So in August 1990 Tim Berners-Lee started to develop the world wide web. What’s that got to do with genealogy or history I hear you say but it does.
Pre tinternet (Yorkshire for Internet) can you imagine how much more difficult genealogy was. No quick look ups. It’s a road trip to a records office.
So I want to consider how the internet has helped my genealogy journey.
Now I’ve always known my family came from around the country but just consider how difficult my research would have been pre 1990. As a by thought just doing my degree in the late 1990’s/early 2000 I didn’t really use the internet, jeez I feel old. So off track there. So my research would have started at the records office in Sheffield, but that would have only got me so far. On my maternal side I would have found no records.
On my paternal side I would have got back quite a way. Then I would have had to travel further afield to both Rotherham and Barnsley as well as Chesterfield. Next stop would have been up to West Yorkshire and then North Yorkshire. So it works out at about one record office per generations and probably 2 as couples are not necessary from the same place. If you consider my twice great grandparents James was from Leeds and Mary was from Barnsley. So this couple would be a trip to Barnsley which is a 40 minute journey and Leeds is an hour.
Now comes the secret side of my paternal line. OK, I have ancestors from Lancashire (help Yorkshire lass). Well they started off in Cheshire before they came to Sheffield so next stop would have been the registry office in Chester which is a good couple of hours away, and then it would be up to Preston in Lancashire.
So onto my maternal side. First stops would be Peterborough and Norwich. From here we would be off to Ipswich, Lincoln London and Nottingham. I’d also need to travel north to both Durham and Newcastle upon Tyne. Also calling in at Glasgow, Carlisle and who knows where the records for the Isles of Scotland are. I sound like a train announcer.
Now consider what all this really means. It’s not just the travelling to the locations. You have to factor in that you would have to spend probably days in the records office. You would have to go through each parish register one by one. Just because your ancestors lived in one place doesn’t mean they were baptised or married there. Also if you think about it if the census says your ancestor was from Leeds, how many parish records would you have to troll through. Then their sibling’s records may not be in the same place so that’s more searching and there may be siblings you don’t know about. So you’re going to need to stay probably a few more days than you thought.
Then there are visits to where our ancestors lived. You may want to visit the church your ancestors were married or where they were buried.
So I decided to add you all the miles between home and the archives I would have to travel to for my research and it comes to approximately 1500 miles.
The cost soon adds up as does the amount of time. So the internet takes all this away. You sit at home and clickety click away and up pop your ancestors for you (not really easy but you know what I mean).
So you could say the internet along with the magnificent people who scan in the records and upload them, that Time Berners-Lee and the others have radically improved the process of tracing our families back through time. It also means I can watch youtube while I’m doing it, Count Duckula today I think!
Hello and thank you for taking the time to read my Family History Ramblings on genealogy and history in general. I hope you find it informative and hopefully funny!