Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How Many Degrees of Separation Was That?

I am currently collaborating  with a genealogist HB who is researching his wife's family which connects with my Ex's family so we are researching a family which has no real blood connection to either of us.

The internet is a wonderful tool for researching families and there are great tools to do it.  Ancestry.com is busy connecting any families which have a common person so I tend to find that there are people on my tree which I am sure I didn't put there.  However, I have been doing this stuff for years so who knows?  I may have come across them earlier in my research and forgotten about them.

I try to keep things compact but the trouble is that the further back one goes the more the thing spreads  -  and they all had so many children.  I have over 800 distant cousins in America and Canada (not in my tree), descended from John Pidwell, the brother of my great great grandmother Rhoda Pidwell. He was a shoemaker who went to Canada, married into an influential family and made good.  He bought and stocked a ship and sent it from Newfoundland around Cape Horn to California where he sold the cargo and the ship.  His father signed his marriage register with a cross.  It seems that the enterprising ones emigrated.

A few years ago a half third cousin and I researched our common great great great grandfather in Wales; David Davies.  His son Edward Davies emigrated to Australia and all that either of us knew was that he set up a tannery on the Yarra River in Melbourne.  And we found him   -  and his three wives   My cousin was probably descended from the second wife and I am descended from the third.  The Davies family had a habit of multiple marriages and I think that we found most of what there was to find.  My cousin has been chasing ffrosts ever since.  He said that they were so easy to find online and had such extraordinary names.

David Davies' son and grandson were both called Edward so they became Ted the Tanner and Ed the architect to distinguish them.  The ffrosts are descended from Ted the Tanner while Ed the Architect was my great grandfather.

Both HB and my Davies cousin live in Victoria and I live in Western Australia so there is little chance that we will ever meet face to face.  As I said previously the internet is wonderful for genealogical research and I have met some really nice people whom I consider to be friends regardless of never having met them face to face.

I am still at a sticking point with one great great grandfather and have various theories about him.  I thought that I had found him and still have the file where I stored his information; born in Cornwell (tick) and born the right year (tick) according to his navy records, but the British Navy says that their man was with them for his whole life  -  although his record shows that he was in his 30s when he enlisted.   More to the point, though, I am unable to find any birth or baptismal records for anyone of that name being born anywhere in Cornwall.

So it is back to the drawing board.

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