19 April 2014

Genealogy for Absolute Beginners

If you are just starting out on your historical quest, I hope you will discover how easy it can be, once you know how. If you have any questions, perhaps this blog can help. 

Genealogy is all about people and their lives - past, present and future.  I don't usually have much trouble making contact with people who might know more than I do about my ancestors, particularly those lovely individuals who do not expect to receive payment for the privilege of being contacted by me!

It has also been quite easy for me to find records in archives when communicating in English with archivists and enthusiasts. Fortunately, much of my ancestry is mainly English and the English language happens to be the only one I know with any sort of proficiency (though I am a very poor speller).
Many online records are usually very easy for me to locate, too.  I have not even had much difficulty when making contact with people in other languages by email, thanks to Google Translate.
If you are just beginning to discover your ancestors, what are the difficulties you have been facing?

09 April 2014

The Joy of Genealogy

I live in a household with ancestral links to many countries. If you have been searching for your ancestors and their various descendants in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Belgium, Italy, the United States, Canada, Australia or somewhere in South America, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, then your investigative experiences may have been like mine. They may quite easily be very different, too!

Why do you enjoy exploring your family history?

25 January 2014

A Peaceful Future

Discovering the history around us can often help to shape a peaceful future.  Short memories and an inadequate understanding of the past can cause many problems when policy responses fail to promote respectful interactions.  Every person we meet has a history and is a history.

You may know about my explorations of the experiences of people of Italian ancestry in Australia before and during the Second World War, and especially during the First World War.  Several academic researchers, and quite a few amateur family historians have also been researching similar topics, from a range of perspectives.

When ethnicity counts

When we know that some of our ancestors have been affected by war, it can affect our view of the world, and help us to have empathy for anyone finding themselves in a war situation in the present.

I have been watching some footage of Italian troops in the First World War, one of whom may even be my husband's grandfather.

07 December 2013

Knowledge of History


Please share your knowledge of history.   

I invite your insights, findings, questions and suggestions.

You are welcome to make a few comments after any of my blog posts, even if anonymously. All comments are moderated before publication.
You can also send me an email quite easily - writetovia (AT) gmail.com. Your privacy is always respected here, too.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you! 
Best wishes from Via 

25 July 2013

Successfully Researching the Lives of Ancestors

Welcome to Ancestors Within at bisnonni.blogspot.com if you have not been here before.  And welcome back to everyone who likes visiting here regularly.

This record of my genealogical research has been unavailable to the public in recent months.  For security reasons, I set it behind a password while I took another of my investigative journeys.  Keeping our identities safe is particularly important when we are away from home.

Discovering more about the lives of ancestors can sometimes be helped along by visiting the places they once inhabited.  Although many current features of those locations may not be familiar to them, if they had the opportunity to be there today, our own time there needs to be used wisely, unless we have endless amounts of time and money.  

For most of us, doing plenty of research and some basic planning before we set off is therefore essential, though it always takes time.  I am particularly interested in uncovering interesting biographical details, rather than seemingly endless charts of ancestral connections.  At all times, it is especially important to remember the purpose of our journey if we are to avoid wasting time and/or money.  Are you well prepared for the journey ahead?

One of the most interesting aspects of any biography, at least to me, is how the person in question overcame difficulties.  Learning about such achievements can even help us to overcome the challenges we face ourselves, especially when we meet unexpected obstacles during our journeys, and during our prior and future research.

When we know that at least one of our ancestors managed to triumph over some sort of adversity, then that knowledge is worth treasuring.  Life itself can be a continual journey of discovery, if we allow it to be so.  Biographies are essentially about the existence of someone we would like to know better, wherever and however we may find that information.

Our ancestry is the prologue to our own journey, and what we write may become the epilogue.  If you are just starting out with your own family history research, I have already written an introduction to the topic.  If you have read it, have you found it useful?  What is the purpose of your own research?

The above introduction mentions some items I had not discovered at the time.  Fortunately, in the past year, a long-lost photograph of my husband's maternal grandfather has resurfaced.  It was found within the pages of an old book at my mother-in-law's house.   My journey was to take her, for the first time, to where her parents were born, and to meet her father's relatives for the first time.

04 December 2012

Lucky or Fateful Encounters - Part Four

Do you think of yourself as some sort of pioneer, an adventurer or just an ordinary family history researcher?  What have been the main hassles and challenges you have experienced, whether in your investigations and in life in general?  How have your hassles and challenges compared with those of others, including your ancestors?

Life can sometimes lead us towards a feeling of disenchantment and disillusionment.  We can, however, re-enchant life, too.  I prefer my own life to be enchanting but not illusionary.

You may know that I like to ask quite a lot of questions of Ancestors Within readers.  Asking questions can stimulate curiosity and new lines of inquiry.  Questions can also open up a whole new world of possibilities, whether about the past, present or future.

How was the cultural life of your ancestors different from your own past experiences and preferences?  Have you ever thought about the fact that the words answer and ancestor start with the same two letters?

Exploring different ways of life - and different ways of thinking - can provide us with new insights into the world around us, and towards the choices we can make.  Has your family history research ever lead you to explore the interconnections between corruption, bribery, tipping, begging and poverty?  Did any of your ancestors overcome injustice through the use of peace and courtesy?

28 November 2012

Families in Fact and Fiction

When exploring family history, it is interesting to find imaginative patterns.  Although I am not particularly familiar with the writings of JRR Tolkein, my maternal ancestors lived in the region he knew best.  Perhaps my relatives provided some of the inspiration for Hobbits!

My husband's maternal ancestors came from a region inspiring many legends.  Sometimes I wonder if the English Midlands, the Veneto and Australia have much at all in common.  But then I remember my visits to the Wrekin, the Montello and Uluru.

02 November 2012

Town Ancestors and Country Ancestors

The further back we go with our family history research, the more we find that we have both town ancestors and country ancestors.  Aesop's fable about a town mouse and the country mouse may have some parallels in your family history.

Did your rural ancestors behave in different ways than your urban ancestors?  Did they have different values and beliefs?  Were there differences of opinion when they met each other?

You may like to explore these two contrasting links:

Sometimes, the people who grow up in cities appreciate nature more than their country cousins do, and vice versa.  I have often preferred the slower pace of country life and the fresher air, but I have also needed the cultural stimulation of city experiences and foreign travel from time to time.

before 1900 

Provincial towns and sprawling suburbs usually do not hold much appeal for me as I often find them dull.  Such places are very much the same in many ways, in my experience, all over the world, though being somewhere dull can also provide the impetus for some fascinating online research!

01 November 2012

Searching for Useful Opinions

Sometimes it is difficult to find useful opinions, no matter how much exploring we do, whether online or in life.  How do you know when you have found a useful opinion?

Being able to distinguish between facts and opinions is a good starting point, in my opinion.  For example, I usually like the comments on my blogs to be essentially factual rather than just a matter of opinion.

Mow Cop - An example of fact and opinion

How do you distinguish between fact and opinion when writing about family history, planning a holiday, developing a business, working out what to eat, or making any other important decision? 

29 October 2012

Peaceful Enterprises and Lovely Surprises - Part Three

After briefly introducing you to these genealogically applicable topics in parts one and two of this series, I would now like to mention publishing.  Blogs are, of course, a form of publishing, as are websites and anything placed on an Internet server or social networking site.

Soon, this Ancestors Within blog will be inaccessible to the general public.  What will this mean for you as a reader?  If you are one of my relatives, however distant, you can just send me an email to request future access.  Proof of relationship will be required, of course.  How will you provide that proof?

If you are not related to me, how will your access to this blog be of benefit to me and my family in the future?  Investing my time here, and in history, over the past few years has provided many intrinsically valuable rewards for my closest relatives and myself.  Now I am investing my time in the future even more than the past.

One of my other blogs is already less available to read than it once was.  Perhaps that is something you find surprising though not necessarily lovely!  You may not even like the new colour schemes I have chosen for my blogs.  Does pink or brown appeal to you more?

Publishing for profit is a topic I find very interesting, and I intend to pursue it more seriously than I have in the past.  Although I hope my blogs have already met your expectations, I would like my future writings to go beyond your expectations and provide some lovely surprises.