This was going to be a very short item about discovering, or re-discovering, useful sources of family history data. But today I took a look at two such, which threw up some immediately relevant material and highlighted an issue on Welsh records.
Welsh wills and Welsh names
Firstly, I try to adopt the practice of reading just about every scrap in the ‘Who Do You think You Are’ magazine, even if it doesn’t look relevant or promising at the outset. There are often helpful tips and suggestions which can be applied more widely than the subject under discussion. Today I went as far as making my loo reading material the show guide to their major exhibition end of Feb, although I greatly doubt I’m going to make the trip. And under the entry for National Library of Wales there’s a useful titbit I hadn’t spotted before – Welsh probate documents can be viewed online at http://cat.llgc.org.uk/probate. (Probate – verifying a will after someone’s death)
I though I’d see what came up under Watkins in Brecon area. Jumping a few pages in the results there was a Gregory Watkins given in the target parish of Llandefalle, Brecon, will dated 1729. Rather a leap back from the earliest known date but hey worth a look. Then you notice that all the beneficiaries are named ‘Gregory’, not ‘Watkins’ – the Welsh patronymic system alive and well. (Pot luck link for more on this.) So how just do you trace Watkins ancestors? I’m sure there’s a session or two on this at the show but I guess that the answer is basically working backwards very carefully, and not expecting to be able to make great leaps.
Keep on checking for updates
I’ve mentioned this before, and no doubt will do so again, but what is available online keeps on changing. Ok, obvious to most perhaps. But even if a website looks the same and hasn’t made great announcements, there is often new data you hadn’t seen 6 months earlier.
The first time I checked out the Family Search site I abandoned it quickly as it took longer to find records that I could get more easily elsewhere. Having read that there are new Norfolk records (Alan Stewart’s blog), I decided to give it another whirl, starting with a search on my favourite Ann Harriet Cutlock. This time results were quick, relevant and soon filled in gaps/missing connections in the Cutlock clan a couple of generations back from her (basically using baptism details). Family Search now gets a prominent place on my personal list of bookmarks.
Annoyingly though I still can’t find details on the birth/parents of the ‘other’ Harriet Cutlock – possible cousin to Ann Harriet’s mother, born about 1837 London – that I was told were on FamilySearch.org back in Sept ’09.
One further annoyance – it seems that viewing images on familysearch is set up for Internet Explorer – I got a tiny view box using Firefox. Update to that – this issue was down to how I control Flash use (stops some annoying ads), seemingly.