Extreme Genealogy


I get so many people telling me how hard they find it to “just concentrate” on their direct family lines back that it has set me thinking. In the “old days” when letters had to be written and weeks would go by before you got a reply, genealogy was taken at a leisurely pace. You really had enough difficulty finding your direct line of ancestors without worrying too much about those aunts, uncles and cousins who left the parish to find their fortune elsewhere.

Now of course with the advent of the computer and the internet (and didn’t genealogists take to that technology – like ducks to water!) we have the GRO indexes, census, military records and increasingly parish registers all at our fingertips and more often than not they are indexed. Finding your 3 cousin 7 times removed is as easy as typing in his name. It is no wonder that we gather in all those people who have blood ties how ever distant, it is all so easy.

So does it matter if you get side-tracked, are you less of a genealogist if you go sideways as well as up your family tree? Of course not. I have so often found cousins staying with cousins, aunts bringing up orphaned nieces and nephews, in-laws staying with in-laws all of whom give vital clues to help progress the pedigree backwards.

During a conversation the other day about this sideways research I decided that a name needed to be given to this new phenomena. Extreme Genealogy. You get extreme sports so why not extreme genealogy? I practise this type of research, I don’t necessarily go looking for all the cousins etc, but if I come across them then I record them. If they look as if they led interesting lives then I look a little deeper. I can get quite fond of some of my distant cousins and they can lead me into some interesting reading. Henry Pottinger who became the first Governor of Hong Kong and was central to the negotiations to end the 1st Opium War with China is my 8th cousin and is about to become my next focus of attention. He may only be a very distant cousin, but he sounds to be a very interesting chap!

Become a practitioner of Extreme Genealogy if you like, don’t feel guilty about it, you will be surprised where those distant cousins take you!

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Yorkshire Family History Fair


If you are anywhere near York on 26th June then pop along to the Yorkshire Family History Fair. It sounds as if it will be a great place to catch up with all the latest in genealogy. The fair is at York Racecourse, Knavesmire Stand, admission is only £4 and there are cafeteria facilities onsite.


Yorkshire Family History Fair

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Find My Past free offer gets overwhelmed


I don’t know how many of you tried to get onto Find My Past for their free access 3 hours whilst the England match was playing, but if you did then I bet you were as frustrated as I was about either not getting onto the site at all or if you did get onto it getting bumped off before you got a chance to take a look at anything!

Surely they must have realised that their site was going to get millions of hits during that 3 hour period especially at the start. It gave me memories of the debacle of the first launch of the 1901 census and I would have thought that Brightsolid would have known what to expect.

I’ll post something on the Mad About genealogy forum and perhaps you could tell me and others of your experiences!

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Find My Past free during England World Cup matches



For immediate release


The World Cup is now upon us and we thought it would only be fair to provide some entertainment for any non-football fans out there:

Whenever England play a match, you’ll be able to access all our records for

What you need to know about this fantastic offer:

-          When England play, you don’t pay: 30 minutes before each England
game kicks off, all the records on findmypast.co.uk will be free to view for
3 hours

-          You can view original images and transcriptions of all our
records for free including birth, marriage and death records 1538-2006, census records including the 1911 census and our Chelsea Pensioners British Army Service Records 1760-1913 – to name just a few

-          Normally you would need a subscription or PayAsYouGo credits to
view our records – some of which normally cost 30 credits each – so to be able to see them for free is a rare opportunity

-          Keep an eye on our blog for a competition question to enter
during each England match. You’ll need to answer all the questions correctly for a chance to win, so make sure you don’t miss any. The prize is a goodie bag containing a digital camera, vouchers for a year’s Full subscription plus much more

All you need to do to make use of this unique offer is register on findmypast.co.uk as you’ll need to sign in to view the records. Visit our World Cup page for more information.

If you need a helping hand with your research, take a look at our video tutorials or our Getting Started page which provide clear advice on how to use our records.

We’d love to hear about any discoveries you make while our records are free to view – post anything you’d like to share with us and our readers on our Facebook page.

Please pass this on to friends, family or anyone else you think might want to make the most of our free family history records.

*All records available using our Full subscription (including the 1911
Census) will be free: Living Relatives searches and Memorial scrolls are not included.



clip_image002Madaboutgenealogy has been a bit quiet of late due to a computer malfunction. I am awaiting Mr Dell to deliver a new all singing…all dancing computer shortly and then I shall be able to start working on the backlog of websites that I have found to share with you all!!