Kollies Genealogy

Forums…why wouldn’t you?

With today’s emphasis on social networking, forums are becoming a place confined to the yesteryear of the Internet (along with AOL, MySpace, etc).

In the Genealogy world however they are booming!

I joined a site called Rootschat (www.rootschat.com), this is an obline forum where you can ask for advice, help with brick walls, photo dating and restoration, amongst many other things.

I’ve only posted a few things on there, but every-time I have it’s been answered, and answered very well. People will help you find out that one clue you’ve missed, like my Great Grandfather living a couple of doors away from his parents in 1901; or giving me viral information in relation to my wife’s paternal name (Lesbirel), which in turn helps me go back a dew more ancestors. I’ve even ha some success in uploading poor quality images, and asking for people to restore them.

Above all the forum is a fantastic place to be, very helpful, lots of tips and hints, and mostly…downright useful. So what are you waiting for, get over to rootschat today!

Feel free to send me a tweet to @kollies about your own family history research.

What’s in a surname: Rose

1st occurrence in my family history: 2nd Generation (mother, Wendy Hollingsworth [Rose])

Spelling variations of this family name include: Rose, Roose, Ròs (Gaelic), Ròis (Gaelic) and others.

Researchers have been unable to trace the origin of this Clan to before 1155, as the Clan apparently took no part in the ancient rebellion of the Moray Clans and therefore was not recorded as being transported by Malcolm IV (as many of their neighbors were). However, the answer may lie with a knight named Ros, of Ros, near Caen, who accompanied William the Conqueror and was given lands in 1069 in Kent, England by the half brother of the Conqueror, Odo, Bishop of Bayeux. Those territories were either enlarged or acquired by a marriage to the heiress Mary Bosco. The Boscos were a noble Norman family. During that period of unrest many noble families moved northwards in the train of Margaret, King Malcolm Ceanmore’s second wife, to escape the ponderous rule of William. Because of the tightly knit family connections of the Rose and the Bosco families, the origin seems quite certain.

Rose was first found in Nairn, in Kilravock County, Scotland. The family settled in this area in 1282, when Hugh Rose of Geddes married Mary, daughter of Sir Andrew de Bosco. Mary Bosco was the heiress of the Bissets of Lovat. Hugh Rose was the son of the Hugh Rose of Geddes who witnessed a Charter in Beauly prior to 1219 and is the first recorded Chief of the Clan. Hugh of Kilravock (the son) was one of the few who did not submit to King Edward I of England in 1296. His son, William, captured Invernairn Castle for Robert the Bruce in 1306.

In the United Kingdom today there are 32803 people with the surname Rose, this places it as the 143rd most common. For every 1million people 714 are called Rose!

Motto: Constant and true.




Libraries are dead…aren’t they?

As a child I used to visit the local library all the time, once every 3 weeks with school on a Tuesday afternoon, and various times with my mum to pick up a new book to delve in to for a couple of weeks.

During my sixth form years I used the library for research, not all the time but when I couldn’t find what I needed in my schools library, or easily available online (this was before broadband, Wikipedia, google, etc).

After this my use of libraries diminished, if I needed something for work I’d use my home PC, blackberry, or later my iPhone. I never thought libraries would exist anymore in any capacity other than for the storage of old books, I imagined they’d be stuck in an era that time was quickly forgetting, a time of bleached hair, popper tracksuit pants, and the spice girls.

So, when I started my genealogy research and found out I could access the major genealogy websites for free at my local library, I thought ‘why not see if it’s still open?’.

I was amazed at the changes that had occurred, long gone was the security gate stopping people coming and going without being signed in/out, also the mangy old carpets had been replaced with fresh new ones, and the main difference was the PC’s, they where everywhere.

The PC’s allowed free Internet access providing you where a member (also free), and if you went down to the Ground floor (weird setup) the library was full of old local records, microfilm, and a few PC’s. All this was bundled together with a librarian who was passionate about genealogy, asking questions about my own research, and sharing tips about how to breakthrough those early stumbling blocks I had come across. Printouts where 10p a page, and the library also allowed USB sticks to be inserted so you could save the research straight on to it, and yes this was also free! I was converted, I suddenly saw the library as a fresh, new, exciting place to be, and since have spent several hours every day off on the ground floor, researching.

So I would like to close by saying…get down to your local library, they’re definitely not dead!

Links: Halton Library - http://www3.halton.gov.uk/educationandlearning/libraries/

Feel free to send me a tweet to @kollies about your own family history research.

Head in the cloud or on the desktop?

Where do I store my tree?

Where do I store my documents?

These are the two questions I found myself facing quite early on in my research. After a couple of weeks of using Ancestry to store my tree, I realised that I was about to start storing some quite personal documents from my families history, e.g. Birth certificates of living relatives, etc. Obviously I wanted people’s data to be secure, and I wanted it to be linked to the relevant person on the tree.

So, I decided to look into a desktop software application for storing it, I had recently purchased a few genealogy magazines and included in them was a cd which had various resources on it, one of which was MyHeritage, a great programme for hosting the data stored on my harddrive. To build my tree I started off by exporting my Ancestry tree in Gedcom format, and simply importing it in to MyHeritage; this programme allows me to build my family tree offline, put photos & documents in there (& tag them), create reports, and much more.

However, I also decided to keep my online tree with Ancestry, the only difference being that now the majority of my documents, etc, is stored offline, with the online version showing the people in my tree and 1 contact style photo (purely for aesthetics).

NB: MyHeritage also allows publishing of your family tree to an online site, however as I was using the free version I would be restricted to 250 people, therefore I use Ancestry.co.uk instead


MyHeritage Fanily Tree Builder download http://www.myheritage.com/family-tree-builder

Ancestry: http://www.ancestry.co.uk/ 

How do you store your family tree? Let me know @kollies on twitter

Wordless Wednesday : Frederick E Rose (GG Grandparent)

Wordless Wednesday : Frederick E Rose (GG Grandparent)

Living relatives…my Grandma

You’ll hear it whenever you speak to any family historian be it amateur or professional, one of the first thing you need to do is speak to your family, start with the oldest, and work through the other members who you think may add some depth to your research.

I started off by speaking with my Grandma, she’s 86, and has been a massive influence on my life. I wanted to speak with her for a few reasons.

First off, my grandad died when I was 13 and whilst I remember him I will never know the man she loved, how they met, or anything from life before I was born, unless I asked.

Secondly, I wanted to find out about my Grandmas life, growing up as a young girl in Liverpool, during the war, working in the Baby hospital in Woolton, meeting my grandad, my mum & uncle as kids, and just generally to listen to the stories of a time gone by.

Lastly, I really wanted to find out more about my Grandmas parents (I knew them both, but they passed away before I was 10), grandparents and other ancestors who are no longer with us. In particular I wanted to quiz my grandma about the alleged relation JMW Turner (more on this in a separate post).

So I went around one Saturday afternoon, armed with a notebook, and that was it. The time spent with my Grandma was fantastic, she revelled in telling me stories, showing photos, and sharing documents. I got enough information in those few hours to keep me busy for the next few weeks with research and organising.

I followed on from this with interviews of other members of my family e.g. Nan, parents, etc, and will continue to do so. I intend on going back with a voice recorder at some point and asking more specific questions, I’m tempted to do this above anything else due to the enjoyment I get out of it, and how great it would be in 100 years when were all gone, for a descendant to stumble across their GG grandparents voice!

Feel free to comment, or send me a tweet to @kollies about your own family history research.

What’s in a surname: Hollingsworth

1st occurrence in my family history: 1st Generation (me, Keith Hollingsworth)

Many variations of the name Hollingsworth have been found, including Hollingsworth, Hollinsworth, Hollingworth and many more.

The name Hollingsworth has a long Anglo-Saxon heritage. The name comes from when a family lived as inhabitants by holly bushes. The surname Hollingsworth originally derived from the Old English word hollins.

Hollingsworth was first found in Cheshire (It is a habitational name from places in Cheshire and Lancashire called Hollingworth) where a family seat was held from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

In the United Kingdom today there are 3075 people with the surname Hollingsworth, this places it as the 2024th most common. For every 1million people, 67 are called Hollingsworth!

Motto: Disce ferenda pati
Motto Translation: Learn to endure what must be borne.




Further reading:

My 15 minutes of fame: Filming

An email was sent around in work asking for peoples stories about how technology had improved their lives, so I replied not expecting anything to come from it, explaining my story through my family tree (see the previous blog posts).  Explaining that before technology was so easily accessible genealogy would take up most of my spare time, by ‘doing things the old way’ and visiting record offices, libraries, cemetaries, etc. Now it must be said here that I really enjoy getting stuck in to a ‘real’ record in a dingy office, however the point I was trying to make was how much time and money can be saved, especially in the early days like I was and still am.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I was selected to appear in a video for the upcoming conference in Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre,which would be shown in front of approx 2000 people.

So a crew of 4 people came up to my hometown, and proceeded with the filming. The filming was unreal, it took place in my house, my furntiture was moved around countless times, the lighting was setup, I had a wire on, and I was treated like a star for the day.  At one point they filmed me outside, this was hilarious as it took about 15 takes, all the neighbours curtains where twitching by the end of it, I reckong they where disappointed when they realised it was just little old me and not Peter Andre or some other celeb.

Heres a quick picture of the setup in my house

Filming setup

Before you click the video, its important to know that it’s not just a video about me or my research, or even only genealogy; its a video about technology improving/changing peoples lives.  Anyway, enjoy…

PS. If the video doesn’t work/embed, heres the link to the site http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sO2UBuqDNc

Feel free to comment, or send me a tweet to @kollies about your own family history research.

The power of social networks pt 2: Facebook

Facebook is massive nowadays, and has more than 750 million active users on it’s site. So naturally with me already using Twitter I wanted to see how I could incorporate this into my research.

I decided the one area Facebook succeeded over Twitter was it’s ‘Groups’ function, these are pages that you set up, and can invite people to discuss something in more detail, it can be anything you want (providing it’s online with Facebook’s T’s & C’s).

I decided the best way to get the most out of the groups was to set them up with the heading of my Great Grandparents surnames e.g. Hollingsworth, Howey, Rose, etc; and then I invited anyone who I was friends with that was related to that line of my family tree into the group, with the first ‘status’ inviting people to share (see pic for example).

I’ve had little success in some of the groups and in others it’s grown to be a great place to chat about our ancestors.  The group that stands out the most is the ‘Rose’ group.  There are 20 members, and everyone is getting involved, there’s photo, stories, and fact sharing going on daily.  It’s a real success story for how Facebook can be used for genealogy.

Have you used social networking in your family history research? Feel free to comment, or send me a tweet to @kollies to discuss this further if you want?

The power of social networks pt 1: Twitter

Twitter, for those of you don’t know, is a micro-blogging site.  Which in turn means that you can post a comment to the web to update people who follow you with “What’s Happening?”, the only real restriction is that you’re limited to 140 characters.  Feel free to read more about Twitter here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter or you can join via this link https://twitter.com/signup if you haven’t already done so.

I joined Twitter in July 2008, and regularly ‘tweet’ about all manner of things going on in my life, however up to this point I had never realised just how useful Twitter could be. I started off ny just mentioning to my followers (about 500 people) that I was researching my family tree, and if anyone could give me any advice, or had any family info/photos that they could share, for them to get in touch.

The response wasn’t overwhelming, but what I did get was contact from a relative who I had never met before, living in France, but who had already started the genealogy journey a few years previous.  The person in question is called Cheryl, and since that initial contact about our family history I’ve come to regard her as a close family member.  Cheryl was able to share photo’s, stories, tips, and much much more with me, we quickly moved from Twitter to email, so our communication could be more in depth, and files started being passed back and forth (mostly Cheryl sending the to me).

Other members of my family started talking to me on Twitter about how my research was going, sharing the odd story, and photo where they could.  However their knowledge was as of yet pretty untapped, and you’ll find out more about that in my next post about Facebook.

I’d like to finish this post by saying, if you are on Twitter give me a shout https://twitter.com/#!/Kollies and if you want to speak with one of the most lovely people I know on there checkout Cheryl too https://twitter.com/#!/crrome

The first few steps on my journey

As I mentioned earlier I started off with my family tree on Genes Reunited, I didn’t really research anything at this time instead I just inputted any data I already knew, so I started with me, my wife, parents, grandparents, and any other relatives I knew a birthday for.

It was only once I’d started doping this that I realised the power of the technology available to me, I started getting email with “We have found a match for someone on your tree…” inviting me to dig a little deeper via subscribing to a full Genes Reunited package.  I was reluctant to do this as at this time I was still only starting out and didn’t want to be lumbered with a long subscription that I never used.  So instead I started googling the people the matches where for hoping that I’d find a snippet of information from a free site somewhere else.  THis never materialised, but what did happen is I started to get ‘hits’ on other peoples trees who already the same relative on there.

Now, to contact people through Genes Reunited (or any of the major subscription sites) you have to be a paid member, this was still something I was reluctant to do, as I wasn’t even 100% sure that I was going to be speaking to the right people (names may match but it could be a different person).  So I turned to the best free websites I could find for getting in touch with people…Facebook, and Twitter; these sites are where my story really began!

Getting started

I literally googled my name, and the names of a few of my ancestors that I knew, I didn’t really know what to expect, or what I would find. I was hoping to dig up a treasure trove of information about my chosen ancestor, hoping that I would find a website dedicated to that one person. That would’ve been easy, and genealogy as I’ve come to appreciate since is anything but!

What I did find from that initial Google search was that my ancestor, in this case my (deceased) grandfather showed up, with a link to a major genealogy website (genes reunited), and although it wasn’t a link to personal profile page with all of his information on it, it did get me to sign up for a free membership on the site.

This was just the beginning, the next couple of hours and days became a blur…more on that to come in the next post.

Feel free to comment, or send me a tweet to @kollies about your own family history research.

Genealogy & me

I’d always wanted to research my family history but never knew where to start, I always thought to delve in to it would take hours of research, in a records office, situated in a small village, somewhere I’d never even heard of before. I never even thought I’d be able to carry out the bulk of my research on the internet, with only the odd trip to the local library to help me with access to the major genealogy websites e.g. www.Ancestry.co.uk , www.findmypast.co.uk , etc, and more importantly with minimal cost to myself whilst doing so, that’s right at the point of writing this I’ve spent no more than £20 in total during my research, and I’ve been researching for about 4 months.

I wanted to start a blog as a place to collect & share my hobby. What you’ll find here is a warts & all look in to my life through my family history, with biographies of my (deceased) ancestors, areas I’m researching, websites I’ve found useful, and other snippets of information including hints & tips.

Feel free to comment, or catch up with me on Twitter to discuss your own genealogy research.