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  • Maxine Knight

3 Easy Ways to Discover Your Own Family History

I'm not going to lie, the research for the last couple of posts has been pretty intense. So, for this post, I thought I would lighten things up a bit.

For years I have been on a mini journey, in search of my past, and today I wanted to share some of my most useful research tools.

Let's begin with my top fave website and the best part is.... it’s FREEEEE!

1., Founded in 1894, historically known as the Genealogical Society of Utah, is dedicated to preserving the records of the family of mankind.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the primary benefactor for FamilySearch services.

This site has literally unlocked my past. Offering a wealth of information and, best of all, free documents i.e. birth, wedding and death certificates.

Maxine Knight Writes
Marriage Certificate: Henry Knight & Leanorah Mitchell; 3rd of May 1893

The above is my great-grandparent’s wedding certificate. I never knew anything about them, but this one document holds a wealth of information. For example, they were married on the 3rd of May 1893 in Clarendon, Jamaica. We have a location, witnesses, dates. The most important information can be seen on the far left under "Father's Name and Surname". Having this information meant that I could trace back even further by cross-referencing the names of Father and Daughter and Father and Son.

2. Jamaican Family Search more of a collection of documents and archive information rather than a searchable database. Because of this, it can feel quite overwhelming, so I would recommend you go to the "where do I begin" section just to orientate yourself and not get overwhelmed.

3. Ancestry.Com DNA

I haven't used Ancestry as a method to build my tree or find documents. This is because there was a cost and I'm cheap. Also, when I first stumbled across the site many years ago, I didn't feel that it catered to my heritage – although I suspect things have changed somewhat as the site has grown in popularity.

What I did use though – as a present to myself – was the DNA origins service. You may have seen this advertised all over the place. Spit in a tube. Send it off ...all that sexy stuff.

Anyway .... these were the results.

I must add a disclaimer, you do have to take these results with a pinch of salt due to updates. In some cases, throwing people into a full-on identity crisis. For example, when I first received my report, it stated I was 5% Nigerian. I contacted my Nigerian friend and told her excitedly that I am part of the family.

She welcomed me with open arms.

When the results were updated, that 5% became 59%. I had to consider calling her back and letting her know I might be her mum.

Ancestry released a little video explaining the changes.

However, some customers weren't so impressed...


A number of years ago (January 2017 to be exact), I was contacted and asked to be a guest speaker on a well-known radio station (I’m being vague for copywriting reasons). I don't know how they found me, but I think I may have posted some info on a Facebook group recommending a genealogy site or commenting about my own experiences.

Anyway, that night I couldn't sleep. I was up all night trawling back through my old research. Trying to remember my dates and what documents I had discovered; I prepared a lengthy may have even featured tales of my early childhood. I may have thrown in (what I thought was) a humorous anecdote or two.

The big day arrived and I was placed on hold waiting to make my grandiose LIVE appearance.


What I didn't realise was that showtime equated to about 30 seconds of talking.

Anywho, here it is. I'm using my posh voice. It's the same voice my Mother uses when she answers the phone and doesn't know who it is. As if expecting the Queen to ring, asking for a jerk chicken recipe.

So, I hope this has been of help and if you have any other useful website tips, please contact me. I'd love to read about them.


To discuss hiring me as a freelance writer, make your way to my home page and check out my services.


#LostBlackHistory #BlackHistory #FreelanceWriter #MaxineKnight#MaxineKnight #MaxineKnightWrites#MaxineKnightWrites #ContentMarketing#ContentMarketing #CopyWriting #FamilyTree #AncestryDNA #FamilySearch

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