March 2012 - Howse That

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March 2012 - Howse That

Post by mardler »

Happy new month, everyone. Greetings from Interstate-80 in Central Pennsylvania as I sit in the co-pilot's seat while #2 driver takes over. We are 300 miles into a 2,000 mile drive this week, taking #3 driver to see three universities as decision day approaches! Not as good a spring break as the Caribbean but, hey, at least it's not snowing!

Smashed records
We've blown past several round numbers in the past month:
  • Congratulations to Jeffrey from Canada who is our 500th registrant. It took us nine months to go from zero to 100, but only four months to clock up the most recent 100. Welcome everyone. Really hope you get value from this site.
  • We zoomed past 400,000 facts and now have over 410,000! When we first started to count such things, we had an average of about five facts per person. Now, our average is over seven.
  • We now have over 250,000 source references. Given that we haven't added sources to what are obvious census references (mostly occupation and residence) or to the 'Sex' fact we are very pleased with this. To make our work even more transparent and easily verified, we will note sources for almost everything in future.
  • We also creamed through 9,000 marriages from our list of 24,000 UK weddings between 1837 and 1950. Not relevant to anyone with family outside the UK, we know, but it's a measure of our progress within the UK that we track to see how much of our initial target we've accomplished. In total we now have more than 15,000 marriages recorded.
  • We now have well over 1,200 images on the site. Generally, they are photographs of the person or their grave marker, or a life event certificate. However, we are very open to other ideas: did your ancestor live in a particular residence or own or make a particular artefact that defines them as a person? Send us a picture of it!
Got a newspaper article about your ancestor? Can you share a copy? We can copy the text to that person's record, as we have for others. Have you ever written anything about a particular ancestor? Howse about it?

Connecting more trees
The first thing I do when I receive a new Family History Society journal is to leaf through fore referemces to House/Howes/etc. Imagine my joy when I saw an article in The Norfolk Ancestor dedicated to one Howes family of North East Norfolk. I immediately wrote to the author, Judy,, in Australia, who then hadn't yet seen her own article! We've since swapped many emails and Judy has shared with us her entire tree of almost 800 descendents of on couple named Richard Howes and Ann Neave from Sea Palling. We already had over 200 of these, but in six or seven different tree-lets which she has now connected up for us. We also have a few individuals whom she did not have and were glad to give back something directly.

Sadly, we aren't aware of anyone else researching this tree. Are you? If so, please get in touch. Judy would like to hear from you.

Thomas Howes from Norwich, England
More and more information appears on the web every day. Some of it is accurate, some not. We don't go out of our way to tell people their information is wrong. Partly, it's because we are, I hope, humble enough to realize that we aren't always right and partly it's because people don't react well to being told that they are wrong! We do like to engage with people, however, and ask them how sure they are of a particular fact. During the month we helped four people fix errors in their family trees, including two who had had incorrect parents for different men named Thomas Howes of Norwich who married in the 1860s. It is a difficult topic: seven men named Thomas Howes married in Norwich in that decade!

We already had two of those certificates but recognizing that of the five others, four were not weddings in a church and thus easily found, we bought the missing five. All confirmed that we ourselves do have the right parents for all seven. So if you have a Thomas Howes of the right vintage, please do check their online record and see the marriage certificates.

Are you aware of any other potentially confusing situations like those 7 Thomases?

In closing
This has been quite a Norfolk dominated edition! Apologies for that. In some small balance, let me say that we've added records from across Southern England and North America during the month and now stand at 58,100 individuals in the database. Next month, I plan to find a few days to put the magazine article online and update the software that we use on the site.
All the best
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