The History of your Family or your Family in History?

By Mike Pearson

This series of pages has appeared in The Blackcountryman magazine as a taster to starting to investigate your family history. The hobby of genealogy (or the business of researching your family history) is one of the most popular subjects on the Internet. The number of web pages devoted to the subject are second only to one other subject - and it is not shopping.

The research is relatively easy to begin with, and there is satisfaction in the amount of data you can accumulate for a relatively small amount of research. However, like running a marathon, you will hit a wall - this may be a line of your family that suddenly appears to end, or an elusive relative who refuses to be found, yet you know they are out there.

There are dangers as well, it is sometimes far too easy to take data for granted. You may find a name who you believe to be the next link back in your tree, and invest time in researching that name and his/her ancestors only to find the person was in no way related to you. Assume nothing and always look for supporting evidence. Investigating your family is very similar to investigating a crime. The quality of evidence needs to be high, these issues will be addressed in these pages.

I hope that this page encourages some of you to ebgin (or re-visit) your family history. I will be glad to publish the fruit of your labours, as long as there are Black Country links in your family. There are many sites devoted to publishing family histories, some of these charge for their services, I do not believe in doing this, therefore, I need to be selective in what is published, although, do get in touch however large or small your family tree.

Introduction and interviews The first section deals with one of the most important tools you have available - living relatives. It is never too soon to start speaking to your family, this article will give you some hints and tips on how to get the most out of them.
Brick Walls From time to time all researchers come across a seemingly impossible wall they cannot overcome without assistance. Here is the one dedicated to Black Country research. The more unusual the name the more likely the success rate, but I will add any queries you may have.