Genealogy Resolutions for 2013

Like many people, I have made New Years resolutions in the past and not succeeded in keeping them. Andrew Martin wrote an excellent article a few days ago that suggests something I think I will find much more achievable. My Top 5 Genealogy ‘to-dos’ for 2013 suggests choosing five areas of family tree research where you hope to make progress in 2013. Here is my list:

1. Break down my Beckwith brick wall.

I already started to make progress on this at the weekend. My Great Great Grandfather, Fred Beckwith, never seemed to exist before he married in 1882 and has remained a brick wall from day one of me starting my research. The address he gave when he married was a derelict building in the 1881 census and there are no Fred Beckwith’s born in the areas and dates he quotes as his places of birth in other documents. I think I have found him in Rivenhall, Essex and hope to soon confirm my suspicions.

2. Scan more family correspondence

I have inherited a couple of briefcases of late nineteenth and early twentieth century family photographs and correspondence. I started to scan them a couple of years ago, but never finished. They could hold useful information that could help with my research, so I’d like to get them scanned up.

3. Write up what I have discovered about my Quack Doctor

I was always led to believe that I was a descendant of Richard Brinsley Sheridan when in fact I am descended from a Quack Doctor called Richard Sheridan Wardley. From what I’ve found so far I get the impression he wasn’t a very nice or honest man. One minute he’s a dry goods salesman and then all of a sudden a practicing doctor! Luckily he left a colourful trail for me to follow in local newspapers, The Lancet and even Punch magazine as well as the usual sources. I was telling my Grandmother all about my discoveries a few weeks ago and she said “I hope you are writing all this down.” I have a pile of notes and copies of articles, but that’s all. Time to get organised and write it all down properly.

4. Keep a diary

I’ve made this resolution many times, but I think I was too ambitious! So many times over the last year I wish I had made a note of when something happened and regretted not doing so. I’m not going to write a lot. Just a few lines every night. If I keep it on my bedside instead of my desk I should be more successful.

5. Do some more India research

I visit the British Library every other month for board meetings and always get there long before the meeting starts. I would have plenty of time to do some of my own research, but nearly always forget to bring my family history notes with me! I always have my phone or iPad with me though, so I have added my notes to Evernote to ensure I always have them handy.

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2013!

About Valmay Young

Family historian, collector of antiquarian books and postcards of British India, Website, social media manager and trustee of the Families In British India Society.


  1. Hi Valmay,

    Thanks for mentioning my blog post – and great to see your five resolutions too.

    #2 and #3 sound intriguing, so I hope that you manage these, and come back and blog about them.

    Have a very Happy New Year and best wishes throughout 2013.


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