A couple of years ago I started tracing my family tree and managed to trace parts of it back to the 1790's. I found the census forms really interesting as they list everyone living in the house and what their occupation was at the time. Sometimes ten or more people lived at the same address.
I mainly did my research online but also spent some time at the records office at Carlisle - the staff there were really helpful and gave advice on where to look and which leads to follow.
I managed to put my Mum and her sister in touch with a cousin they hadn't seen for over thirty years as Ancestry.co.uk show you links with other people that have the same branches to their tree.
I wasn't keen on history at school but found this fascinating. Obviously relating historical events to family members makes it more interesting.
My Dad and Aunt were born in the 1930's and my Mum in the 1940's so they have been able to tell me about their childhood. My Dad was only 5 when he was sent away to live with his Grandparents in the Cumbrian countryside as it was thought too dangerous to live in the city during the war.
My Aunt was playing with friends in fields near their home when a plane swooped down really low and dropped a package. My Aunt was frightened and thought it could be a bomb so stayed well clear but a couple of her friends were intrigued and on closer inspection saw that the package was moving - when they opened it up it was a puppy. One of the girls took it home and her parents allowed her to keep it so the children played with it throughout their childhood - they named the puppy D-Day!
I wish I had started my search when my Grandparents were alive because I would have loved to ask them about their childhood. My Grandparents were born between 1905 and 1910 so lived through many tough times.
I'd love to have the time to copy lots of family photos to put in with my records too. I have been given some really old photographs like the one above. The young girl on the left is my great Grandma - she was born in 1889!