#52Ancestors: Beginnings

I wasn’t always interested in my family history. Like a lot of people, I only started wondering about my roots after my parents died. I was very lucky to be given two family trees, one for my family and one for my husband’s. These gifts were really the beginning of my obsession.

My husband’s aunt was a keen genealogist. She was the first person I knew who did family research. Twenty plus years ago I didn’t even realise it was something that people did for fun! Margaret researched the Jolliffe family tree back to about 1650 without access to computers or the Internet. She must have been a regular visitor to the Isle of Wight Record Office in Newport. I’ve been able to confirm her research as far as James Jolliffe (1796-1839) but I don’t live close enough to the Isle of Wight to use the archive.

My sister has the patience of a saint. She sat down with my mum and drew out this family tree while she was asking mum about the family. It looks a mess but it has been a treasure trove of information. Jo also recorded some of the family stories. As you can tell from the state of it, this is probably one of my most used sources. I find myself going back to it time and time again.

A lot has changed since I first received these trees. I’ve had an Ancestry subscription since June 2000. There are nearly 3000 ancestors recorded on both mine and my husband’s trees. I have made a lot of mistakes; accepting Ancestry record hints without checking being the earliest & most time consuming one. I have learnt so much too, including completing my post graduate Diploma in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies. I’ve given talks, worked for clients and I’m writing a regular(ish) blog about my experiences. Most of all, I’m enjoying every minute of it,

All thanks to these two family historians!

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