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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree December 2017 > Finding your earlier ancestors

Finding your earlier ancestors

Chris Paton describes the approaches needed for researching ancestors from earlier generations


Tried & tested methods!

A road less travelled: push back further in time to see where your family history journey takes you

As in our own daily lives, throughout history our ancestors had many ordeals to endure and many successes to celebrate. In trying to uncover their lives, however, we might initially constrain our endeavours to more recent times, using records that are easily available to us to piece our forebears’ stories together. Many of us might have a great understanding of who our ancestors were over the last two centuries, with stories gleaned from birth, marriage, death and census records, accompanied perhaps by the odd glimmer of their existence in additional sources such as newspapers. But before the advent of such documents, other records were kept that can progress our journey much further back. They may be different in nature to the records held from Victorian times onwards, they might only be found deep within archives and not online, and they may not even be intelligible to our modern eyes. Nevertheless they do exist and can be very revealing about earlier generations – in some cases they can be every bit as dramatic as anything you might find in a newspaper!

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About Family Tree

Come on, it's time to roll up your sleeves, leave the pleasant pastures of the 19th century, the birth, marriage and death records, and the census - and trace your family lines further back in into the past. This is your chance to explore new records, stretch your research and revel in the lives and times of your Georgian, Stuart and even Tudor ancestors.