My Family Tree

Duration: 2:42 minutes
Accession No: TWCMS : 2009.362
This story has been viewed 6515 times

Justine describes how she has researched her family tree over the last three years.

By Justine Gallagher

Other information

This story was inspired by a tiled map from the collections at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.

Sign up to the Culture Shock podcast

Find us on Facebook Follow us on twitter

You need Adobe Flash installed to watch this movie.
Get Adobe Flash

Video transcript

I’ve been researching my family tree now for about 3 years. I’ve always had an interest in it, but one day I clicked onto a family history website by mistake and became instantly hooked!

I do most of my research over the internet using websites like Ancestry and Genes Reunited. I have a computer programme that I record all of my information on but I also use masses and masses of paper and I’ve collected a large amount of birth, baptism and marriage certificates.

My family come for all over Great Britain and Ireland. I’ve traced ancestors back to London, York, Aberdeen, Belfast and Ireland. I’m really proud of some of the discoveries I’ve made. One of my great grandfathers was an engine driver, who lived in the city of York. I was so thrilled to find this out. Our family have always been interested in the railways and my son was obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine when he was a baby.

We have visited the National Railway museum many times and been on many steam train journeys. For me to have a great grandfather, who was an engine driver is something really special. Maybe he drove one of the engines in the museum in York. I travelled to York recently and visited some of the places where my ancestors were born, lived and died. Most of the houses have since been demolished, but some churches still exist where they were baptised and married. I’ve also visited the cemetery in York and found the graves of my engine drive great grandfather and the grave of his father who died in 1794. Another of my great grandfathers was born in the east end of London. He moved to the North East of England in the early 1900s to work at the new Reyrolle factory in Hebburn. I have found out a lot about his life and even managed to get hold of his work record cards from Reyrolles.

Through Genes Reunited I’ve been in touch with many distant relations including one lady, who still lives in York. We share the same great, great grandparents. I met her a couple of years ago in York and we shared photos and stories. I felt like I was on the TV programme ‘Who do you think you are?’ without the cameras!

I’ve also found some tragic stories during my research. One of my ancestors was a cold miner was killed down the pit, aged just 12 and so many of my ancestors had babies who died young from things like measles! Many of my relations were also killed in the First World War. My family are interested in the discoveries I make. My nana in particular has been very interested, she’s 90 years old, so she has a lot of stories to tell!

Researching my family tree has brought me so much pleasure over the last 3 years. I think I will continue to research for the rest of my life. Who knows what else there is out there to discover.

Add your comment


View all Education stories

View all themes