Here's my next interview with Ellen Shelly from "Shelly Ancestry"
My full name is Ellen Shelly.
Shelly is the name I am known by.
1) What got you into genealogy & how long have you been researching for?
I’ve been researching my own family tree for more than 20 years.
I think I first became interested in family relationships at primary school, when I was learning about the Greek Gods. What complicated family trees they have!
Around the same time I was shown the family bible of my adoptive family, and in my early 20s my aunt gave me a small photo album showing my great grandparents from my ‘birth’ family.
I’ve always considered both families to be ‘mine’ – and I’ve been very lucky that both families considered me to be ‘theirs’.
They were all from north Lincolnshire, so I have been hoping to find an ancestor who appears in both family trees. No luck so far!
2) What interesting things have you discovered about your ancestors?
I’ve noticed that many of my male ancestors died while they had several small children and babies less than a year old. I’m proud to see how their widows managed to raise their children alone.
Many of my ancestors lived near to their brothers and sisters as adults, and children often appeared in the UK censuses in the households of their grandparents.
I also found that one branch of my family were educated at Cambridge University and were clerics at various parishes in Lincolnshire in the seventeenth century. I have seen their signatures in the parish register pages which is a real link to a time when no other images were available for them. They performed the baptism and marriage ceremonies of their family – as well as some burials for their own young children
3) Who/What are you currently focusing on in your research?
I have a 3x great grand mother whose baptism I have not been able to locate. I’m 80% certain that I know which family she belonged to. Right now I am reconstructing the families of the same surname, in the village where I know she was born, to see if there is another family group that she may have belonged to.
4) Have you come across any difficulties while researching your family (e.g. Conflicting sources)
There is conflicting information in many family stories and in the records for some individuals. For instance, one of my 3x great grandmothers seems to have been less than honest with her age in census records, while her husband was alive, but after his death she provided her true age, which was about 8 years older. This allowed me to match her to a baptism record that I thought must be hers – but didn’t seem to match until I found that last census entry.
My ancestor Job Hotson who died in August 1878 seems to have been buried in the local parish church in August that year – but according to the cemetery register on deceasedonline.com he was buried at Cleethorpes Cemetery in November 1878.
5) What advice would you give to people wanting to start genealogy?
My advice would be similar to many other genealogists – speak to your older relatives as soon as you can. Record their voices, ask about their earliest memories. Write names on the back of their old photographs.
Double-check everything! Don’t trust online family trees, even if you use them as a guide. Its essential to view original sources and verify all information to your own satisfaction.
Remember to keep a note of where you found every piece of information – and the sources you have checked even though you didn’t find anything. This will save you repeating yourself and also allows you to retrace your steps and share your findings confidently with family members or other researchers.
Write your ancestors lives as stories, describing their homes, villages and the events of the time, to draw in your family and interest them in their heritage.