The joys and frustrations of research

Today has been a genealogy day, thanks to rain outside and not having any prior commitments. I’ve been writing the “John Strachan and Margaret Haggerty and Susan Cran” story and am nearly there, but it has involved checking up on an awful lot of people. As John Strachan had 15 children, most of whom also had large families, there’s a lot to put together. Doing the research today certainly has had its up and down.

Oh, the joy of discovering two ancestors were married at the same time in the same place and are on the same page you download from ScotlandsPeople! Except the registrar gave them both the same parents when that wasn’t the case, but you do learn that not everthing on a certificate is always accurate. Then how annoying when you find a 1911 census entry, only available from ScotlandsPeople, spread over 2 pages and so have to pay for 2 downloads. I love ScotlandsPeople but it’s very easy to get carried away and spend far too much money buying credits, which is why I try to get as much as I can from Ancestry.

And isn’t it joyous when you track someone from childhood, through marriage, through all the census and to a death entry without a hiccup. And how frustrating when someone just disappears and searching for them under every variation you can think of producing absolutely nothing.

I’m wary of using trees on Ancestry as so many are poorly researched, but looking at someone else’s research can be a very good starting point, as long as you check their research and don’t just accept it. It then becomes frustrating when you look for a particular ancestor and find no-one else has got them on a tree. Poor, unloved ancestors!

The overwhelming thing about my Strachan ancestors, however, is how pretty much every male prior to the 1900s – and there are an awful lot of them – became a coal miner. What would Ayrshire’s coal industry have done without them?

2 responses to “The joys and frustrations of research

  1. Nice post. You seem to hit the trouble I have had this week with on-line trees. Thought I had at last broken through a brick wall. But the research was flawed. But the worse part is now other people are putting this flawed work into their own tree. They even used a photo I had posted without giving me credit. Oh well…………

    • Oh yes, the amount of flawed trees that are online! Very frustrating when you’ve been really careful to research your tree carefully. I keep my tree on my own computer. The one I have on Ancestry isn’t very detailed and I’ve stopped updating it. So many trees there with my ancestors on them are riddled with errors. There are some that are fine, but not many, so I have a look now and again, but never take any information from another tree without looking for the source myself. I’ve never posted pics as I know other people just nick them: though that said, it hasn’t stopped me nicking the odd pick myself! I have, however, sent a message to the tree owner to say why and to thank them. I don’t think many others do that.

      I think some people are just name collectors, and not genealogists. I wouldn’t want to be given a completed tree for any of my ancestors as the fun, for me, is doing the research myself.

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