Sunday, September 19, 2010

'In a world full of audio visual marvels, may words matter to you and be full of magic.' Godfrey Smith 1926-

The Value of Family History Blogs


In December 2009, I wrote about the value of letters to the family historian in my other blog, (http://www.sharn-genealogyjottings.blogspot.com/ ). So much information about our ancestors lives in the words which are written in letters and sent across the miles, between family members or friends. Letters are are full of memories of the past. Today we live in a technological world where, for most people, the humble letter is a thing of the past. There are many benefits that come with technology, however. Thanks to the internet, we can quickly and more easily (most of the time) find ancestors. We are able to make contact with relatives and others who share our interests, worldwide.

The internet has also become a marvellous medium for sharing our discoveries, our stories, and advice to others who are just beginning their search for their ancestry.

My 'families' sat in archive boxes for years, while I thought about how to 'tell' the stories of my ancestors' lives. Every solution I came up with had the same problem - it took up too much room! I already had boxes and 'piles' of papers stored in every possible nook and cranny, writing books about each family meant finding more storage space.

The computer made it possible for me to find and to print out much more information than ever before... and that's what made me think of recording my stories on the computer. Not just on the computer but on the internet. Genealogy is all about sharing. My motto has always been that two heads are better than one. Just when I think I know almost everything there is to know about an ancestor, along comes a relative ( often who I have never even met) with a new lead or a family story I haven't heard before. There are always new directions and new 'finds' to make.
Blogging is a wonderful way to record stories about your ancestors lives, 'talk' about your journey into genealogy, express yourself about your frustrating 'brick walls' and to communicate useful tips to help other people searching for family.

I now write my family anecdotes in my blogs and my family members all over the world can discover their ancestry along with me. I have family and friends who although are not interested in actually searching for ancestors themselves, love to find out about them through the blogs. I can add photos, records and documents to illustrate my anecdotes and sources to help others who may be researching in similar places.

Recently I was contacted through my original blog http://www.sharn-genealogyjottings.blogspot.com/ (where I record stories about family members who I have researched), by several people who are researching a yacht called the 'Warrior 11'. The people who contacted me, are writing a book about a large steam yacht which was built in 1901 for the American millionaire, Frederick Vanderbilt and which changed owners several times before being requisitioned by the British Navy during World War 11 and was sunk off Portsmouth in the English Channel in 1940. The yacht happened to belong to my great uncle at the time it was attacked by 50 German bombers and sunk, and I had spent considerable time researching both my uncle and his luxury yacht. I was able to help these people with their research and I am thrilled that they are having an old film which they found (in a car boot sale in the UK!) of a cruise the yacht took in 1937-1938, around the Mediterranean with my uncle and his guests on board (including members of the royal family). I am lucky also. to be receiving a DVD of the wreck of the Warrior 11 from a dive enthusiast who happened to read my blog as well and who appreciated reading the history of the yacht.

Through the same blog, I was contacted by another UK researcher who was looking for information, also about my uncle, but with regard to a secret airstrip he had built on his property, Marwell Hall in Hampshire, during WW2. He was responsible for converting seafire aircraft to spitfires and test flying them at the Marwell Airstrip.






Right is an estimation of where the secret airstrip was at Marwell Hall.










Marwell Hall the property in Hampshire owned by my great uncle and where he built the secret airstrip to be used to test fly spitfire aircraft.


I have many more stories to tell in my blogs. There are my own stories that I have pieced together about my ancestors as well as some interesting tales I have discovered whilst researching the forebears of others. I feel pleased that my research will not lie in boxes for years to come, but be able to be enjoyed by family members and friends through my blogs. I have enjoyed making new acquaintances through blogging and have appreciated the
experiences and advice of other family historians through reading their blogs.



























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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