Week 1 of 52 Ancestors – Beginnings

Week 1 (1-10Jan21) prompt is ‘Beginnings’.

‘Beginnings’ seems quite apt as the first prompt for 2021.

I have never really have much trouble with ‘Beginnings’. It’s the continuation that is the problem!  

I started 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks in 2018 having just finished my Diploma of Family History.  I made it to Week 10 and then life got in the way until January 2020.  I enthusiastically started again and only made it to Week 4.  

I am hoping this year I will have more luck.  

I actually managed to complete a cross stitch of an American Bald Eagle that I started over 25 years ago for my husband.  I gave it to him on our 25th Wedding Anniversary just before Christmas (22 Dec 2020). I am hoping this is a good omen and that I will make it through most of the prompts this year!

As I have already posted quite a few stories of how I ‘began’ researching my family history, I really had to put my thinking cap on. Thanks to Amy’s Facebook post of the first prompt, I decided on ‘Who is at the beginning of one of your ancestral lines’?  Which funnily enough has led to the only other question she posed ‘Who are you beginning to research this year?

I immediately thought of Henry Witt (1679-1749) my 7th great-grandfather from my maternal great-grandmother’s paternal side. I remembered I had a photo of his grave which was quite rare to have found for my English relatives.  I jumped into my tree on Ancestry and then realised I had already used him previously for Week 9 in 2018 for ‘Where there’s a Will’.  

Amazingly a hint popped up for Henry’s parents (Henry Witt & Esther Sawyer) and there was another grave photo. 

Henry Witt’s Headstone in St Peter’s ad Vincula Church Yard, Broad Hinton

I had now found my 8th great-grandparents! The originator of the hints had even taken the photo herself and had also transcribed Henry’s will. So excited.

I immediately clicked on the link to have a look at her details on Henry and quickly realised that I might now be looking at ‘Who are you beginning to research this year’!  

Although we had the same birth and death for Henry (B1679 Broad Hinton, Wiltshire D20 Aug 1749 Hampshire), I have my Henry marrying Mary Goodbody on 29 Oct 1713 at St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Ringwood, Hampshire (some 51 miles/82 kms from Broad Hinton). She had her Henry marrying a Susanna (although there was no record to confirm this marriage in her details) with different children. So not the same line after Henry!

I have recently started a new tree on Ancestry to combine all my individual trees.  I had made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t stray too far off my direct line and I would only add people that I could confirm were related by sources.  I think I would have completed my family tree if I hadn’t fallen down the trap of following hints. LOL

With this in mind, I clicked on the relationship button in Ancestry to go back through my branches to make sure I had the information to back up my line to Henry.

I quickly realised that I could only go up to my 5th great-grandfather William Witt (1754-1839). Although I have ‘his’ parents, I have no baptism or marriage records to confirm this.

Which leads me back now to ‘Who are you beginning to research’.  

While scrolling through Ancestry I noticed that many people have used my research for their trees.  I really need to go back and work out where I got my information on who William’s parents were so I can make sure I have the correct information.

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I have been researching my family history since 2009. I am interested it the family names Shingles, McEwan, Snowdon & Witt around Gippsland and Wodonga areas of Victoria, Australia

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