My Ancestor was a Liar: Ignorance, Half Truths or Wilful Deceit?

at Exeter Hall, Oxford Road, Kidlington, Oxon OX5 1AB

by Dave Annal; this talk commences at 8.00pm.

Sifting through the evidence to find the truth (or what passes for the truth in the world of genealogy) is a skill which all serious family historians need to develop. The information left by our ancestors is all-too-frequently misleading, inaccurate or just plain wrong! As we become more experienced we find that they had any number of reasons to be economical with the truth. Of course, sometimes our ancestors simply didn’t know the answer to the questions thrown at them by the clerks, registrars and enumerators. Using real examples, this talk will look at some of the reasons why our ancestors might have lied and offer suggestions on how to recognise their varying degrees of ignorance, half-truths and wilful deception.

Dave Annal is a professional researcher with over 40 years’ experience. He is a former Principal Family History Specialist with the National Archives and worked at the Family Records Centre for many years. In 2019 he was awarded a Fellowship of the Society of Genealogists. Dave has written a number of family history books including the bestselling beginner’s guide Easy Family History and Pen & Sword’s Birth, Marriage & Death Records (with Audrey Collins) and, with Peter Christian, he is the co-author of Census: the Family Historian’s Guide. He is also a regular contributor to Family Tree Magazine where he runs the Family Tree Academy. Dave is a popular speaker on the family history circuit and has spoken at a number of major events including Who Do You Think You Are? Live and Rootstech, as well as giving regular talks to family history groups. Dave has been researching his own family history since the mid-1970s and he hasn’t finished yet!

The hall will be open from 7.15 p.m. for refreshments, to browse books and to consult advisors about family history problems. Non-members can attend but there will be a small charge of £2 per head towards the society’s expenses.

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