I started researching my family tree nearly 20 years ago, after finding details of my grandmother’s siblings and grandparents inside her family bible. The 1901 census had just been released online and that was my starting point to search for the names of people I had, until that point, never heard of. I still have the torn back of an envelope where I copied these details and it is amazing to think that these few sketchy details have led to the family tree I have today.
I have researched some family lines going back 18 generations but generally about 5 or 6 generations for most families and I am still researching and probably will be for years to come. For me the joy has not just been about finding that my family goes back to the 15th century and wondering where my family fortune has gone or if I am related to royalty, but about trying to find out about the sorts of lives that my ancestors lived, most of them in various parts of rural Sussex, not far from where I currently live. Most of them appear to have been agricultural labourers and farmers, a hard but honest living and most of the others worked in some capacity connected with the landscape such as wood fellers and brickmakers.
My family tree includes the surnames of Baldwin, Harmer, Pilbeam, Terry, Payne Winchester, Funnell, Simmons, Rusbridge, Roffey, Vigar, Vincent, Message and many more and covers a geographical area of Sussex, Surrey, Lincolnshire, Middlesex and Ireland. Last year I discovered a line of Thelwell from the Manchester and Cheshire area, a new area to me.
Find out more about my family on my family tree Email me for the password.