I am taking part in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge for 2021! The challenge is organised by Amy Johnson Crow who provides a weekly writing prompt.
This week’s prompt, “Beginnings” is of course a good place to start. I am planning that 2021 is the year I begin again with my family history research. Not to start again, but to revisit what I have done so far, tidy it up and ensure that I still believe in the the connections I have made.
I received my DNA test results from Ancestry just before Christmas and so far they appear to support the research I have done. Quite a relief!
My plan is to start with my paternal grandfather and one person at a time to check over my source citations ensuring that each one is correctly labelled, with an image where possible and that I have extracted as much information as possible from each one. I know for example that in the early days of my research I relied a lot on transcripts rather than viewing census documents. It was just too expensive. I didn’t think to look who the witnesses were on a marriage record and other mistakes.
The next job for each ancestor will be to check that I have them on all the standard, expected documents. Depending on when they were born I would want to have a birth and death certificate, each census from 1841 to 1911 plus the 1939 register for each person. I would expect to have found a marriage records where relevant. I will look for a baptism and burial record for each person, as well as a tombstone if possible.
I read about a suggestion of creating a Google map list showing the location of significant events in each person’s life. This seems a good way of following how my family moved around.
I plan to go through the images I have for each person checking that they are correctly labelled.
The next step will be to check my Ancestry tree for each person to ensure that the information and sources I have correlate. I know there have been times in the past that I accepted hints on Ancestry without adding the information to my main database.
For each person I plan a quick search of the main genealogy websites to see if there is anything else thrown up that I haven’t already learned. I’ll also check to see if they appeared in any newspapers. Then finally I will make notes of things to follow up, can I learn more about their occupation for example.
This feels like a really important step in getting my files in order, and I aim to have an accurate, well sourced family tree on my website and Ancestry. I will then be able to upload this to other websites, with my DNA information in order to make further connections and hopefully collaborate with cousins on getting further back in my research.
I have begun the process with my paternal grandfather. Robert Humphrey Hopkinson, and will follow his line back.
Bob Hopkinson was born in the Derby registration district at the end of June 1923. He was the eldest child of Thomas Humphrey Hopkinson and his wife Adelaide May nee Stewardson. His father ran a grocery and confectionary shop. Four years later his younger sister Adelaide Myrtle Hopkinson was born but when she was just 10 years old their mother died of throat cancer.
Bob was then brought up by his father, at the outbreak of world war two they lived at The Common, in Crich. Bob was working as a farm labourer, but once he turned 18 he joined the RAF. We believe the majority of his service was in Britain, though he did travel overseas shortly after VE Day.
After the war my Grandfather worked for Richard Johnson & Nephew Ltd, a wire producing company with a factory at Ambergate. I believe he was a die grinder. In 1947 he married my Grandmother, Norah May Bowler and the following year my father was born. They lived in Foundary Lane, Belper by this time.
In 1950 his arm became stuck in machinery, fortunately another employee turned it off quickly, but bone had to be grafted from his leg to repair his arm.
My grandparents had three more children. He died at home in 1986.
I know that there is information about his wartime service which I need to follow up. I would also like to learn more about his work at Richard Johnson & Nephew Ltd, and especially the accident that badly damaged his arm. I would love to learn more about his early life and schooling.