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28 October 2014
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Tracing your family tree
Family wedding
Family members gather for a wedding in the 1930s - but who are they?
People all over the world are trying to trace their family history. Send us your own "trees" - who knows, your "branches" may even link to another Cornish tree!
In the nineteenth century hundreds of thousands of people left Cornwall in search of a better life overseas. Now, many of them - and others here at home - are trying to trace their family tree.

Be warned though - what might start out as idle curiosity can become an all-consuming obsession!

The basic rule is is to work backwards beginning with what you actually know. Ask for help from relations, neighbours or other people who live in your area and build up a solid foundation of knowledge that you can build on.

Help your children to be aware of their ancestors.

Get yourself organised. Have files and storage systems for any information that comes your way so that's it's easy to find. There's nothing more frustrating than knowing you've got someone's name or birthdate jotted down "somewhere". Start a folder or directory in your computer where you can put e mails, notes and information gathered from the internet.

Gather information from wherever you can; that stranger sitting next to you in the cinema could be a relation!

There are dozens of books, websites and organisations to help you. You can even pay someone to help you when you get stuck! Some contact points are listed below. Don't forget that your local library can often help - not only with reference books but with online connections and advice too. Ask anyone and everyone; you never know when that one "piece of the jigsaw" that you've been looking for will come along and help you complete the puzzle!

Every generation can be interested in another.

If you can, spend some time in the place where you think your relations have come from, or at least "virtually" visit it so that you can check out local newspapers, libraries, social clubs or organisations that may be able to help you. Remember that other people may well be doing the same as you so ask for help at local or regional genealogy groups - you may be able to "swop" information with other members. Keep a record of every clue or scrap of information you find; like a detective story even if you don't think it means anything now it may prove vital in the future.

Cornwall around the world

The Cornwall Family History Society
is based at 5, Victoria Square, Truro, Cornwall TR1 2RS. Call them on 01872.264044. email secretary @cornwallfhs.com. They have agents overseas:

Australia
Mrs E P McDonald, 9 Backford Street, Chermside West, Queensland 4032, Australia.
Canada
Mr B R Waters, 55 Balmoral Avenue, Toronoto, M4V 1J5, Canada.
New Zealand
Mrs J Bruton, Titiro-ki-Pahurehure, 57/2 Youngs Road, Papakura, New Zealand.
United States of America
Mr T Gross, 542 Old Main Street, Rocky Hill, CT 06067-1512, USA.

Web sites

www.worldgenweb.org
Organised by region this site could help you in your search.
www.familysearch.org
This is the database of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
www.census.pro.gov.uk
Access the 1901 census.
www.pro.gov.uk/default.htm
The site for the public record office.

Cornwall Connected
Contact the Cornwall Connected programme with your stories of success (or failure!). Perhaps your family researches could help someone else or even link up with another tree! e mail cornwallconnected @bbc.co.uk.

Good luck and keep in touch!

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