You will by now have started to gather quite a collection of information, phtographs and data and it is important at this early stage that you get organised.
It is best to start a seperate file on each family member that you trace, and it may be best to allocate each person in my tree with an individual code and mark their file and all material with this reference.
You could perhaps precede the father’s family with P for paternal and the mother’s with M for maternal. This makes for easier cross referencing, reduces the amount of numbers allocated and leads to quicker look-ups.
It is also useful at the front of each file to keep a list of data included e.g. birth certificate/ press cutting / military record etc. which then acts as a quick reminder of what more work you need to do on that person’s history.
Back-up your files!
If you store your tree data on your Computer it is absolutely essential that you create a back-up disc and save your hard drive work to this disc at regular intervals, particularly after adding any lengthy or valuable data. Overwrite the previous data to ensure you have the most recent on disc and date each change in order to remember exactly when you saved, then, should the unthinkable happen, you can go back to a precise time in your work.
Although your Computer is an efficient and practical method of keeping your tree data you should also keep a hand written working copy which you will find easier to access and much easier to review relationships between various family members. But a word of warning: if you do this you must keep the two versions in sync or you can find yourself searching all over again for something already resolved.
Many web-sites (such as Ancestry) offer you a way of writing up your research and showcasing your Family Tree, but remember to make regular back-ups (at the very least by downloading the gedcom file) in case the site suffers from a hacking attempt or – heaven forbid – if it goes out of business.
Back-up your files!
There was a brief mention ofmilitary records earlier, so if you lost relatives in wartime where can you discover what happened to them?
Your first port of call should be to the Commonwealth Graves Commision site at
http://www.cwgc.org/about-us.aspx This holds details of all 1.7 million servicemen and women who died in active service, as well as 60 thousand civilian personel who died in bombing raids.
Go to the site and in the Debt of Honour Register, type the name of your family member. If you know the service they served in and/or the war they fought in, you can narrow the search, but this is not essential.
The result will give you all those of that name, also their rank, service number, date of death and age. It will also inform you where they are buried or, if lost without trace, where they are commemorated.
There are many other options on military and service records.
Back-up your files!
STREET & TRADE DIRECTORIES
Another possible source of information is the Street & Trade Directories, such as Kelly’s, the History Gazetteer, Directory of Devon and Pigot’s.
These can be viewed online at the University of Leicester’s site at http://specialcollections.le.ac.uk/cdm/landingpage/collection/p16445coll4
Although not exaustive it has a wide national coverage with almost every county and many towns being represented.
The Directory is produced and owned by the University of Leicester and is a digital library of these street and trade directories for England and Wales from 1750 to 1919.
At its most basic the Directory seeks to provide at least one directory for each area for each of the decades 1850’s / 1890’s and 1910’s.
You can search by location, name, key word – such as Architect etc. – and you will find street directories, trade directories and other assorted information.
It is useful to place an ancestor at an address, or find out if they were in a trade. The data is quite limited but can be an aid to your work.