Saturday, March 19, 2011

Debbie Kennett

I am pleased to present our first GeniMates profile from England. I have been following Debbie on Twitter and have been impressed with the work she has done with One-Name Studies. Thanks, Debbie for telling us about your involvement in genealogy.

Date 16th March 2011

Name Debbie Kennett

Are you a Hobbyist or Professional Genealogist?  A bit of both

What is your day job? I am a freelance copy editor and proofreader but I mix it up with genealogy work such as writing articles and research in the local archives. I spent much of the second half of 2010 writing a book on DNA and social networking for the family historian which is due to be published by the History Press in the autumn.

What, if any, formal or informal studies have you undertaken that are relevant to genealogical research? None. I have learnt from experience and from my own reading. I found Mark Herber's book "Ancestral Trails" particularly useful when I first started out.

How long have you been chasing ancestors? Nine years

How did you get hooked on genealogy? I started my research after the death of my father-in-law. We inherited a collection of old photographs without any names so I started to write to relatives to try and find out who they all were. It then all spiralled from there. Having researched my husband's family I thought I should start on my own and I've not stopped since!

What are your areas of Expertise in Genealogy? I have a lot of experience with the records in Devon and Berkshire, and I am also familiar with many of the medieval records as I have a number of gentry lines which can be traced back a long way. In the last few years I have specialised in the field of genetic genealogy - the application of DNA testing to family history research. I also have a particular interest in the use of social media for genealogy purposes.

Please outline your involvement in Genealogy Societies and Groups I am a member of the Guild of One-Name Studies where I have registered the surnames Cruse and Cruwys. I am also a member of the Guild's Marketing Sub-Committee. In addition I belong to the following societies:

Berkshire Family History Society
Devon Family History Society
Society of Genealogists
Somerset and Dorset Family History Society

I have recently signed up to become a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

What are the lands of your ancestors?  I have one great-great-great-grandfather from Scotland and one great-great-great-grandmother from County Kerry in Ireland. Otherwise all my lines are in England and concentrated in the south of the country. I have ancestors from Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and London.

What Family Names are you Researching? Batt, Berryman, Bodger, Boundy, Couch, Crewes, Crews, Cruise, Cruse, Cruwys, Dillon, Eastmond, Faithfull, Gough, Hunter, Kennett, Keynes, Male, Offley, Paddon, Pigg, Ratty, Rudd, Saunders, Smart, Tidbury, Trask, Tout, Underwood, Walker, Westcott, Whiting, Wiggins, Wolfenden and many more.

Who is your favourite ancestor? Why? My favourite ancestor is my great-great-great-great-grandfather David Tidbury simply because of his phenomenal military record. He was a humble private with the Royal Welch Fusiliers (23rd Regiment of Foot) in the Peninsular War (1808-1814). He somehow managed to survive most of the major battles in the Peninsular War (Albuera, Badajoz, Salamanca, Vittoria, etc) as well as the Battle of Waterloo. He died in 1867 when he was supposedly 84 years old. He was awarded the Military General Service Medal with eight clasps and, like every soldier who was present at the Battle of Waterloo, he was awarded the Waterloo Medal.

What ancestral city or town would you like to visit? Why? I would like to go and see the Peninsular War battlefields where David Tidbury fought. I'd also like to go to Richmond Hill, Long Island, in America to see the home where my great-great-grandmother Anne Cruwys nee Wall spent the last fifteen or so years of her life and to see the cemetery where she is buried (Maple Grove Cemetery in Kew Gardens, Queens, NY). She emigrated in 1901 when she was in her sixties to go and live with her unmarried son and daughter.

What is your favourite resource for genealogy?  Mailing lists. I have met many wonderful people over the years who have provided much-needed advice and encouragement.

Do you keep your genealogy files on paper?  Yes

Do you keep your genealogy files on a computer? Yes

What genealogy software do you use to record your family tree?  I use Family Historian, a British genealogy programme, which is excellent for storing and sorting large quantities of data and for recording sources. A trial version can be downloaded here:

Do you have your tree posted on the internet? No

What Social Networking Sites do you use for genealogy?  
Ancestry, Facebook, GenealogyWise, Genes Reunited, Geni, LinkedIn, MyHeritage , Twitter, WeRelate, Other.

Do you have a blog? Yes

What are your blogs' URLs?

What are your Other Hobbies, Activities, Interests?  I like gardening, reading and travelling.

What is your favourite lesiure time activity apart from genealogy? Gardening

What is your favourite (non-genealogy book)? Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre and Tess of the d'Urbervilles (hope I'm allowed three!)

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