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Thursday, 2 April 2015


A-Z of Family History Sources & Stories 
Join me on this A-Z journey to explore the fascinating records 
that can  enhance your family history research and writing. 

BIBLES -  What a miss for future family historians, as how many of us now have in the  home a family bible, where we record births, marriages and deaths?    

I was delighted to find at my grandfather's house his own parents'' family bible.  But their enthusiasm  for this record- keeping obviously waned, as the entries petered out after the first four children were born.  They went on to have a further seven children.   


John.    my great grandfather's older brother, made a much neater job of recording births and deaths in his family,  with this beautifully written page  which even includes the days of the week when the children  were born.


BUSINESS RECORDS  - if you know where your ancestor worked, contact with a local archive centre or museum is called for here to discover background information on your ancestors' work, particularly if it was in a key local industry, such as  textiles. The focus on the collection may be on financial and production records,  rather  than individual employee information, but you may well find valuable pointers that illustrate your ancestor's working life,  such as wage sheets,  staff photographs.  product labels and advertisements, marketing brochures, letterheads etc.    A local history might have been written on a company.  Many towns now have publications featuring old photographs of local shops, trades, mills,  garages, etc. - one might be where your ancestor worked.    

See Also:   D for Directories, J for Job Titles, and O for Occupations. 

My cousin's Oldham family were carters  and coal men in Blackpool, Lancashire - a life  illustrated in these documents:

A sign  of progress.  This was  the first road vehicle that the business bought 
in 1921 as a step to replacing  the horses.
BLOGGING - you may feel daunted at the prospect of writing a full family history narrative, but Blogging is such an ideal way to develop your   skills by writing short articles and profiling the life of individual ancestors.  It is also a great opportunity to show your vintage photographs to a wider audience. 

Take a look at the network  site Geneabloggers where  you will find lots of good examples, ideas for posts and support from fellow bloggers. 

Are there BLACK SHEEP in your family?  Little knowledge has come down through the family on my great grandfather James Danson (1852-1906), but anecdotal evidence does not reflect creditably on him, compared with the obvious respect for "Granny".  This is borne out by the photograph below - the only one I have  of him - where he is the bearded man, sitting merry in Poulton stocks.  I suspect the photograph was staged, but it does present a lively image for a family history profile.   James was the youngest son with six sisters and two brothers.   He went on to  father 10 sons (eight surviving infancy), and an only daughter Jennie- so there is no shortage of material here for family stories. . 

                   The only photograph I have of my great grandfather James Danson
               sitting merrily in  the stocks at Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire. ..

Onto C  for Certificates,  Censuses & Churches 



  1. I loved your different takes on B! Blogging has become an integral part of my life and I could relate to it so much.

  2. Black sheep in a family are certainly interesting. I've enjoyed learning about some of my family's recently. It's funny how, once you grow up you find there are a whole lot more family stories that no one was willing to tell you before! Good luck with the A-Z challenge.

  3. Which of the men was your great grandfather? I would love to have photos of my great grandfathers, even if they were in stocks.

  4. My husband is the total black sheep of the family. That's what makes him so interesting.

    Good luck with the 2015 A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy

  5. Thank you to everybody for taking the time to comment. Yes, Kristin, I should have said that in the final photograph my black sheep grandfather was the bearded merry figure in the stocks, sitting on the left.

  6. Liked the combination of your thougts for letter B.


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