Tuesday, 8 October 2013




Working with family historians/genealogists daily, I see the same questions being asked on a regular basis. I often wonder what has led this or that person to researching their ancestry.

 No prizes for answering the questions below... but it could be of interest to all of us who help others on a regular basis.

You may answer on your own blog, in the comments section below or on Facebook which will have a link to this blog.

 Please let me know if you answer on your own blog, so I can keep a list for others to follow... no time limit...


1. What is the most important detail you want to find about your  ancestors?

2. Do you buy certificates?

3.  Do you belong to a paid subscription site, if so, which one/s?

4. What has been your 'best' find?

5. Who is your favourite ancestor and why?

6. What are you looking for on a regular basis? 

7. Do you belong to any genealogy group, or family history society?

8. Do you belong to any Facebook or other social media genealogy groups? Would you join if there was one available?

9. Have you ever volunteered to transcribe, index etc.? Would you be interested in doing so?

10. What is your personal reason for being involved with genealogy/family history?


  1. 1. Their vital statistics
    2. Yes
    3. Yes, ancestry.com, archives.com, genealogybank.com
    4. That my paternal 3rd great grandfather owned and ran a vineyard in El Dorado CA and also, my maternal 2nd great grandfather and his 2 brothers went AWOL during the Civil War.
    5. My great grandmother, widowed for 40 years she worked into her 80's as a seamstress--she sewed parachutes during WW1 & WW2, worked for 2 department stores and did side work for anyone and everyone sometimes paid, sometimes not! She taught me a lot about charity, to be self-sustaining and to be appreciative of what you have.
    6. Where they all came from, especially my German, Canadian & Irish ancestors
    7. Yes
    8. Yes & Yes
    9. Yes I have but my work load has prevented me from doing it recently
    10. My children grew up without knowing many of their relatives, I want them to know all about them and their families so they will better understand what their lives were like.

    1. Thank you for participating... some very interesting answers there. I love your answers to 4 and 5... it's a great feeling to learn more about your ancestors...my grandfather also went AWOL, a couple of times... but still won a Military Medal, plus a Bar... Your great grandmother certainly sounds like a very strong lady.. a great role model.
      I think that's what we all want, to share the family stories, introduce the elders to the young... Thank you for your time.


  2. 1. The one I haven't yet discovered.

    2. No

    3. No

    4. A large number of "cousins" also researching

    5. Ann Moran - an Irish Rebel woman who came in 1803. Mysterious.

    6. The story behind the story

    7. No

    8. The Sanders group. I join very selectively.

    9. No. Too muddle headed. I maintain 2 blogs and 2 Facebook groups and 1 page and my clearer thinking cousins do the detailing.

    10. perhaps the seeking of a sense of identity. Which has come richly.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to participate. It does help when others are searching also. I owe a great deal to one cousin in particular who gave me the kick along when I was snowed under with one branch of the family, hers, as it happened. She'll know who I mean, but just in case, thanks,. Rob... :-)
      I love your blogs... and from what I know of you, you don't seem at all muddle headed...I'd love to know more about Ann Moran... Your answer to 10, sums up so well... seeking a sense of identity...I think most of us realise this is a great benefit, knowing from whence we came... You do have a rich history. I look forward to learning more of it.

  3. thank's for your information and i like your post


    1. What is the most important detail you want to find about your ancestors? Just now, I want to find out about my mother's grandfather who went to live in the USA possibly when his own daughter was aged about 1. Marriage breakdown? Economic migrant? Where did he live/die? My mother lived with her grandmother and I don't think she ever met her grandfather.

    2. Do you buy certificates? Yes I do - all the time - the uncertified copies are cheap enough

    3. Do you belong to a paid subscription site, if so, which one/s? No

    4. What has been your 'best' find? My father's grandparents - we never knew their names.( my grandaughter Isabella has been named after her g.g.g.mother)

    5. Who is your favourite ancestor and why? My paternal grandmother who died in her early 40s leaving 5 young children

    6. What are you looking for on a regular basis? Birts, Death, Marraiges

    7. Do you belong to any genealogy group, or family history society?No

    8. Do you belong to any Facebook or other social media genealogy groups? Would you join if there was one available? Limerick, Cork, Clare Gen pages. I would like to see pages for Offaly and Kildare

    9. Have you ever volunteered to transcribe, index etc.? Would you be interested in doing so? No, and no - bad inaccurate typist

    10. What is your personal reason for being involved with genealogy/family history?

    1. Hi, thank you for participating... now I'm intrigued, what did happen to your maternal great grandfather? I'm pleased you found your paternal great grandparents. I remember my Dad being very puzzled when I was asking about his grandparents... he couldn't see why I would be interested at all. He has a 'different' way of acknowledging relatives. I still can't convince him that his and Mum's cousins are my cousins, my family also. I often wonder what his parents thought... is that a follow on from their upbringing?
      Thanks for your answers.

  5. Margaret Nestor Garthwaite8 October 2013 at 21:31

    1 Whether the Nestor family that shows in Griffth's is my Nestor family. It should be but....
    2 Yes
    3 Yes, Ancestry
    4 Australian cousins
    5 I don't really have a favourite
    6 I wish I could find data on my 2 great-great aunts who were never heard from again after the San Francisco earthquake and fire. But as I don't know anything about them, not names, nor dates, nothing, that probably isn't going to happen
    7 No
    8 This one only
    9 Never volunteered to transcribe, but would be willing
    10 Became fascinated when I found my beloved ma-in-law had fed us a load of lies about her family circumstances. And none of the many people who knew the truth had breathed a single word

    1. Hi Margaret, isn't that so frustrating... so close, but unsure... I have the same problem with my Dillons... if only they had chosen more names other than Michael, Patrick, Bridget and Mary... to be fair they actually did, but not many...and nothing outstanding... Oh, for a Marmaduke... Maybe even that's not so great, as in my husband's line, there are several in his Grace family! :-)

      Re your gg aunts, surely there must be some lists around... and if you know you had them, is there a clue as to what family line they were from? I'm sure you've searched all possibilities to date... don't give up hope, every now and then another list or another batch of data surfaces.
      As for the family 'mistruths', my husband's grandmother was an expert... she told us that her husband owned a block of shops in Italy, he was a tailor and came to Australia 'under mysterious circumstances'. He was a post master born in the local CBD.. she had many stories, but that was the most memorable... You would wonder why they do it...

      Thank you so much for participating... I think we learn a lot by these comments... if nothing else, our quandaries don't seem so overwhelming.

  6. 1. I'm greedy I have two, If I have any family from my G-Grandfather Griffin's first marriage. Where did my G-Grandmother Galvin grow up.
    2. I would if I could find them.
    4. My G-Grandparents wedding cert. Telling us he was a widow!
    5. I don't have a favourite, they are all special.
    6. My G-Grandfather Griffin's first marriage cert and my G-Grandmother Galvin nee O'Shea's birth cert.
    7. Online only, don't live in the country of my ancestors birth. :(
    8. Yes I do, as many as there are relevant that I know about.
    9. I don't and sadly I don't have the time, but look forward to being able to when my time comes to retire.......
    10. I never knew my Grandparents It was a way of getting to know them.

    1. No extra charge for being 'greedy'... I wish you luck in finding those answers.. It's strange the facts we find when researching that were previously unknown... you wonder why they were such 'secrets'...

      I think most of us seem to be researching from afar. It is so much easier now that we have the net, though of course, it can only help so far... That's where groups and boards/lists are so valuable.

      I would love to have known my Irish grandmother, but she dies when my Mum was eleven. I was lucky enough to know one of her sisters and have often been told that they were very much alike. Researching is a great way to get to know our families.. whether we have actually met them or not...

      Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.

  7. 1. Vital records (birth, marriage, death (including cause)
    2. Have only purchased one. Most (or a substitute) I have found online.
    3. World Ancestry (great help to me)
    4. My Scattery Island origins
    5. My gg grandmother and her parents of Scattery Island because I admire what they accomplished and much has been written about them so I have a better understanding of what their lives were like.

    6. My gg grandfather's death (where and how)
    7. County Clare Ireland Genealogy and IrelandXO (international volunteer)
    8. County Clare Ireland Genealogy (best site I have ever seen...thanks Chris!)
    9. Yes. Working on a massive transcription project now for Kilrush and surrounding areas beginning in 1827
    10. Gives me a sense of belonging to a family and place. Fills a void I didn't know I had: where and who I am a part of.

    1. Hi Vicki, thank you for being part of this... You have been lucky if you have found both certificates and substitutes online. I have found a few, bought a few and shared among cousins, some from them, some to them. Glad you enjoy the Clare group... let you into a secret, so do I...

      Your Kilrush project will be of great value to so many. It is good of you to do it.

      I think filling a void is part of why we all do genealogy... we didn't know what we were missing till we found it.

      Thanks again...

  8. Here you are, Chris:

    1. What is the most important detail you want to find about your ancestors?
    Anything & everything! But for now, probably confirming the identity of Bessie O'Brien, my 4x great grandmother. I have a source which says she was a sister of Sir Lucius O'Brien, but she doesn't appear on any of the O'Brien family trees that I have seen.

    2. Do you buy certificates?
    Yes, when necessary to confirm information or obtain further biographical details to progress my research.

    3. Do you belong to a paid subscription site, if so, which one/s?
    At present, ancestry.com.uk & findmypast.com Also use scotlandspeople on an as needed basis ie purchase credits when needed

    4. What has been your 'best' find?
    Finding my 2x great grandfather's death in a newspaper report or else maybe finding the records for his cousin who died on Sir John Franklin's expedition to the Arctic.

    5. Who is your favourite ancestor and why?
    Hmm.....that's hard! Maybe my paternal grandmother who died just a few months before I was born. But I also have to admit a certain fascination for those who were a bit naughty.

    6. What are you looking for on a regular basis?
    Details of the places and times in which my ancestors lived. It is these details which make them come alive, and not just a list of names & dates.

    7. Do you belong to any genealogy group, or family history society?
    No I don't

    8. Do you belong to any Facebook or other social media genealogy groups? Would you join if there was one available?
    County Clare Ireland Genealogy, County Tyrone Ireland Genealogy, Australian Genealogy, Dive Family & Descendants, all of which are Facebook Groups. Would belong to others from other counties if they were even half as good as the County Clare one!!

    9. Have you ever volunteered to transcribe, index etc.? Would you be interested in doing so?
    I have done a very small amount independently. Would love to do more.

    10. What is your personal reason for being involved with genealogy/family history?
    Started after my mother died and I looked at the ENORMOUS pile of paper records she had left from her family history research (done before the luxury of computers!). It seemed a shame to toss it all, even though I wasn't particularly interested. Then, when I started to go through it all, something bit me, and here I am!

  9. Thank you, Katrina... Good luck with the O'Briens... it seems there may be a few of them around.

    Love Scotland's people, but don't have links there myself. I've used it when researching for others though. Isn't it amazing when you discover that someone in your ancestral family has been involved in something so public as the Arctic expedition. I can't lay claim to anything quite as big as that as far as I know now, other than the adventures/misadventures of several convicts, but I was delighted to find that one of my husband's Great Uncles sang at the opening of the school/church that our grandchildren went to.... only about 80 years separating the events.

    Nice to have another fan of the Clare group...we do our best to make it a friendly community... I think it's working.

    Your mother is probably quietly smiling, knowing that that was what she planned all along..

    Thanks again.

  10. http://helenvsmithresearch.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/in-answer-to-crissoulis-request.html

    1. Thank you, Helen... Please follow Helen's link above to see her answers...

  11. Here is mine - http://anglersrest.blogspot.com/2013/10/genealogy-questionnaire.html

    1. Thank you, Julie, much appreciated. Please go to the link above to read Julie's answers.

  12. 1. Understanding the lives they lived. I am more interested in social context/history than genealogy as such.
    2. So far, every single one of my ancestors was born in Scotland, so I am probably one of Scotland’s People’s best customers. I will start researching my husband’s family soon and will need to pay for certificates from NZ BDM – but I’ve been holding off on that because it is very expensive.
    3. No. I use both Ancestry and Findmypast at the local library.
    4. Difficult, different things are meaningful for different reasons. Finding a gg grandfather who was in a lunatic asylum and the poorhouse was interesting, partly because it has allowed me to explore different information sources – including actual paper archives.
    5. At the moment, Susan Forbes, a gg grandmother who was a mother, an astute businesswoman and who raised her illegitimate grandson – and provided for him in her will. Also, I’m named after her and her grandmother – so I’m fascinated to know how far back I can find Susan/Susanna’s in my family.
    6. Information about my great grandfather’s war service. I’ve tried the usual channels and my lack of success is forcing me to be creative. I’m not hopeful, mind – just creative!
    7. New Zealand Society Genealogists and Fife Family History Society – although I’m a very inactive member of both.
    8. Geneabloggers, but am not active. I blog a lot about family history and have lots of informal connections with other bloggers.
    9. I haven’t because my life is already full with work and family, but it is something I will consider in time. I’m a trained archivist, so am more interested in organising/managing archives than doing the detailed transcription work.
    10. Two-fold; I got interested in archives when studying for a Master Information Studies degree, and this co-incided with my grandmother’s death and the realisation that the most important like I’d had to the past was gone. I grew up an immigrant and still live away from my heritage, so I feel the need to understand and document. I also want preserve knowledge and artefacts for my son and my nieces/nephews – who aren’t interested now, but may be in the future. Meantime, I bore my son with “you don’t know how lucky you are not to be working in a mine at the age of 12” stories.

  13. Hi Suzysu,
    Thank you for taking the time to participate. I found your answers very interesting, particularly as you are coming from a different area of researching to many of us who have been involved so far. From my limited experience with Scotland's People, I have found them more reasonable cost wise than many others. Using the resources at the library is a good way to cut costs as well as have more resources available, especially now when so many have free Wi Fi, so you can use your own laptop.

    Having a connection via a common name is often something that does make you more interested in a particular ancestor, but your Susan sounds like a very strong and determined lady. My middle name connects me to my grandmother (also my daughter) and a great great grandmother, as well as a fifth great grandmother on a different line... No surprise there really, as the name is Bridget and all were Irish.

    I assume you have tried Family Search for birth details also, though I'm not too sure how much they have done for New Zealand.

    Creative is good and essential... We are fortunate in that we have great access to newspapers, in Trove and Newspapers Past in New Zealand, that can often give us so much more insight into the lives of our ancestors, sometimes. Lot more than we ever expected.

    We always need more archivists, it is a fascinating field, and so essential. I suspect that your papers, etc. are far more organised than mine.. I am getting better. :-)

    Thanks again for taking part in this questionnaire. I was interested in your blog and have joined as a follower.

  14. 1. What is the most important detail you want to find about your ancestors? Anything I can find out. Anything that helps me build their stories. I love family stories.

    2. Do you buy certificates? I haven’t done so yet (I’m a beginning family historian/blogger) but I probably would for anyone who was direct line, or who intrigued me.

    3. Do you belong to a paid subscription site, if so, which one/s? Ancestry.com (worldwide), Fold3.com, Newspapers.com, Archives.com. I might do others later on my next pass through the family. I have a full time job and no kids, and these make the family research easier to do.

    4. What has been your 'best' find? Honestly, usually whatever’s latest. Actually, at this point, it probably is the latest thing I found, my 2nd great-grand-uncle's Civil War muster documents, since it looks like he lived several months longer than the family thinks he did, given the date on his grave (& now I wonder if he’s actually in there). See http://jahcmft.blogspot.com/2013/10/a-tragic-family-mystery.html

    5. Who is your favourite ancestor and why? As I said I’m just beginning. I’m only on my mother’s maternal side (& I’m going right to left on the tree), but, already there are several very interesting characters. I've confirmed one family legend so far (that we had an ancestor on Sherman's March to the Sea in the U.S. Civil War.) But, as of this moment, probably my favorite is my grand-aunt Julia because she and my great-grandmother made the quilt that is on my bed from drapery samples she collected from the shop she worked in. One of my aunts told me more stories about her after reading my blog entry about the quilt, including that Julia had ended up owning the drapery shop because the owners had no one to leave it to and she had worked there for so long. She seems a resourceful, independent, and caring woman. I like that.

    6. What are you looking for on a regular basis? At the moment I’m mostly going through and weighing Ancestry.com’s hints, and doing a little side research on military things and in county history books (usually found in Google’s Ebooks). I intend to get more in depth on my next pass through the family tree. I’m doing it in passes 1) because I want to get through as many of the whole family as possible while my parents' generation is still around to jog stories ( & photos, letters, documents, etc) out of and so they can see what I might find; and 2) because I still have a full time job and I keeping tending to be up to 3:00 AM when I work on it and I can’t afford that, so I’ll leave the more in depth research until later – or at least, spread it out over time.

    7. Do you belong to any genealogy group, or family history society? No. Hadn’t really thought about that yet.

    8. Do you belong to any Facebook or other social media genealogy groups? Would you join if there was one available? I’m not. Didn't know there were any. I might. Depends on how much it adds to my day, or makes this easier. I’m already in several FB groups related to my chronic illness (which is stress exacerbated, so “too much to do” is not a good thing).

    9. Have you ever volunteered to transcribe, index etc.? Would you be interested in doing so? Not yet. Although I did put up on Ancestry.com that I was willing to go take pictures of graves if someone wants one that is reasonably local. After I retire I would be willing to do more -- ask me again in 9 years!

    10. What is your personal reason for being involved with genealogy/family history? I love history, and I love family stories (I did a book for the family based on years of interviewing Dad regarding his memories of growing up through dating and marrying my Mom). Genealogy is both!

    1. Hi Jo, thank you so much for participating and answering my questionnaire. You may be relatively new to family history, but you are certainly on the right track. You have identified your greatest resource, your family members, they will have the greatest knowledge and hopefully are the keepers of lots of wonderful items such as you mention, photos, letters, etc. With luck, also lots of family stories, which may not be totally accurate, but in my experience, there is usually some measure of truth or at least great clues to pursue.

      Have you written about your

      It is so wonderful that you were able to interview your Dad and create a much treasured book.

      Finding those muster documents would have been so exciting... and what a puzzle. I will definitely follow up on that story, can't wait to read it... see the link above in Jo's answer to Q. 4.

      Have you written about your Grand Aunt Julia also... being a lover of quilting, and all manner of sewing and embroidery, I, too, would be enamoured of that quilt so lovingly made... more on Grand Aunt Julia and your great grandmother please...

      I'm glad you took the time to answer these questions... I hope you will return to read others' replies, and also when I collate the responses after this has been running for awhile.Thank you.

    2. A picture of the quilt is on the blog (http://jahcmft.blogspot.com/2013/09/yahoo-i-found-it.html). I will write more fully about Julia at some point; there are a couple things I want to check out first. I need some more positive stories about my great grandmother before I do a highlight on her. My mother has told me my whole life how much that grandmother hated her so my view of her is rather colored at the moment. I'd prefer to do a more balanced piece.

      I've done a post on the my 2nd great grandfather who was on Sherman's March to the Sea campaign. And I've done one on one of my 3rd great grandfathers (unrelated to the other) who rather baffled me as the research showed that he was a Mennonite AND that he was a veteran of the War of 1812 -- but the Mennonite don't fight. I did as much checking as I know how to do and it looks like he was both. Very puzzling.

      Eventually I'd like to focus a lot on creating stories/posts on my female ancestors because women tend to get written out of history. But right now I have more posts up about men because its easier to find stuff written about men, especially if they were in a war.

      I'm going to visit my parents at the end of the month (they are over 1800 miles away -- over 2900 kilometers -- so it takes planning). She has an embroidered piece on the wall with a handwritten sign on it that, as I recall, talks about the woman who made it from making the fabric and the embroidery thread up to then working it after she went blind. I'll be taking a picture and looking them up and blogging about them for sure! I wish I could about my Mom's quilts but I've promised not to mention anyone living by name.

      Oh yes, I like reading the responses. I'll be back to read more. Thank you for responding to mine. I got here through the Anglers Rest blog, by the way, but I've since subscribed to follow you too.

    3. Thanks for the link and the extra information ..I look forward to reading more when you are ready. Good luck with your blogging, you're doing well..

  15. G'day Chris... here's the link to my contribution. http://caiteile.com/2013/10/10/a-few-moments-in-time/
    Apologies for it being so "long winded". Mum always described these as "Squire McGuires". They bore the pants off most people but my family love :-) ...no worries. Hopefully some will find my experiences and reflections useful.
    Cheerio for now, Catherine.

    1. Thank you, Catherine... I have commented on your post... I appreciate your participation. Please follow Catherine's link above to read her interesting answers..maybe you will know what happened to Rosa. :-)

  16. Here's my response : http://geniaus.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/a-geneameme-from-crissouli.html

    1. Thank you, Jill... your participation is much appreciated.

  17. My response here which I hope is of interest

    1. Hello Sue, thank you for adding to the responses. I love the addition of your photos, they are wonderful.

  18. 1. My paternal grandfather
    2. Yes
    3. No
    4. Entry in the 1911 Scottish Census. Actually someone else found it.
    5. See 1 above. Because I know so little about him.

    6. Addresses at the moment
    7. No
    8. Yes https://www.facebook.com/LiverpoolPicturebook
    9. No, but I may be interested.
    10. Curiosity and to see if I've inherited any of his characteristics!

    1. Hi, thank you for taking the time to answer these few questions. It must be hard not to know much about your grandfather, though I guess those of us who have known, or do know, grandparents are the lucky ones. I like your answer to 10... curiousity is what drives most of us to genealogy isn't it... the need to know where we came from and why we are are who we are.

      If you would like to contact me by email, you will find my address in About Me... If you are interested in transcribing, then please contact me, telling me the areas you are interested in and your name if you would, then perhaps I can help you find the right volunteer group.

      My main research is Irish, but there are so many other options available other than Irish transcriptions. Thank you again for dropping by.

    2. Thank you, for pulling together such an interesting questionnaire on our individual blogging journeys, and also for your comment on my blog which was much appreciated.

    3. You're very welcome, glad our paths have crossed.

  19. Thanks for this awesome geneameme. Here's my response ... finally. http://www.lonetester.com/2013/10/crissoulis-geneameme-my-responses/

  20. Hi Alona, it's never too late... so glad you have joined in. I commented on your blog but I just wanted to say I love your passion and enthusiasm. Thank you and happy you found this geneameme/questionnaire to be awesome. :-)

  21. I've just found out about this and have answered for you here http://kkgenealogy.com/moments-time/ Thanks for the prompts!

    1. Thank you, Kim... loved your answers... please follow Kim's link above to see how she is going to ensure her hard work researching isn't lost. Something we all should consider.

  22. You can read a collation of further responses here...


    Thank you all for your interest and/or participation.

  23. 1. I just want to get a sense of who they were, their interests and ideally a sense of them.

    2. Yes I buy birth, baptism and marriage certs but far less death certs. If I had more cash would buy more.

    3. I belong to FindMypast worldwide, Ancestry, Genesreunited and The Genealogist.

    4. That my 2 great aunts were vegetarians, may explain why as 2 red meat eaters one daughters is vegan, the other vegetarian! And of course lots of new living relations.
    5. Too early to tell who is favourite.

    6. Firstly I want dates and places and then to flesh out the family and their lives.

    7.Yes Irish Genealogical Research Society, West Middx FHS, Cork Genealogy Soc., Cheshire FHS, Liverpool FHS, Society of Genealogists...

    8. yes belong to lots on Facebook - Irish Genealogical Research Society, Co Clare, Cork, Limerick and lots more.

    9. Have transcribed previously and recently signed up again.

    10. Family history is fascinating. It is amazing the history and so many other things I have learnt whilst doing this. Living outside the country of my birth it helps me place myself, and place myself in my family. Also it is an interest filled with many kind people. I enjoy being part of a generous community.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to participate ... I am learning so much from everyone's responses. Though we all have a lot in common, we each give our genealogical quest individual twists.

      I really empathise with your last response, in that genealogy truly does give us a sense of finding our place,and for me, a security of knowing not only from whence we came, but also that we can dream and aspire to create our own future.

      That's a lovely way of putting it, the genie community truly is a generous community, of spirit and heart.

  24. My response is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6ZFfxG-kto :)

    1. Hi Caitlin, what a great way to respond... I am just about to watch... Thank you for taking the time and for your innovative reply.


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