Identifying ancestors is one of the most popular of all hobbies. If you are new to Genealogy, BE WARNED that it can become addictive. I am trying to make my FAMILIES DATABASE cover as many families as possible to provide people with as broad a target of families as possible. Even though it does not cover recent generations, it is one of the largest databases on British & Irish families available on the Internet, and it is still growing. Once you have identified a connection with the database, it may take you back a few generations or many. However far back you go, don’t forget to stop every now & then and remember that (leaving aside some of those shown in our Ancient & Mythical section!) every name represents a real person who lived & breathed just like you and me. Many lives are reported in the database. It would take many lifetimes to find out much about just a small selection of them. Genealogy can be a fascinating hobby. IT IS A HOBBY OF MANY LIFETIMES.
I provide below quite a bit of information about our approach to Genealogy. If you want more information on that, please see Genealogy FAQ. If you seek information specifically about our Families Database, see Families Database FAQ & About the database. If you want to see what else this side of the site has to offer, see EXTRA CONTENT.
I do hope you find this site to be both interesting and useful.
I researched the history of my own family back in the 1990s. Even then there were many web sites around that provided genealogical data but I found many of them rather frustrating, not least because so many contained obvious errors & contradictions and I had to spend time trying to sort them out. I realised that, if I was having that problem, so were other people. I knew that various experts had already solved some of the problems I had found but I could not find a site which pulled together their findings. Back then I would have loved to find a site like this, where data is set out in a clear way and where problems can be highlighted and sorted out. It would have saved me much time & effort and, indeed, money – for I would have not had to travel to different libraries and buy books & CDs. In April 2002 I started uploading the genie data I had found in the hope that my approach would interest others. I was very pleased to see that it did. Of course it did not help everyone but enough people showed support for what I was doing that I decided to develop this site ‘properly’. By 2007 it had become a near-fulltime occupation so I had to turn the site into a commercial operation. I am now in my late-60s and find that working on this site provides me with the kind of interest & challenge that not only suits me well at the moment but also should keep doing so for many years to come (and which should easily be ‘pick-up-able’ by someone else later on). I have gained much experience over the years on Genealogical Research and am pleased to be able to share my findings with others.
I know that I am open to criticism for containing some pages which are fraught with problems – but, to my knowledge, they are ALL either in the Ancient & Mythical or Continental sections of the database or are one of the Draft & temporary pages. I do warn that I treat the (first mentioned) sections as “NOT to be taken too seriously”, certainly not as seriously as I treat the British & Irish section that makes up over 95% my database. Also, those pages which are labelled Draft or Temporary are clearly marked as being incomplete and open to review & comment. I try to ensure that any questionable data included in the main British & Irish section is shown in italics or is otherwise highlighted as being questionable. Do let me know if you think otherwise. Do I go on too much about wanting my database to be viewed as reliable? Perhaps – but, as mentioned below, providing reliable data really is a major purpose of this site and I would rather be judged on pages that I have tried to make reliable than on pages that I do not take seriously or which have not yet been released properly into the database.
I have pulled together some Extra Content which I hope will be interesting & useful. Over time this could become a significant part of the site. It already includes some Hints & Suggestions which I hope will be useful with your genie research (one explains why there can be problems with Dates in databases, something every genie researcher should be aware of).
WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT MY DATABASE?
There are thousands of genealogical databases on the Internet yet mine has been called “unique”. I am wary of making that claim myself but it is true that the database is different from most others in the following ways:
I show many generations of a family on the same page with all siblings & marriages shown. Most other genie sites show either one generation at a time or a single line of descent at a time without siblings or multiple marriages. I find my form of presentation to be easy to follow but, to produce it, I have to retype/redo each page each time there is a significant change to the line of descent. Most databases in other sites are controlled & generated by computer and so, because that is the way that popular family tree programs were designed, provide one individual and his/her immediate family connections at a time. Each way offers advantages and disadvantages.
The sources used for the data are identified on each page. I try to ensure that, if you accessed the same sources, you could recreate each page yourself substantially as I have produced it.
Most (but not all) of the sources are well known to experienced genealogists. They include The Complete Peerage, The Visitations, various of Burke’s publications, etc., etc.. By linking their data all together, I should be able to save many researchers much time & effort (& money). However, even the most respected sources contain errors (see here for some well-known examples). If you find what you know is an error, please tell me about it so that I can correct it. I am trying to identify & correct as many errors as possible and, not least because I cannot do this all by myself, I welcome constructive input & suggestions from site visitors. Thanks to many of you (including several well-respected genealogists), I have already corrected many many errors, some of which had been around for centuries.
I make great effort to ensure that the data is as reliable as possible yet even so I do not pretend that it is wholly reliable. I know that the world of genealogy (particularly on the Internet) is dogged by false data, some of which has been perpetuated for centuries but much of which has been created in recent years as too many people have been too quick to presume too much with too little justification. I try to highlight suspect data and to clear up erroneous claims & contradictions. I welcome constructive input & suggestions and am pleased to make corrections where such appears to be justified. With a policy of steady improvement as well as steady expansion, I hope that our database will obtain & maintain a reputation for being as reliable as is realistically possible. This does not stop me from including some ancient & mythical data for fun but I try to distinguish that from the serious part of our database.
Many thousands of hours of work have been spent on expanding & improving the Families Database. I am happy to share it with others but, to keep working on it, I do need to raise income from it. The way I am doing that is not unique but it is relatively rare. I allow people to look at every page of the database but, for the pages which contain the genie data, viewing of the page is interrupted after a few seconds unless the viewer has logged-in as a Stirnet Member. The time should be enough to allow you to ‘get a feel’ as to whether or not the page is likely to interest you. It should also be enough to allow you to click on one of the links to another page and so move around the database, seeing how the families interconnect. Viewing of the database’s support pages, including the alphabetical subindices which list the families covered, is not interrupted so you may look at them at your leisure. For more information on this, see Membership.
I aim to do more than just help a few families with their genealogical research. My main objectives for the Families Database are:
– that, over time, it becomes as reliable as can in practice be achieved;
– that genealogists accept it as a worthy vehicle for the sharing of their research with others;
– to help as many people as I can (of those who have any British or Irish blood in them) to identify more of their ancestors;
– to show that we are all connected in one way or another (even if you have to go back a long way to find the connection) and that even those who think of themselves as being of humble roots have some ancestors who were famous and/or played a part in making the world what it is today; and
– for it to become something that steadily expands & improves, becoming truly worthy of being widely viewed as (what quite a number of people have told me they think already is) “the best genie database on the Internet”.
All of the information in the database is provided in good faith but on the basis of ‘Errors & Omissions Excepted’. I have aspirations for the database but make no claims for it other than in respect of my good faith in pulling together data provided by others. For most of the data, reliance has been placed on the integrity of the sources used, some of which are known to contain errors, and no attempt has been made to provide independent ‘proof’. However, I am making genuine effort to make this database the best of its type and am trying to correct the inconsistencies & other errors found in our sources. I welcome corrections & constructive advice and am pleased that a number of serious genealogists are using this site to help identify & correct some of the many genealogical errors that are being propagated elsewhere. If you find errors that I appear not to have discovered, please let me know.
It is perhaps understandable that so many people like to pull together their own databases of ancestors – but it takes a huge effort to keep it up-to-date for latest research and, for those ancestors you share with many other people, could simply be a waste of time. Why not concentrate on those of your ancestors who are special to you and connect to my database for the earlier generations that are covered by the database? For more information on this, see The Stirnet Portal.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
It is, of course, normally easier to track down famous (and infamous) ancestors than to identify those who made little mark on their world. However, it should never be forgotten that, had ANY ONE of them not had the particular child who was your ancestor or ancestress, you would not be here today – so, whilst it may well be sensible to focus first on ancestral lines that are known to be reasonably well documented and hence easiest to find out about, don’t forget to spend time also on your less well-known ancestors.
Genetically and hence genealogically-speaking (and assuming that your parents were not cousins of each other), you are as much descended from your mother’s mother’s mother as you are from your father’s father’s father. If you find it difficult to trace back your male-line descent, try looking into one or more of your female lines of descent. You have only one wholly-male line of descent. You have many other lines of descent. It would be surprising indeed if none of them connected with a family that has already been well documented.
It is virtually certain that, if you have ANY European blood in you at all, you are descended from many of those who played a major part in the early evolution of Europe. Unless NONE of your ancestors over the last (say) 300 years were European, it is almost impossible that you are NOT descended from Emperor Charlemagne who pulled much of Europe together about 1,200 years ago. He had so many grandchildren who had grandchildren who had grandchildren that his genes permeate the modern world. Furthermore, if you have ANY recent British blood in you at all then it is quite likely that you are descended from both King Edward I of England (1239-1307) and Robert ‘the Bruce’ of Scotland (1274-1329). This is even if you think of yourself as wholly English, Scots, Irish or Welsh. Genealogy has a knack of dispelling myths and bringing people together by making it clear that, even if the relationship is distant, we are all related to each other.