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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree March 2019 > COLOURFUL CLUES from my favourite source

COLOURFUL CLUES from my favourite source

Joan Dexter has never forgotten her faTher’s advice, to find out as much as possible about each of her ancestors, learning what kind of folk They were and what sort of lives They led. And, on this quest, she’s found Manor Court Rolls to be full of colourful clues


I’d just had my 22nd birthday when my faTher gave me The best piece of family history advice he would ever impart. ‘We mustn’t be content with just a name and a date. That’s not sufficient. We must find out as much as we can about These people.’ The two of us were about to realise our long-held ambition to research his paternal ancestry, and for The rest of his life, and mine, that advice is exactly The path we followed – but we never dreamed what a journey of discovery it would turn out to be.

The modern fashion of counting how many hundreds or thousands of names we’d collect was not for us, and to this day I haven’t a clue as to The number. It’s adding flesh on Their bones that counts: much more fun to learn what kind of folk They were and what kind of lives They’d led. Here is just a sample… Do you own a dog? Did your parents own a dog? Did your grandparents? Great-grandparents? Great-great-grandparents? It’s difficult to know, isn’t it? ‘Impossible,’ you may be muttering. Yet I know that my 10x great-grandfaTher Francis Dinsdale (1562/3-1626/7), a smallholder and keeper of The local ale house, owned a dog. How do I know? By researching my family history, of course!

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About Family Tree

Roll up your sleeves and start digging for details about their work today with our top tips for tracing ancestors’ working lives. Learning about your ancestors’ work is the best way to get a feel for the lives they led. Did they have to tramp miles each day to reach the mine? Or did the whole family work together from home? Was everyone down their street employed in a similar industry? Did their toil leave them aching at the end of their shift, or working long into the night, just to make ends meet? Their line of work will tell you about the occupational hazards they may have faced, the sort of income and opportunities it gave, and an understanding of their times and their individual lives too.