, 2022-11-03 05:57:55,
A quick search of my surname on Findmypast recently revealed a few interesting facts to me. Apparently, 31 Clodes fought in the First World War, we were a prevalent bunch in Devon during the 1900s, and at least two of us (so far) have had criminal records. The earliest recorded occurrence of the name appeared in 1560, nearly 500 years ago.
This last fact really opened up a can of worms. Who was this Clode knocking about in the mid 16th century? Were they one of the confirmed criminals? An ancestor, surely, but what did they do, and what did they look like?
Public interest in genealogy has rocketed in recent years, with TV shows like Who Do You Think You Are and DNA Journey enjoying huge popularity. And yet most people – myself included – still seem surprised to discover their lineage extends beyond grandparents and great-grandparents; that a huge interweaving collection of centuries-old stories, each with its own dramas, celebrations and tragedies, has led to their existence.
Discovering these stories is like learning that your favourite new Netflix show has a vast back catalogue of series, and that you are the star of the latest episode. It’s weird, humbling and fascinating in equal measure. But how do you find these stories?
The census is a great place to start your first foray into…
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