New FamilySearch Family Trees

Enter your tree

Enter your tree here

The new FamilySearch Family Tree entry for those of us who do not belong to the LDS Church is now available. I couldn’t help myself – I had a look to see what I could make of it.

It’s not really intuitive.

For example, have a look at the tree above and tell me what you think I should do next. Where do I put my father? My mother? Where does it explain that if I put living people in (and I wasn’t initially willing to) they won’t show up anywhere? Where does it tell me that they won’t show up anywhere?

The add and search screen are the same, so if you enter someone’s name hoping to add them and then fill in the fields for parents and spouse, you are not adding the parents and spouse, you are just searching for the person with these people connected to him/her, and you have to add them separately. And because the chart shows two people in each box where you would expect to see one, it’s difficult to work out where to put anyone at all.

I’ve added five people so far, including myself, and I can only see three on the tree, so I’m not spending any more time on it.

I have every respect for the work that FamilySearch do, but they really need to find some decent web developers and analysts.

What do you know about your ancestor’s village?

Grace Oates was my mother’s father’s mother’s mother’s mother. She was baptised in the parish church of St Keverne, Cornwall in 1833 to Thomas and Elizabeth Oates. She married Henry Pascoe, a man that I believe was her first cousin for reasons I won’t go into now, and they had one daughter, Elizabeth Grace Pascoe, in 1856.

By 1861 Grace and her daughter were living alone in St Keverne and her husband had migrated to the Colony of Victoria, never to return. In 1865 Grace migrated to the Colony of New South Wales with her daughter Bessie and her widowed mother Elizabeth to join her brothers in the Millthorpe area. She claimed her husband was in Victoria to the Immigration Board, so at least she knew where he’d gone.

Grace had no more children but she did eventually remarry, becoming a midwife to the people around Millthorpe and Blayney. She died in Her ex-husband Henry also remarried and had a few children, who, to my knowledge, never knew of their half-sister in New South Wales.

It’s good to have the name of the village where she came from, but unless I look into it it’s just a name that means little.

Firstly, it’s good to know exactly where it is. Google Maps can show you exactly:

Google Maps St Keverne

Satellite View shows me even more:

Google Maps St Keverne satellite view

From there I can go on a virtual tour of St Keverne, floating down the streets to the church, past the shops and the pub, and perhaps find the houses where Grace and her family lived during the censuses.

There’s more to find on the internet though.

GENUKI lists resources for the whole of the UK. The page for St Keverne is quite comprehensive, with descriptions, cemeteries, church histories, locations of censuses, church registers, civil registration district, court records, photographs, directories, land, manors, and much more.

St Keverne has an Online Parish Clerk, and their website has databases of parish registers, censuses, and links to Sunday School registers and much more.

The St Keverne Local History Society has a lot of family history and local history resources from parish register indexes to accounts of shipwrecks.

A general Google search for St Keverne shows many, many images of the place, both contemporary and historical.

St Keverne images

 There is no substitute, though, for a contemporary account of the place. …

ST KEVERNE. Time and the ocean and some fostering star, says William Watson, have made us what we are. Time and the ocean have made St Keverne what it is, a grim and tragic spot in a green land which we may truly call the Garden of Cornwall.

The description goes on for nearly two pages. The Manacles off the coast were a menace to sailors coming into Falmouth Harbour, and the grimness appears to apply to the large number of shipwrecks and drowned sailors buried in the churchyard.

Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary of England, published in 1848, is another such resource. The entry for St Keverne is less atmospheric but more factual:

KEVERNE, ST., a parish, in the union of Helston, W. division of the hundred of Kerrier and of the county of Cornwall, 11 miles (S. by E.) from Helston; containing 2469 inhabitants. This parish, forming part of the wide district of Meneage, and comprising by measurement 10,158 acres, whereof 2002 are common or waste, is situated on the shore of the English Channel, by which it is bounded on the east and south. It contains three fishing coves, called respectively Coverack, Porthalloe, and Porthonstock, at the first of which is a good pier, affording shelter to small vessels from the rough winds and stormy seas frequent on this part of the coast. In these coves the pilchard-fishery is carried on to a considerable extent, and several boats are also otherwise employed. A yellow clay found here, is much esteemed for fine castings in silver, brass, and lead. Fairs for cattle are held on March 5th, June 19th, October 2nd, and the first Tuesday after Twelfth-day. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king’s books at £18. 11. 5½., and in the patronage of Mrs. Griffith; impropriators, the landowners: the tithes have been commuted for £512. The church has a handsome tower surmounted by a spire, and contains many monuments, among which is one to the memory of Major George Cavendish, Capt. Dunkenfield, and sixty-one men of a regiment, who, returning with dispatches in a transport from Spain, were shipwrecked, and perished off Coverack Cove, on the 22nd December, 1809. There are places of worship for Baptists, Bryanites, and Wesleyans. Charles Incledon, the celebrated singer, was born in the parish.

You can find  online here.

When I first researched Grace few of these resources were available to me and none of them online. It’s worth going back to the ancestors you think you know well and searching for their villages again.

Social Media for Family Historians

Social Media for Family HistoriansMy first book, Social Media for Family Historians, was published in late 2010 by Unlock The Past. It explains what social media is; what use it is; and introduces you to more than 25 social media sites that can help family historians to communicate, share and collaborate with other family historians and with their own families.

It covers new ways to communicate such as Sykpe and SecondLife; social networking sites such as Facebook and GenealogyWise; blogs and microblogs such as Twitter; sites for sharing family trees such as Ancestry and MyHeritage; sites for sharing photos and videos such as Flickr and YouTube; and community information sites such as wikis and social bookmarking.It explains in some detail how to get started with Facebook and blogging.

1. Introduction
2. What is Social Media?
– The Internet
– Self-publishing
– Social media
3. Why use it?
– Advantages
– Disadvantages
4. Communication
– Chat
– Mailing Lists and Forums
– Social Networking
– Blogs
– Microblogging
– Virtual Worlds
5. Sharing
– Family Trees
– Photographs
– Videos
– Social Cataloguing
6. Collaboration
– Wikis
– Social Bookmarking
– Documents
– Questions and Answers
7. Dangers
– Risks
– Some Simple Rules
8. What Are You Waiting For?
Appendix 1. How to Get Started with Facebook
– Sign Up For Faebook
– Using Facebook
Appendix 2. How to Get Started with Blogging
– Find a Host
– Create an Account
– Name Your Blog
– Set Security
– Create your Profile
– Select a Design
– Start Writing!
– More Advanced Blogging

You can buy it from Gould Genealogy, and I hope you do!