I'm sure we all agree that the internet is a wonderful resource for researching your family history. However there is also an abundance of incorrect information, or rather incorrect assumptions, out there too. When I decided to put my own family tree online I decided I wanted to attempt to ensure that any assumptions I have made where evidence is sparce were explained, to allow fellow researchers to make their own judgement call on them. However if I was going to do this, I couldn't simply upload my entire database, warts and all, to one of the many commercial sites which host people's data (which I've done before); neither could I use my genealogy software's built in web-site creation tools to generate a site. Therefore I decided to write it from scratch myself, writing a short biography of each person included.
So having discarded options taking either 5 or 15 minutes, I chose one that will take years (and produce the least flashy looking website!). However I don't regret that for a minute. The process of revisiting an individual in my ancestry, and double checking my sources (primary where possible) for each detail as I do that, is a very useful excercise in itself. I am only a little way into this project, and have already found out more details; solidified or demolished more assumptions; broken down, or at least make a few cracks in, more old brick walls; and generally discovered a lot more about lines that I had long ago stopped working on. Yes it is a very time consuming challenge, but immensly satisfying, and ultimately priceless in refining, correcting and confirming the details of my ancestry. I'm sure that there are still incorrect assumptions in the information I present, and would of course be grateful to be told of any errors you spot, or of anything else you can tell me about the people concerned. (I would also be grateful to be told of any broken or incorrect links, or anything else wrong with the website itself)
One of the problems with this approach is that I can't possibly go through this process for the thousands of people in my database, and indeed don't really have any interest in double checking the details of some 4th cousin 8 times removed's brother-in-law! Therefore I am only including pages about direct ancestors. These short biographies do contain brief mentions of siblings and children, but not in such great detail, and not referenced as laboriously as the main subjects. I may well know more about these other people, and would be glad to discuss them via email, if you have a particular interest in one.
Each page in this website is dedicated to one individual ancestor. As such some pages, especially those detailing people who lived mainly during the second half of the 19th century or from the wealthier medieval lines, will contain a fair amount of information, while others, especially where the subject is at the beginning of my current knowledge about a line, are very sparce indeed. You can navigate directly from each page to the page for either of their parents (if known), or for whichever of their children was my ancestor.
I grew up in the Peak District in Derbyshire, England, and the vast majority of the ancestors I've traced so far hail from within a few miles of my childhood home, hence I tend to assume a knowledge of the geography of this area in my descriptions. Apologies if you don't know the area, and hence come across a page where you don't quite understand a point I'm making. However there are a few people from further afield in there too. A number of lines on my father's side stray over the border into the Staffordshire Moorlands, and my mother's side, (being far more cosmopolitan !), has lines originating in Cambridgeshire and Hampshire in more recent centuries, and then throughout England, and beyond, in the lines that progress way back into the medieval.
In the interests of protecting the confidentiality of living people no details of mine or my parents' generations are given. The most recently living people included are my four grandparents, and they are only listed with the barest detail. The biographies commence from my great grandparents generation.
As only detailing direct ancestors lends itself to the style so well, individuals are listed in an Ahnentafel list format. I may well add an alphabetical listing at a later date. (Along with many other ideas I may do something about if I ever find time)
As with all online family trees, the intention behind this is to make contact with anyone else who has an interest in the people included. Of course, by definition, practically everyone who shares such an interest will be a distant relation, so come on cousin, drop me an email, and lets see if we can help each other with our research.
Finally, please bear in mind that this is very much a work in progress. Only a tiny fraction of the direct ancestors I know about are presently included. Many many pages have still to be written and/or completed, and those that already have been are subject to change if and when any new information comes to light. Indeed you will see that on many pages I have added notes to myself about possible future avenues of research. I am generally adding people in family lines (eg all the Allens, or all the Flints), starting with the most recent member of that line and working backwards, so in many cases the earliest entry in a family is shown in the ahnentafel list as "in progress", as I am waiting until I have checked a source to confirm something in this generation before continuing. Similarly, there are also a number of entries marked "just a stub entry so far", where the page has been added, but no detail at all is yet included. I am generally trying to add the more recent lines first, but am not following any set pattern, so am occassionally adding lines from the more distant past too.
NEW: I have recently added a new section (Index to probate abstracts), which is still very much in its early stages of development. I have details that I have extracted from hundreds of probate records over the years, and having decided that I needed to compile a "variant spelling neutral" index to this data for my own use, I am making this available here too. Please be aware that I am compiling this index as a background task, so it is likely to grow even more slowly than the rest of the website, but I hope that it will eventually become a potentially useful resource to anyone with interests around the Peak District area.
NEWER STILL! I've just uploaded a zipfile of some less than perfect photos of the 1569 & 1611 visitations of Derbyshire, as published in a Victoriam periodical. - (HERE)
I'm not making any promises, but I might try to upload a few more items that will be of use to anyone with an interest in familes around the Peak District.
NEW 24/11/2011 As (not!) promised, I'm going to start slowly adding details of various other documents which contain information about individuals living in and around the Peak District. These may be deeds or grants etc which name one or two individuals, or lists of many residents/tenants. Some may show familial relationships, others will just prove residence and/or occupation. They are an eclectic mix - the only link between them is that I have either used them in my research, or have noticed them while doing my research, thought they may prove be of use in the future, and so taken notes while I had access to them. I will be indexing these alongside the probate records I'm already adding/indexing here, and like the probate details, some will be brief extracts, whilst others will be complete transcriptions.7/7/2012 I've just finished adding a few more wills. They've been "in progress" for months as I've just not had the time since I changed jobs a few months ago. I suspect further updates will be thin on the ground for the at least the next 6 months. Please still feel free to contact me if our research overlaps, but I'm afraid I may not have the time to go into detail about things. Mark