I knew I wouldn’t keep this up while I was in Salt Lake but the next blogs will continue to offer highlights from my recent trip to the Family History Library…

Day 2 was spent mostly on B2, the British Research Floor, further exploring my military ancestors and their relations. Among others, I searched for information on Major Wade Rothwell whose sons, Thomas and Frederick, settled in Warwick, Ontario and married Harry Alison’s daughter, Frances, and her niece (and my 3rd great aunt), Mary Anne Massy.

Interestingly, I couldn’t find him anywhere in the records. And I spent a good chunk of the morning trying to search the internet for any additional information I could find beyond one appearance as a Lieutenant in A List of Officers of the Army and of the Corps of Royal Marines in Google Books. But, through a combination of general searching on the internet and in findmypast.com, I was able to uncover a bit more of his story including his brevet promotion to Major while serving as a Captain in the 6th Garrison Battalion on 4 June 1814. The article below is from 1809 when he first transferred to the Garrison.


Probably the most intriguing find was this one on Black Kalendar, a website dedicated to cataloguing cases of murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, etc. in Britain from 1254-2015. This was a fabulous fluke find while googling “Lieutenant Wade Rothwell.” It notes his fine and six month sentence for participating in a duel that left a fellow Lieutenant dead… One more scoundrel on the family tree. The reference is a minimal article from the Hampshire Chronicle available through The British Newspaper Archive but it confirms that Rothwell was in the 9th Regiment. (Search on “Obrie” or “Roth Well”—with a space. The indexing is wonky.)

My fail of the day was finding a the reference down to the bundle number in the British National Archives site of a pension for an Owen Byrne (possibly my 5th great grandfather), only to find that the relevant microfilm roll ended exactly before his entry AND is wasn’t on the next roll. A Specialist did his best to assist me but he was stymied as well. My options are to have someone look it up for me at Kew or order it direct from them. And, no, for some reason it’s not in findmypast.com either though theoretically it should be.

Happy hunting!


Last month I attended the Michigan Genealogical Council’s annual Abram’s Genealogy Seminar and Jan Alpert, in the intro for her presentation “How My Michigan Ancestors Have Made Me a Better Genealogist,” hit solidly on one of my largest problems in researching… Coming home and not effectively working through the information I find. So many of us are always on the go and only able to catch time for the trip itself and we forget about the important follow-up–cleaning up those notes, making photocopies understandable when you come back to them, and generally pulling the new information into your research.

So, as I mentioned before, I had been effectively away from my research for almost two full years and the interruption came after a really frenzied period of trying to collect data from my local Family History Center, the Library of Michigan and Allen County Public Library. Evidently in my rushing around and as life took a turn away from genealogy the most I had done was folder the found materials. 

Imagine my surprise two years later when I start going through folders and realize… foolishly… that I had a military service record for my 4th great grandfather Lieutenant Hugh Massy who served in the 90th Light Infantry and 33rd Regiments of the British Army (from Record of officers services, 1770-1919).  It included date and place of birth, marriage information, and birth information for 5 of their children. Not one bit of it had made it into my database. I remember being thrilled at finding the record but I’m not sure if even then I had time to really look at all the fabulous detail in it. So on the one hand it was like Christmas in July but on the other hand I was mortified. Hence my post to twitter. 

So, two important things are changing in my research:

  1. I’m doing a massive clean-up to see what I have and hopefully I will avoid totally repeating steps
  2. I am scheduling time to sort out my finds as soon as I get home–while I still know what I have and why it’s relevant.

Both very basic, but both easy to forget in any projects you have to work on part-time.

Learn from my mistakes,



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