This is one of my oldest photos taken about 1886 - showing Pete's Great Grandmother Jane Horsburgh and 5 of her children. The middle one is Pete's Grandad also Peter James Burns
Well I thought I would write a bit about my family history research as well as scrapbooking as I have linked them both together.
I started searching about 11 years ago when my Dad started his family tree. I thought I would do Pete's side as his mother had died when he was 10 and his Dad when he was 4. Pete and the three youngest were put in foster care as the three eldest were either married or in the Armed Forces and couldn't look after them all.
I started asking questions about his parents - James and Pansy - but his older brothers and sister didn't really know a lot. All they had was a marriage certificate for their mother and father and two sheets of paper with a bit of information about their mother's side of the family. She was born in Burma so finding information about anything was going to be a long hard struggle. I used the marriage certificate to find the birth of their Dad and worked back.
In one night I managed to go back to the 17th Century using www.familysearch.org. I thought it was so simple but, boy was I wrong. I sent for James' parents marriage certificate to get the parents names and that was when I found out that I had the wrong line. For 2 hours I sat with all the papers I had collected and tore them all up - crying about being so gullible that it could be done so easily. From then on I decided I would take nothing for granted unless I had absolute proof!
And so started my journey through the Internet looking for sites that could help with birth, marriage and death certificates as well as census reports. Unfortunately I have only managed to get back to 1815 with the Burns side but the Horsburgh's - who married into the Burns family - have gone back to 1478! That is all thanks to the many cousins I have found who have done a lot more researching before I even started.
Going back to their mother's side - this has been fun (sarcastic!!) After a few years Pete's brothers and sisters realised that I was very serious about doing this and started helping a bit more by searching through all their old papers just in case they had something hidden away. One brother found a piece of paper with two addresses but no names so I wrote to both addresses and was amazed to find that one of them belonged to the widow of one of Pansy's brothers!! They lived in Leeds which is about 60 miles from us. She contacted another brother who just happened to have one of the sisters staying with him for a couple of months as she lived in Australia. How spooky is that!!! So out of 11 children there are 3 still living and we have spoken and met them all. From them we found out about other cousins and bits of information. So I then went about searching the Internet again and leaving messages everywhere.
I found out that Pansy's mum was the youngest of 6 children - the eldest passed away in his teens. To date I have found all the relatives of four of them - only one more to go and I am in the middle of finding out more information about them from a "new" cousin just found.
I have also taken on my Dad's family tree research which he helps with when he can. Both sides of his family go back to 1780 in Wales. My Mum's tree goes as far back as 1770 also in Wales.
So I have my work cut out haven't I? But I do love doing it and I know it isn't going to be a hobby that will end soon. There are always bits of information to check out, census searches to do and letters and emails to send. The photos I use for the scrapbooking are all from relatives who have been kind enough to send me scans and even some originals.
I have already started a book for the Family History for Pansy's side of the family and am hoping to do one for the Burns, Thomas, Owen, Williams and Griffiths families when I feel I have enough information to make it interesting.
The website is mainly from reports made with the software I use - rootsmagic - but hopefully I should be able to make that into a booklet style page rather than a report style page with loads of photos and scrap pages to brighten it up.
I am now the Family Historian and known as such in all the family - anyone contacting anyone for information is directed to me. Everyone is alsways phoning me or emailing me with the odd photo or bit of info that they have suddenly remembered.
Hopefully my work will help our children, nephews and nieces and Grandchildren to realise where they come from and who their ancestors were and what they did so that they could be who they are today.