I’m coming to the end of my enforced absence from work ( fingers crossed) and I’m about to be assessed by a doc to see what impact the accident has had. So, I’m trying to get back into "work mode". I need to get fitter and, (obviously) be able to sustain a day in front of the PC or travelling. To this end I have been doing a programme of exercises for my neck and lower back since the accidnet and now have some guidelines as to how I should approach working at a PC ( forever) from my physiotherapist. But sitting around reading books most days hardly represents my working day.

I’ve been popping into LJ and Bookcrossing more frequently in the last couple of weeks, but I’ve decided that a real test would be updating my CPD records and files – they need doing for a review later in the year anyway. However, it’s proving hugely annoying as the online log provided by my professional body is very resistant to typing in free-form data and beseiges me with "helpful hints" of what materials I might like to browse/ read/ sign-up to /pay for  on their site.  CPD records should be simple  – I did this and it contributed X hours to my requirement. It’s particulalrly annoying when I ‘m having to type in free-form entries because they don’t provide the courses I need! Humph!

For entertainment I’m doing some online research of my family tree. I’bve been doing this on and off ( mainly off) for about 5 years.  Online resources have grown enormously in that time, but as all the guides tell you, you do need to check the accuracy of the information you’ve got.  Last October I spent two happy days looking at microfiches of primary parish records in the extremely friendly office that houses the Tyne and Wear Archives Service and the day before my accident I was excitedly running around a muddy cemetery photographing my ancestors’ gravestones. That’s out of the question for a while so I’ve been looking at Ancestry.co.uk.

The updated site’s USP is that if you start to create a family tree online it will trawl through the data and give you "hints" based on best matches. It’s an extremely powerful tool and is certainly so much faster than ploughing through census returns yourself. The original image is laid out for you to check. So far, so good.

As well as looking at official info the ‘bots also look at family trees that have already been created on their website. As there have been free 14 day and 30 day trials of the site on offer this year and last there are probably quite a few trees on there. I  discovered that there were two trees including relatives of mine. They both stemmed from the same "branch" – my maternal great grandparents -so I was delighted to see them and hoping for some gaps to be filled in. Wrong, wrong, wrong! It looks like my fellow researchers have accepted all the info offered by the ‘bots without any critical analysis.

I particularly wanted to get more info from one of them; he is my mother’s generation and might have some photographs and personal memories to share. So, do I get in touch and not tell him that he’s picked up the wrong ancestor in trying to find a father for his illegitimate grandfather?

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