What other stories would your ancestors tell?

I deliver an engaging family history talk for those that have begun their family history research and want to continue discovering their ancestors using proven research techniques. If you are just starting your research then talk 2; What stories would your ancestors tell? is the one for you.

This talk explores key techniques, resources and top tips for finding your ancestors and their stories. Below is a flavour of this talk and its contents.

Talk overview


Recording your family history is vital and can be achieved in a variety of ways:

+ electronic family history programmes
+ pre-printed forms
+ concertina files
+ ring binders
+ a card index
+ using genfile, or
+ by drawing a family tree by hand.



The talk explores the difference between primary sources (created at time of the event) and secondary sources (an interpretation of primary sources). There is an exercise that helps participants identify and record these correctly.



Brick walls are a challenge for all Family Historians and we spend time covering techniques for breaking them down, including:

+ For missing marriage certificates; using middle names, an alternative name as a child may adopt the surname of a step-parent or father-figure in preference to their birth name, checking for different spellings, not forgetting the soundex or wildcard (*) searches on the internet.

+ For missing birth certificates: using maiden names, from September 1911 England and Wales birth indexes contain the mothers maiden name to reduce the options to one or two, and help spot siblings. Also, looking for a sibling instead by using the census. This still provides the names for parents and allows you to continue with your tree building. Looking for a baptism instead in the parish registers.

+ For missing death certificates the search can be more tricky, did the ancestor die either in a foreign country or another part of the country? There should be a relevant burial record, look in the Parish they died in. If a will was made and proved the index will provide a date of death.


The UK Census

We are all aware of the use of the census for finding earlier birth certificates and / or baptisms or providing an indication of a death record. The census can be used to find new family members, verify ages and dates, gain an insight into the household and occupations, corroborate facts on bmd certificates and vice versa.

I highlight a number of pre 1841 Census’s that still exist, even though they shouldn’t!

An exercise was undertaken on finding missing ancestors from the census.


Book my talk to discover

+ The principles of family history research
+ Recording sources
+ Electronic; family history programmes
+ Using databases and vital records – Top Tips
+ Parish registers (including Bishops transcripts)
+ Breaking brick walls – missing birth certificates
+ Breaking brick walls – missing marriage certificates
+ Breaking brick walls – missing death certificates
+ Breaking brick walls – missing people from the census
+ Other sources of information
+ Trade and commercial directories
+ Probate (Wills) including obituaries
+ and much more

View all my talks and book me


Robert Parker is a Genealogist and Trainer, based in Kent. He delivers courses, guidance, talks and research services for those interested in tracing their ancestors. See https://myfamilygenealogy.co.uk/guidance/ for his 5 steps to discovering your ancestors. Contact Robert to discuss your requirements without obligation.

What stories might your ancestors tell?

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