Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Don't ever give up....

I have been asked at various times what would be the best piece of advice to offer budding Family Historians….A difficult question to answer as there are so many little nuggets of wisdom I’ve acquired over the years. I think one of the most important things is to never assume once you hit a brick wall with a particular piece of research that you’ve come to the end of the line, and despair that you’ll never be able to go any further with it…..
One example of my own springs immediately to mind…It concerns a man I starting researching about ten years ago. I found out at this time that the man in question had been imprisoned for *Assault and Malicious Wounding* and released from prison in the Summer of 1850 and I believed, because I could find no further evidence against him, that he may have become a chastened and reformed character.

 …It wasn’t until very recently that I realised how wrong I was…
While researching mid 19thC prison records for something totally unrelated, I accidently stumbled across this man again. It appeared he’d been in trouble again on at least two further occasions. – in 1857 he was arrested for *House Breaking* but acquitted for this offence, but the following year in 1858 he was sent to prison for twelve months for *About to commit a Burglary*….I even found another serious offence committed fifteen years later attributed to a man of the same name with similar details, but I have as yet to verify if this last offence was actually committed by *my* man….

 Finding this extra information purely by accident has certainly altered the overall complexion on how I should view each piece of family history research. – check, check and check again!!

 I suppose the bottom line in researching Family History is to never ever give up. As my example proves even years later a clue can appear from out of the blue to set us off on the correct trail again.

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