Old Dog, New Tricks: Exploring My English Ancestors on Find My Past

England County Map courtesy of Pictures of England.com: http://www.picturesofengland.com/mapofengland/counties-map.html

England County Map courtesy of Pictures of England.com: http://www.picturesofengland.com/mapofengland/counties-map.html

One of my goals this year was to find the roots of my English ancestors who immigrated to America in the late 1860’s and early 1870’s. I subscribed to Find My Past a few months ago and it is finally time to take advantage of their resources and see what I can learn about the Cork and Dibben family origins.

After playing around with Find My Past for an hour, I was a bit frustrated by the design and differences from Ancestry.com.  Navigation was awkward and resources seemingly more difficult to find. Then I reminded myself that Ancesty.com is an old friend and I know most of the shortcuts to get the information I am looking for. Find My Past is a new friend that I just don’t know very well yet; I will need to be patient about getting to know its unique traits.

Here are the results of my first “coffee date” with Find My Past.  We aren’t best friends yet, but we will be spending a lot of time together in the next few months….and in no time we will be sharing laughs and memories of the good times!

  1. I first started by adding a basic tree. I put in the information I knew about Jane Dame (who immigrated to Wisconsin with her husband William Cork) and her parents John Dame and Fanny Skelton.


2. I reviewed “Hints” and found a possible marriage record for Fanny Skelton & John Dame.


3. The marriage record gave me information about:

  • the date and location of their marriage
  • possible family members who were witnesses
  • that John did not know how to read or write and signed with his mark


4. John’s Profile gave me a link to search for his daughter Jane’s birth record:


5. The baptism gave me additional locations to research, as well as Fanny’s proper name of Frances.


6. I found the family in the 1851 Census Record in Maltby Le Marsh, Louth, Lincolnshire, England. The census gives me new information:

  • The names of Jane’s brothers and sisters
  • Jane Skelton is a visitor on the night of the census – is she the same person who was a witness at Fanny and John’s wedding?  She is 30 years old, so most likely Fanny’s sister or cousin?
  • The location of John and Fanny’s birth – Laughterton and Lincoln
  • Why are the children born in different locations? Laughterton, Fenton, Maltby Le Marsh?


From this first foray into English genealogy, I can tell there is still a lot I need to read about the history, geography and records of England in the 1800’s. I am going to watch the video’s and read articles on the Find My Past blog and I am going to try to find a good book on English genealogy.

Have you used Find My Past?  What do you like about using it? Any tricks you would like to share?

This entry was posted in Cork Family, Dame Family and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Old Dog, New Tricks: Exploring My English Ancestors on Find My Past

  1. As most of my ROOTs are English I started with Find My Past. I was very good with the way the site was set up and found Ancestry, with all the unrelated usually US-centric info that comes up was frustrating. When Find My Past did a redesign when they went after a larger market than the UK, they made it more like Ancestry, unfortunately. Now I find both sites a bit frustrating. You are lucky that your UK ancestors came over to North America when there was good documentation for the area they were coming from and the area they were going to.

    One thing I particularly like about Find My Past is that you can look up addresses on the census. That can be helpful.

    • Rachelle says:

      I am making some research progress using Find My Past and figuring out how to best use their search functionality to get accurate results. They have a long way to go in pulling relevant “Hints” though. And like all sites, there is always more they could put online! I need Betley, Staffordshire poor records to track down what happened to William’s family when both parents died in 1838, so I have to order the microfilms from Family Search. Good luck with your research!

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