Hilary, a member of the Southport Family History Group, said
that most of us will have, as she described them, naughty
She referred to her own family history studies
giving examples of issues that, for the most part, families did
not speak about. Being a family historian she explained the
sources available that throw light on a variety of these issues.
One issue was illegitimacy, which was a subject quite often
kept behind closed doors. Her granny had a child out of wedlock
and nobody in the family spoke about it. Through her research
she established that Wilfrid, her half-uncle, who no one knew
who is father was, was that child.
An important part of
family history research is to talk with older members of the
family and try to obtain as much information as possible about
people and events that may have surrounded them. This allied
with research of official records can give fact to what was
One family story began with a phone call
regarding 1 son who did not look like anyone of his siblings.
Research revealed that the family father was away serving in the
army in World War 1 at Gallipoli at the time of conception.
A check of the
dates on all Hilary’s ancestors’ dates of marriage with dates of
their first born through baptism records revealed 10 births with
gaps of much less than 9 months after the parent’s marriage.
A look at birth certificates can reveal plenty of shocks.
Baptism registers do describe children born out of wedlock as
‘illegitimate’, ‘base born’ and ‘bastard’.
who had fallen foul of the law there is plenty of information
available to establish the facts. The criminal records’ national
archive, newspapers, police courts, assize courts and
bankruptcies can all be accessed via websites.
Hilary explained the inspection of wills can solve and can
create family history problems.
In conclusion Hilary
asked about black sheep in our families. She said we’ve all got
them and will have fun finding out about them.