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Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Ancestry, Ancestry DNA & Fuzzy Ink Stationery // The August Review

I have always had a real interest in Family History, whether it's mine or someone else's. We are here because of our ancestors decisions. I think we forget that although we are raised by our parent(s) or guardian(s) their own decisions were influenced by how they were raised and those before them...etc. I also find it amazing how many records and photos you can find. As a 90's kid it seems that, with the technology boom, leaving your footprint is new when it in fact has just gotten easier.


I started my research with Ancestry a little over 2 years ago. I had become housebound again with the colitis and wanted to do something different in my down time. 
I chose Ancestry because it has a larger database, it’s simple to use and it gives you a lot of added options. I also like that I can pay monthly, so when my health isn’t at it’s best or I need to make savings I can deactivate and activate the subscription without losing any of my progress. I also find it beneficial that on months where I can’t afford it I can still go into the tree and print pages, make notes or make edits on what I’ve found.
Ancestry offers documents worldwide and although it is a little more to do that again, being able to change the subscription each month means I can access it when I need to. I didn’t need to take the full subscription out unnecessarily to begin with.
They also offer many handy hints, whether you have all the names and dates or no name at all. Once, I even put the father’s name in as just the family name (surname) on one branch of my family research and it was able to give me a baptism record, which in turn gave the name of their father and the mothers first name. I knew it was right as the record had the right date, area and because of common trees. Common trees links other peoples public trees and you can compare, message and discuss what each of you have found.

I would recommend Ancestry for those who are looking to research their family history. I have tried other websites like Find My Past and My Heritage but this was so much easier to navigate. I love the store they have too where you can buy print outs, certificates and even pay for a professional genealogist if you are unable to find an ancestor.

Ancestry DNA

I hit a bump with my family history as some relatives didn’t seem to have any marriage or baptism records. This could be because of many reasons; they didn’t get married or baptised, the database is still being updated, the wrong spelling of names or they went by a nickname. I had already done an Ancestry DNA test with 23 and Me, (Click Here to see that post) but the only downside of it was that many family tree websites like Ancestry don’t offer for you to upload the results they gave. A lot of ancestry tree websites will offer their own Ancestry DNA test instead. 
Ancestry DNA Kit
As I was stuck I went ahead an ordered the Ancestry DNA when it was on offer for Fathers Day. I was also curious to see if the results would come back similar. This is what the test looked like. I had to again spit into a tube, send it off and wait 8 weeks for the results to come back. 
Ancestry DNA Results
The results I got were similar to the ones 23 and Me provided. As you can see they are very close in proximity but they haven’t been able to detect where my North Western European DNA was from. In the white box on the right hand side (pictured above) you get a little more history as to what those areas but as it shows the family I've connected with, so I didn’t do a screen shot.
Comparison: 23 and Me VS Ancestry DNA Results
I was overall really impressed with the Ancestry DNA test. The main benefit being the tree building it offers. I’ve already connected to more family and trees that were private. I am not as stumped as I was before. I’ve even gotten more hints to family that were born from second marriages I knew nothing about. 
I do recommend the DNA test if you were only looking at it as a tree building tool. As for the estimated heritage from it, I still find that as the database is smaller people with large international roots to their ancestry may find it very generalised. Like I said above, Ancestry shows I have North Western European Ancestry but 23andMe shows it’s mainly French & German. Something I have even more proof of from building my family tree.

What Am I Doing With It All?

With most Ancestry Websites, some records are through a 3rd party and if you don’t add the document itself on the ancestors profile, on a deactivated subscription, you won’t have access to it. My number one tip is to save documents themselves to the tree and not save the link. 

So you’ve researched your family history, what do you do...Well I am doing three things. 
Firstly I am saving all documents related to each ancestors onto a hard drive and in some cases writing up a transcript if the document is too damaged to read.
Secondly, I brought huge binders to print each ancestors facts profile. It shows key events throughout their life as well as who their parents, siblings, spouse and children were / are.
Finally, I am putting everything I have found into a book. Each ancestor gets their own fact page followed by documents found. I am doing this with Funky Ink Stationery. 

Fuzzy Ink Stationery 

Owned by Prudence Dwyer. I found Fuzzy Ink Stationery on Etsy when researching templates and organisational tools for all my family history research. I brought this Ancestor Summary Template to help with organising my family history into a book.

I’m so in love with this it’s unreal. It’s simple, clean, slick and comes with so many options. 
I honestly don’t think I’d ever of been able to come up with something like this for my family history book and I know I’d still be playing around and searching for templates I liked if I hadn’t found this.

Most family history books I see are full of photos and stories from family members whereas with this I wanted it to be more of a timeline. To some the way I am organising it all may sound clinical but I wanted what was known to be from documents and sources. I don’t, for example, want to write a paragraph about what rail workers were like in this time period and what my ancestor could have gone through. I want to write that these sources (census, certificate, newspaper..etc) showed they worked from this age to this age in this occupation. Whilst their family was growing. Whilst they moved from here to there and have it as a summary. This way I can have more information in one book as I feel a lot of us forget the further you go back the more family lines you have! 

This template does the job perfectly for me and if you are building a family history in a similar way I highly, highly recommend this and in general looking at Prudence's Etsy store. Click here to visit her Etsy store.
Here are just some of the other templates and products she offers: 

Are you big on family history? Is Ancestry, Ancestry DNA or Fuzzy Ink Stationery something that would interest you? 

Leave a comment below, if you’ve done your own family history I’d love to know how far you’ve managed to go back!

As always, thanks for reading...

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