Monday, 3 February 2020

Alison & Ken Tait - Speaker Profile

Alison Tait
Talk Title: Distance No Object - It’s a Family Matter!
(A joint talk by wife & husband, Alison & Ken Tait)

Alison's Background
Alison, a semi-retired nurse, is an only child and until relatively recent times had not been engaged in researching her family origins. Her late father had done a lot of work about thirty years ago, which Alison has used as a foundation for her research, discovering a few surprises and mistakes along the way. Her involvement with North of Ireland Family History Society has focussed her research methods and the value of sharing and exchanging experiences with other researchers. She is hopeful that her children and grandchildren will benefit from the work she is doing now as she continues to discover the extent of her distant family.

Alison's Day job - Full-time grandmother, part-time nurse. Volunteer at various NIFHS events and the Family research Centre.

Alison's Night job - Researching her family history, unravelling the discoveries already made and helping with the administration of the North of Ireland Family History Society.

How did you get involved in Genetic Genealogy?
Alison became involved because her Dad had been interested in researching his family after retirement and had made great progress using the then available records at GRONI and PRONI as well as comparing notes with a distant cousin he discovered. When Alison first retired from her nursing career she took up the trail left by her father, corrected a few mistaken assumptions as more records and sources became available, and when introduced to DNA testing made a number of fascinating discoveries over time.

Genetic Genealogy has taken Alison’s researches into a far wider sphere than her previous work, and has resulted in discoveries about family she had never imagined to exist in far flung places across the globe. She is now in regular contact with living distant cousins in Australia and Canada, and has benefitted from shared family photographs of her direct antecedents to add to her own tree.

Ken's Background
Ken Tait
Retired from public service in 2010 after a career coordinating and managing multi-agency resources. He has an interest in classic vehicles, beekeeping, local community and family history research, is a proud grandad and great-granda, and looks forward to passing on the family history to his successors.

Day job - ensuring the smooth running of the Killyleagh branch of NIFHS, administering the arrangements for the 40th anniversary year of events, which are continuing through the rest of this year. Enjoying “retirement” but realising the word actually means “more hard work than during my working life - and you don’t get a day off!”

Night job - see above

How did you get involved in Genetic Genealogy?
Roughly forty years ago my late father was contacted by a Canadian second cousin. Dad was an only child, and until then we had never had any conversation about family - my grandparents had passed before I was born. That contact resulted in a series of exchange visits between Canada and Ireland, introductions to a whole extended family of “cousins” and the exchanging of family records and stories to fill in what I didn’t know of my history. That was good, but when he became aware of DNA testing and started to get matches - and contact with people - a whole new world opened up. Contact from people overseas through DNA matches has resulted in even more extended family meet-ups, and exchange of more information and artefacts to add to his now burgeoning tree.

What will you guys be talking about?
We will be talking about our experiences in our family history research since becoming DNA tested, and how the results of these tests have corroborated already known or suspected facts, and have led to contact with numerous previously unknown “cousins” around the world, many of whom have been able to provide us with photos, documents, and tales of our family since they had left these shores. This has added greatly to our family histories. We want to share these experiences to encourage others where they might have had doubts or were merely stuck.

Further Information
Both Alison and Ken are presently core members of North of Ireland Family History Society at central and branch level. They also jointly act as secretary for Killyleagh branch.
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