Author Archives: Audrey Coventry

Tunnel after tunnel

Hi everyone, it’s Audrey. I’m very proud to announce that I’ve finally completed the excruciatingly tedious and enormous Coventry tree! It is now entirely up on Ancestry.com, which is a very rewarding feeling. I reached the end of that tunnel, but the tracks jumped straight into a second tunnel the minute I was done. I got a dozen emails from my dad with letters, certificates, and lots of pictures dealing with his mom’s side of the family. His sister had to mail them from New Zealand, so unfortunately they came just as we’re finishing up the course. As I started to look through the emails I realized that it was decidedly much more complicated than the Coventry tree – half of the family changed their name from Mackay to McKay, but many of the records don’t show the difference. The actual family lineage and emigration to New Zealand is all there, but I’ll have to go through and pick out tidbits from letters to piece everything together. To add to that, many of the pictures aren’t labeled, so I’ll have to use contexts or my Aunt’s eyes to figure out who everyone is. As it turns out, I’ve signed myself up for a huge puzzle a day and a half before my presentation. Who knows what I’ll be able to piece together by then, but at least I haven’t hit any walls!

My grandparents in France also emailed me recently. My grandpa (who has become very enthusiastic about this project) called the city hall in his hometown and found out the names and birth years of his grandparents. Now if I look at my tree on Ancestry, I’m only missing one great great grandparent, and it’s actually on the side of the family I was positive I would fill. We might even be able to find more of his ancestors when I go to France this summer, which is great not only great for genealogy’s sake, but also because I know it would make him very happy and proud.

I almost feel as though my search is picking up speed just as we’re about to end, especially since my 23andme results should come soon! I Skyped my parents today and I think they’re really starting to get into this – hopefully they can help continue this search during second semester.

I have yet to figure out who this jolly old fellow is, but I say he looks pretty spiffy in his Scottish kilt and thought it’d be fun to share:Image

Expanding different branches of the tree

Hiya, it’s Audrey. As Dr. Lawton pointed out in class, Anna and I went to the beach in Charleston this weekend, and it was a blast! Despite that wonderful break and distraction from anything productive, I still made some progress in gathering family information. I emailed one of my Aunts in New Zealand who is very interested in our family history. She’s collected loads of information on my grandmother’s family. She mailed it all to my house in Kansas, and even if it gets home by the end of the course, I’ll still have to have my parents scan everything so I can use it on Ancestry. We’ll see if I can get it all in on time, but at least I know that the information is there, and there’s even more where it came from. She was able to email me some names and dates of arrival in New Zealand, so my next step is putting those up on the tree.

I also had the chance to email my grandparents on both sides of the family. My paternal grandparents helped compile more info and fill in gaps in my Aunt’s information. My maternal grandparents knew all of the dates for their parents, siblings, and other children and grandchildren, so that was a big help as well. I also discovered that we have traced my maternal grandmother’s family back to the late 1700s in France, which is much more than I could have hoped for. I also have more pictures than expected. One minor problem is that I have pictures for my grandpa’s grandmothers, but I don’t have names for them. It shouldn’t be too much trouble to find them, and at least in the meantime I have photos to look at!

As ever, I’m still working on uploading my enormous Coventry tree. I’ve put a very large majority of it onto Ancestry, but I’ve taken a break from it for a little while to focus on my mother’s and paternal grandmother’s side of the family, along with regain some of the sanity I lost from looking at so many names on that huge sheet of paper! I’m determined to get it all done though; I can’t wait until it’s all up on Ancestry.

That’s about it for now! Just to add some flavor to this post, here’s a picture my maternal grandparents sent me of my great grandmother. I thought it was pretty cool (I can definitely see the resemblance to my grandfather too, which is very neat):Image

Discoveries and Opportunities

Hey all, it’s Audrey. One of the most interesting aspects of this course is using 23andMe to interpret our DNA and find out a huge array of our geographical background and our genetic makeup. Unfortunately I have yet to receive my results…but I’m intrigued just through looking at all the information everyone else has! I’ve taken genetics but I’m ever amazed by the amount of information the little molecule holds and how we’re able to use modern technology to read it.

One really great thing about this course is that it gets me to talk to family members I normally wouldn’t make the time to talk to. I’m not the best at initiating conversation as it is, and it feels even more intimidating with long-distance relatives you don’t get to see very often. However it’s much easier than what I was expecting, and everyone is extremely enthusiastic about the course. I didn’t expect anyone to have more than a mild interest in finding family history information. My maternal and paternal grandparents are all very excited about the family tree, and they’re talking to all of their cousins and other relatives to try to put together as much information as they can to send to me. This has been a great opportunity for us to stay in contact, especially since we’re so far away from each other.

Unfortunately I don’t know if my parents will want to keep the ancestry.com account for too long once Interim is done, which is a shame because it’s such an amazing resource! I hope that my mom will become addicted once I show her how it works, but if not the information will be there and I’ll still be able to keep in contact with my relatives.

Exciting Frustrations

Hi all, it’s Audrey. I’m still working on putting all of the names and dates from my enormous Coventry tree up on ancestry.com. I’m a bit overwhelmed by it, because the earliest ancestor on that tree dates back to 1281. However, his name is Henry de Coventre, and I think it’s fascinating that I can trace some ancestors back to when French was still spoken in England! I’m really excited to finally get this tree completed on Ancestry.

I have a much smaller tree from my paternal grandmother’s side of the family, so that wasn’t too difficult to incorporate. However, both of these trees have given me hundreds of hints, much more than I expected! I’m trying to figure out whether I want to finish all of the names I have or start going through the hints. At this point I’m doing a bit of both so I don’t go too crazy!

My mother’s side of the tree is a bit more difficult. As far as I know, we don’t have any records down on paper, so I’m waiting to hear from my grandparents what they know. Unfortunately they’re in France so getting quick hold of them and completely relying on them for information isn’t the easiest thing to do. I’m fairly confident that I should get at least a few generations from my grandmother, but I should run in to more problems with my grandfather. He did not grow up in a religious family so I’m not sure if there would be any churches he could go to for records. His parents also died when he was young, so he has very little memory of them. Hopefully my tree will end up better than I’m expecting it to at this point!

My next step is to try to find any records or photographs that we have in the family. Again, I’m relying completely on my foreign relatives, so we’ll see how successful this search will be!

A long, but intriguing road

Hello all! This is Audrey Coventry. I’ve always been fascinated with my family history, more so than many other members of my family. I find tracing the name Coventry back and discovering where, geographically, my ancestors lived to be particularly interesting. However, I hadn’t taken the time to really research my family’s roots on my own, so I’m very excited that this class will give me the opportunity to do so. My mom and dad are from France and New Zealand, respectively, and it’s hard to determine how big of a problem this will be when doing research, but I’m very excited nonetheless.

I decided to start the process using ancestry.com and putting in all the names I have down on record. I’ll add in any stories or personal notes I find once I finish this structure. This has proved to be a very tedious process; we have a family tree on paper that follows the descendants of the Earl of Coventry in England dating back to the 1400s, and as you can see on the picture, there are a whole lot of names to type up. We have also kept track of our family on my paternal grandmother’s side, just not quite to the extent. As great as ancestry.com is, I’m already experiencing a problem – because most of my paternal ancestors came from England, Ireland, and Scotland, I do not have an easy way of verifying the many hints that pop up for all the “Anne”s, “Frederick”s, and other fairly common names in my family. I’m hoping I’ll develop a method for filtering out the inaccurate hints and making my tree a bit more reliable.

I’m anticipating much difficulty on my mother’s side. My French ancestors were mainly peasants, and there was not the same meticulous mindset when keeping family records. My biggest resources will be my grandparents’ memories, their notes, and whatever records their family’s churches have kept if they find them. I’m also very curious to see what other racial influences there are in my family, because we believe there might be some African or Middle Eastern influence because of past wars and migration, but don’t have a way of knowing for sure yet. I’m not scared of any unknowns in my family, so I’m very excited to continue this process and discover things I’ll be able to share with the rest of my family for generations!Image