So Far Away

#52 Ancestors 52 Weeks – Week 5

How many of us have completed hours of research on a family line, following what we believe is a solid trail that would meet the standards of proof, to suddenly stop and think is this the right William NOSWORTHY? To then discover five William NOSWORTHY’s born all around the same time in Devon on the edge of Dartmoor. The time of the baptism and the records all seem so far away from our living room in Adelaide.

For many once we follow the family from Australia back to their home country the tyranny of distance becomes an issue. Not all records are on line. While access to records via the internet continues to improve, we can not always assume that these are the only records that may be available. For all family historians this means that we need to tread with caution when looking at records and making assumptions about them. Hence the need to apply the Genealogical Proof Standard [1]. We also need to document why we think we have made the right choice and be prepared to make adjustments if further information becomes available.

London Metropolitan Archives [2]

Being so far from local records office means not having access to the original documents or to additional documents such as the Parish Chest that may provide the additional information we are looking for. As we move further and further back through the years the distance becomes greater both through time and physicality.

As a family historian we have a number of strategies that we use to overcome being so far away. These include memberships of different online data bases, membership of family history societies both in Australia and overseas, buying books all to do with family history in the hope we will find that elusive piece of information all while planning our next holiday and the archives we will visit.

Family Historians and Genealogist have developed lots of different ways to overcome the physical distance and the time distance. What hint do you have for someone.

[1] for further information access Genealogical Proof Standard at:

[2] London Metropolitan Archives – photo taken by the author

3 thoughts on “So Far Away

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  1. Sometimes archivists are helpful at no charge. But even paying a researcher can be less expensive than travel costs. However, searching on my own leads to unexpected finds that a disinterested researcher would never find.

    Liked by 1 person

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