Wednesday, 2 April 2014

The 5Ws - Who or Whom?

For my initial contributions to this blog I decided that Who, What, When, Where and Why would guide me in my posts. Last month I couldn't work out how to attack Why so I moved on the Where and detailed the hometowns and countries of my earliest ancestors.

I am leaving What in the parking lot for the moment because I want to talk more about Who or should that be Whom? In my first Who post I spoke about myself and in my second Who post I spoke about my grandparents and shared some basic info on my direct lines.

As we are individuals we all approach our research in different ways and with different motives. So Who or Whom am I researching may differ from whom you research.

Richard Aspinall and family - direct ancestors
I am mainly interested in my direct ancestors and I want to find out as much as I can about these people, the places they lived and their stories. As I like to put them in context within their families I gather information on their siblings. I love finding cousin connections so I want to identify  people who share my ancestors  and discover where life has taken them.  I will add basic details of  the spouses of blood relations but I don't take this research much further unless I find someone interesting and out of the ordinary like Helen Bartholomew.

I am keen to discover and document the stories of those great aunts and uncles and closer cousins who had no offspring of their own and hope to write up some profiles in my Geniaus blog. People like my 2x Great Uncle, Michael Harrington Ryan, an Australian pioneer priest deserve to have their stories told.

I want to leave a legacy of a family history for my children so I put the same effort into researching Mr GeniAus' side of the family as I do into my own. Researching my children's ancestry has not taken me beyond Australia, The United Kingdom and Ireland.

Now that I have married off the children and they have produced another generation I feel the need to research all of their lines for the grandchildren. I have not put as much effort into this research as into my own but I have tried to put together some sort of pedigree for the youngest generation.  This has been a great challenge for me as Greece, Malta and The Netherlands have been added to my places to research. If I live to be 90 I might get around to writing about these people, their places and stories.

To date I have 8983 Individual Records and 2918 Family Records in my database. 4,678 (52.08%) are male, 4,257 (47.39%0 are female and I'm not sure about the rest.

There is a long list of surnames from Abbott to Zsmidzsar in my database with many names in between.

Top 30 surnames (total individuals):
Curry (236)
Sly (159)
Magick (155)
Pusell (127)
Sibbald (118)
Elms (102)
Hogden (91)
Gowans (89)
Kealy (89)
Madgwick (84)
Smith (79)
Beetson (77)
Nelson (77)
Brydon (71)
Price (61)
Reakes (54)
Woodhead (49)
Clarke (48)
Tooze (48)
Cameron (47)
Spruce (47)
Cavanagh (45)
Ball (42)
Gardiner (42)
Molloy (39)
Johnson (38)
Stuart (38)
Ryan (37)
Gillespie (36)
Lockett (36)

Who or Whom are you researching?


  1. Excellent post Jill - great answer to the question "why do we do this?" I have another question - how did you work that magic with the surnames? It looks great in the post and had me checking to see if we had any surnames in common. Your children and grandchildren are lucky to have you doing this very important "foundation" work (how I wish my grandmother had left a genealogy database or at least put the names of people on the back of her photographs).

  2. So clever! I too would love to know how you did this. I think the idea of sharing surnames we are researching is great. It would be good if we could all do this. And very interesting if there are any connections.

  3. Hi Jill - I research both sides of my family too with equal enthusiasm and in fact it was trying to understand some of the genealogy puzzles on my husband's side that got me started - my side of the family was well researched though I have since found plenty to fill in. I have 6,000 on my tree as I am a great fan of collecting information about siblings and that can lead one a long way sideways! To help bring my focus back I keep a spreadsheet of an ahnentafel listing, that is a listing of direct forebears, and collate particular bits of information about my direct forebears. For example I used that listing when looking at Pauline Cass's Australia day immigration challenge to help keep my focus.

  4. TNG,, is my answer. The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding is a fab tool for publishing one's tree on the web. One can upload a gedcom from any family history program and hey presto one has a beaut site. Well to be honest it takes a little bit more work than that but if I can manage it anyone can. My site is


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World Wide Genealogy Team