New Forest Family Tree Tips

My New Forest Family Tree Tips info hopes to give you genealogy and history tips to help trace your ancestors. Whenever possible, we'll suggest free or good value tips to start you off to find the births, deaths, marriage records, census history,  service records, passenger list sources and even divorce records. Find out who you are and what fascinating facts you can find out from your own family archives.

For my husbands family tree search we've gone back to 1568! Many members of his family have never, ever lived outside or moved from Hampshire, a great help in a search.
We've found 2 half brothers he didn't know he had so be prepared to be surprised about some info you may find! He had a Tudor relative called Jerome, which I think is a lovely name. And ofcourse they were all serfs and villeins. Not a sign of royal blood ..yet!

New Forest Family Tree Tips - getting started

How to get started 

  • Do you search your fathers or mothers name? 
    I decided because I adored my maternal grandfather, and because he was such a fantastic character I would search his family tree
  • Look out old photos, ask living relatives for stories and ask as many family members as you can find what they have as heirlooms, cuttings etc, and what they remember - my grandfather went over to Dunkirk during WW2 and rescued our servicemen off the beaches. He was awarded a medal and paperwork and was featured in the local press. 
    One quirk of his personality was that he was very casual about some things - he had these important documents etc in his wallet and one day lost the lot!
  • Find a structure which appeals - to me a Family Tree which combines with a Mindmap is essential
  • Build a Family Tree - there are many Family Tree Builders available. We used  My Heritage which is free. 
    You will need to upload a GEDCOM (Genealogical Data Communications) file format which is an easy way to store your family tree. Before you get started there are more resources becoming available all the time. They might give you some areas to think of before you find out what we did and how successful we were, and the mistakes we made along the way!

New Forest Family Tree Tips - updates and offers

New Forest Family Tree TipsNew Forest Family Tree Tips for your family search

Latest release Parish Records are now available from Ancestry which means you can visit church records going back from 1837 to 1538. Often local vicars add their own comments on these records which can be fascinating. We found a comment on one of my relatives which showed the vicar definitely disproved of my relatives morals and questioned the legitimacy of her children!

Manchester Parish records 1541-1985 are now available from  Millions of Parish Records for the city of Manchester. Manchester was already an important trade centre by Tudor times, and it just kept on growing over the centuries. That means you'll find ancestors flocking to the area throughout the 1600s and 1700s.

You may find your relations moved to this area at some time - we were amazed where some of ours were from when we went back over the centuries, and what life changes made them travel away from their roots.

There are also Outward Passenger Lists from 1890 - 1960.

Civil Divorce Records from 1858 - 1911 have also become available.

New Forest family tree tips - what we did to get started

New Forest WW2 Gas Masks
  • We were given all the birth, marriage and death certificates of my maternal grandfathers family. This was a great start.

  • We questioned all living relatives to see what they remembered and asked to copy any photos they had

  • We looked into, what we felt, was an easy to use and free "Family Tree Builder" program and decided on the MyHeritage free software.New Forest family tree tips My Heritage Family Tree Builder and just hit Download

  • We started to add the information we had to hand onto the family tree builder. This kept the information easier to read and refer to.

  • New Forest family tree tip As novices we made mistakes and went on the wrong genealogy trail. This programme meant we could easily rectify our mistakes!
  • Once all the information was added we knew it would be best to sign up to one of the pay Family Tree searches.
    We looked at Find My Past they are offering videos to help you get started and also you may be able to get a 14 day free trial.
  • We then looked at Genes Reunited which offers free access to trace names initially, then you can join by a fee or just buy credits. This means you buy 50 credits but maybe charged 5 credits to look at one particular item. We started this and found the money soon goes so perhaps signing for a year may save you money?
  • We eventually settled for Ancestry for a broader overall scope

New Forest Family Tree Tips

  • All search companies we have used charge for copies of original documents should you require them. They all offer Census records back to 1841 but for anything earlier you need to search Parish Records. Some are available on these software programmes.
  • We have now gone back to a great, great, great, great grandfather who was born in 1797. Most were agricultural farmworkers but there were a few exceptions. We have discovered ancestors that were glass blowers, publicans and railway workers.
  • One grandmother, going back 170 years, who could not hold her drink (we assume), was out on the town with friends and finished up appearing in front of a judge at the local assizes, charged with assaulting an Officer of the Peace!
  • Another relative decided to leave England and moved to the US (in 1897) where he married and had 12 children!
  • In the early 1800's some of the reported deaths we found, were "natural decay", and "found dead in bed, no signs of violence" which were very interesting to find out!
  • We then needed to see if we could find out anything from newpaper articles and used British Newpaper Archives to look for a relative who had committed suicide by drowning. The disadvantage to this site is that not every newspaper or area is covered, but you might get lucky for your seach. The advantage is that they do an at a glance decade reference of major events. If you're looking for a military person it may help you discover which wars or skirmishes were going on.

New Forest Family Tree Tips - more info

  • Deceased Online shows burial records and has a data of headstone scripts and cemetery records which is helpful.
  • For more worldwide searches Family Search can cover most of the globe!
  • The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds details of Commonwealth forces who died during the two world wars and the 23,000 cemeteries, memorials and other locations worldwide where they are commemorated. It also has extensive civilian data of those who fell as a result of WW2.
  • Forces War Records can help you find military genealogy records from WW2, WW1, Boer War, Crimean War and beyond.
  • Be careful. We've just asked for a search on one military archive and been quoted £75 (3hours research fee) to trace just one name. You need to tot up each website and see who will give you the best overall value for your own individual search. We used Ancestry because it would take up hours of winter time when we'd only be watching TV and hopefully we wouldn't need to keep requesting chargeable ad ons like some sites offer.
New Forest Tree by stream

I hope you find sharing how we have searched for my maternal grandfathers genealogy and family history interesting.

My husband has spent many hours pouring over our ancestry and we've only found a few very sad bits of information. We have managed to go back as far as 1767 and we've laughed out loud at one distant relative passing off 3 illegitimate children as her late husbands (who had committed suicide by drowning himself), only to be arrested for drunkenly assaulting an officer of the peace! We all have skeletons in our cupboards, so no point worrying. We found we were curious about aspects of history we had never thought about previously.

I hope my New Forest Family Tree tips will help you find out all about your family and your ancestors too!


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