th century. He had fled in fear of his life during the Land Wars in Ireland. Another ancestor had been a minister in the Irish parliament.
What you could get out of your family history is a sense of identity, answers to family legends, something to pass on to your children or a lasting hobby. What is certain is that you will get surprises!