For an in depth explanation, you can watch the video below which has come from Ancestry.com.
However, to easily say what I've been doing is asking a question about where in a country my ancestor would have gone and giving the surname or last name of the person. My my case it was Gauquie. I knew my great grandfather had come from Brussels because this is what he's put down on his paperwork I was able to find - including the census. I then found a forum which had a huge group Esen, Belgium. Another suggested I look at the Belgium Archives website. I then put the two of these suggestions together and off I went taking notes and saving any of the births, deaths, and marriage information I could find. The draw back is I have to now go into FamilySearch and get the certificates but at least I know where to look and the dates. The Archives website gives you a transcribed information but you need the certificate to get more updated information.
of Gauquie's on it. I asked the question about what town would they have likely been in. A helpful person came back and told me
|My mapping of the movements of the Gauquie family.|
We are currently still looking for the link back to France. However, this is more difficult because it takes places during the French Revolution.
Jules or Julius Gauquie was born in Belgium. He lived in Brussels the paperwork said. Hmmm where do we fit into this large group of people? Off I went to towns and villages like Boesinge, Izegen, Elverdinge, Ploegsteert, Dikkebus, Noordschote and on and on. Finally I had to stop as it was doing my head in as there was still not a Jules or Julius. I then decided to search for his name or variants of it - nothing. I asked in the forum again and someone came back with Julius being a MIDDLE name. Great. Thankfully, someone found a group of paperwork about his birth and then about his parents' marriage.
|Joannes Julius Van Rompaye (Gauquie) Birth certificate in Dutch|
As his parents lived in one of the towns I had already researched, I was able to link of up information on siblings and grandparents and cousins. Using some of the family stories, I was able to start to track down if they were correct stories or not.
As you can imagine, this takes time as you are searching by town and person by person and trying to make all the puzzle pieces go together.
Was it worth it?
You bet it was as I was able to confirm stories and link up people. It might have taken me a few months, but at least we can go back to the late 1700's and according to what I've been tracing on Google Earth, I can tell you we're getting closer to the current French boarder - only 15 miles to go.
|Jules' direct ancestors - doesn't include all the cousins and such I found|
If you are stuck with where to look next, you might want to give the clustering a try. Its slow but you gain so much information!