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REVIEW of Focus 11
Get into Genealogy
and be prepared for some surprises growing on the family tree

Most of us know something of our immediate origins, particularly when family members are still living. Beyond that, the mists of time obscure what came before and we tend to accept the gospel according to parents and grandparents as the convenient truth. That others are not satisfied with hearsay and are researching their family trees might produce an apathetic shrug. I admit, it does sound about as interesting as a party political broadcast; but, believe me, it can be a real eye-opener. Getting into genealogy is intriguing. Imagine that the olds had it wrong (or chose to hide the truth) about your Great-Great Grandfather who was not a travelling tinker as they claimed, but was actually a stand-and-deliver man - a highwayman! Or, on the less-glamorous side, a long-gone Uncle didn't die in the Crimean war, but lived to return home and raise a family - relatives you never knew you had. You could be the detective who uncovers this; and you can do a good portion of your sleuthing on the Internet.

There are genealogy websites providing a wealth of information helping to trace births and deaths, locations and even occupations of relatives at specific periods in time. Apart from data bases, the original, hand-written records from which they were compiled can be viewed. These are not only interesting in their own right, but can also be useful for verifying facts, or refuting them if they appear to have been transcribed wrongly. With just a few of these snippets, the family tree can begin to take shape, evolving from a mere sapling sporting a couple of twigs, to an imposing chestnut with branches spreading far and wide. You may be tempted to have a paddle and come to the conclusion that there are better things to do; or, like us, become so addicted that you can't leave it alone.

Either way, take a look at the article before you dismiss a pastime that might just be a ten-minute browse that could easily turn into a lifelong obsession.

To read the complete article or download the PDF of Focus 11 click here

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