Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Genealogy 2014 - 2015: Successes and Goals

Mary Peacock nee Hugill
Mary Peacock (nee Hugill)
After today, someone else is taking over my '31st-of-the-month' time-slot. My previous posts were about sources and strategies for family history worldwide. Today I want to reflect upon the highlights of 2014 and my goals for 2015.

In 2014, unforeseen events (ranging from a back injury to moving house) meant that there were many disruptions to my usual genealogical activities. A health scare reminded me that spending quality time with family and friends is more important than being an educator, a genealogy professional or a blogger!

Genealogical highlights of 2014:   (links open in a new window)
  1. Collaboration via CuriousFox.  I have been swapping information with a distant relative who contacted me via CuriousFox. She sent me certificates and other information for our PEACOCK and HUGILL ancestors from Yorkshire, and confirmed that my Mary PEACOCK (nee HUGILL) died 17 Feb 1900 at Stockton-on-Tees, Durham, England.

  2. New data via National Probate Calendar.  I found many relevant entries in the National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations, England and Wales 1858-1966). For some, I've already ordered copies of the wills. Others are on my wish list, but in the meantime they gave me locations, death dates, occupations and relationship details that helped with research in other sources.

  3. New data via FindMyPast.  Many record sets released on FindMyPast during 2014 revealed new information for my family history. For example:
    • 'British in India' collection has 5 pension fund documents for Mary PORTER (a widow in England) with names and exact birth dates (between 1811 and 1821) for her five children.

    • Yorkshire collection has records such as parish registers and Bishop's Transcripts for my many family lines in that county.

    • Trade Union records refer to my John William CORDUEX in registers of two different railway unions.

    • New South Wales will books 1800-1952 in which I have already found 13 records for my family (including some people who lived outside NSW). I expect to find more when I do a systematic search for all names in my family tree.

  4. Newspaper notices.  In the York Herald, Yorkshire Gazette and Sheffield Daily Telegraph (digitised and available via FindMyPast and the British Newspaper Archive) I found obituaries and other items for some of my families including HUDSON of Barton-le-Willows and BATTY of Bolton-upon-Dearne.

  5. HUDSON family at Crows Nest.  I added another generation to the family tree after finding clues in Queensland funeral records and cemetery burial registers.

My genealogy goals for 2015:

  • Change my priorities.  Spend more time on my own research and less time on answering emails from people who expect everything to be free!

  • Share my knowledge more efficiently.  (1) Write more mini-guides.  (2) Use my Twitter page more often (because it is a quick way to share genealogy tips and links).

  • Organise my records.  Before scanning or taking digital photos of all my family history material, I need to write down a 'style guide' for naming and filing the images. I will use a modification of the system described by Nancy Loe (a.k.a. 'Sassy Jane') in Cataloging Digital Family Photographs and Records and Organizing Genealogy Research Using Archival Principles. My paper filing system has always been source-based, so Louis Kessler's idea of a source-based incremental fix will suit me perfectly.

  • Use DNA for genealogy.  I need to become more familiar with various tools for analysing DNA results, and to persuade more of my distant cousins to do the FamilyTreeDNA Family Finder test for autosomal DNA and the X-chromosome.

  • Plan my genealogy cruise presentations.  Prepare my talks well in advance of Unlock the Past's 'Barrier Reef' cruise in March 2016. (You can get AUD$40 discount by quoting the code UTPC-WEB06 when you book any Unlock the Past cruise.)

  • Research the HUGILL family.  My top priority is to find parents' names for Mary HUGILL (born c.1813, Hull, Yorkshire) and confirm that George HUGILL (born Hull, later of Stockton-on-Tees) was her brother. (Perhaps the wills and probate documents that I've ordered will help.)

  • Write about my ancestors.  Many of those posts (which I will put in Jottings, Journeys and Genealogy) will be quite brief initially, but I'll update them as my research progresses. Hopefully people who read them will contact me and help fill the gaps in my knowledge.

Someone else is now taking over my '31st-of-the-month' time-slot, but watch for additions to my own blogs, which include UK / Australia GenealogyGenealogy LeftoversQueensland Genealogy;  and Jottings, Journeys and Genealogy.
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(This post first appeared on


  1. Great post Judy and you made some fantastic discoveries in 2014. Looking forward to catching up somewhere in 2015!

    1. Thanks Shauna. Last year I spent very little time on my own family history, and until I wrote that post I hadn't realised how much I'd accomplished in just a few short sessions of online research - mostly on FindMyPast, which is tremendously useful for my predominantly English ancestry. (See you at Congress2015, if not sooner!)

  2. Thanks for this story Judy. Thanks also for the reminder about Curious Fox...I haven't used it for ages.

    1. Pauleen, I hope your success rate with CuriousFox is as high as mine. It definitely helps if you periodically delete some of your entries and immediately repost them (updated if necessary). Incidentally, I enjoyed your post Back to Basics. I hope you enjoy 2015 and don't find that it's too hectic. I'm looking forward to seeing you in Canberra during the Congress.

  3. Thanks Judy. Looks like we both have changes afoot in 2015. I'm loving all the records being released on FMP but won't get a chance to focus on them until mid-year. Will have a coffee/tea in Canberra.

    1. Yes Pauleen, I am really looking forward to more 'Me Time' in 2015, and I will be interested to hear how your year goes too.

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