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  • Writer's pictureWendy Percival

My #familyhistory autumn pledge!

Last week my copy of the Family History Record Book devised by professional genealogist, Sheridan Parsons, arrived and I spent the weekend filling it in. The book's designed to be a handy reference and summary of your family history research, not only helping you identify where you've reached but see where there are gaps in your journey e.g. unknown dates, certificates not yet purchased, information not yet gathered and so on.

The pages are arranged so that couples are on the same double-page-spread and include ancestors' ahnentafel numbers, so it's easy to track through the generations and not get confused! The arrival (and indeed the publication) of the booklet couldn't have come at a better time, as my autumn pledge this year is to organise my family history records to be more user friendly, so I know exactly where to find what I'm looking for.

I'd already begun a photograph storage album and also set up folders for different family names to keep paper copies of records I have. My plan is also to tidy up my digital files too, as over the years, they've been filed under a variety of different methods. There have been some helpful articles on this very subject in recent issues of Family Tree Magazine so I've no excuses to put this right!

As for those items which are neither digital or paper, those precious objects which have a special place in my memory, from my gran's "wot-not" (a piece of furniture akin to a large cake-stand, to the uninitiated) to a leather handbag belonging to my great-aunt, I plan to adopt a lovely idea I read about a while ago - to attach luggage labels, on which is written the object's story. Then, anyone looking at them in the future understands their significance.

My first candidate for the label treatment is a doll's dress that my great-aunt made for a favourite doll of mine called Rose.

It's exquisitely sewn, with a gathered bodice and lace across the front neck and around the straps. The inside sleeve edge is beautifully finished with narrow binding to stop it fraying. If I remember correctly, it was made as a Baby-doll nightie (popular in the 1960s) with matching knickers.

As was discussed on Twitter during a recent Tuesday evening session of #AncestryHour , the long dark nights of winter hold no fears for family historians - we always have lots of enjoyable tasks to keep us amused. This will be one of mine!



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