Most genealogists will have experienced the lack of enthusiasm held by their family or friends when being confronted with a set of ring binders comprising, perhaps, many years of your research. Even if you have migrated your data to a software package, you may still get the same response as its unlikely that your family or friends will be able to navigate around the package without your guidance.
I was in this exact position when my daughter told me she wasn't interested in looking at the results of my latest research unless it was in a more accessible form. She also posed the question as to who, did I think, would be interested in my research after I had departed this life.
The problem was partly overcome with the emergence of more flexible and user-friendly software packages. In addition, a number of genealogists began to put their research work on a website. This gave them tremendous scope as there were few restrictions as to the amount of information or how it was presented.
It did not however address the legacy issue. i.e. Who would be interested in my research work when I died. Fortunately, this issue was being considered by the Guild of One-Name Studies. They came up with the idea of hosting their members websites themselves and thereby, having some control on them, were able to offer on-going maintenance and hosting even after the death of a member.
The Guild approved the scheme in 2014 and shortly after started a pilot trial. This proved workable and robust so, in early 2016, the full project was launched. This itself was so successful that by the end of that year over 100 members had signed up to the scheme.
I, myself, signed up to it in February, 2017 and, with many examples of existing websites to get ideas from, I embarked on the one you are viewing at present.
How my own interest in family history began.
Whilst growing up, it was, I think, my parents who instilled in me the habit of collecting anything relating to our family such as family photos, newspaper cuttings and souvenirs of places we visited. One particular memento I was given was an apprenticeship indenture document dated 1864 with the name Richard Tomlin on it. I had know idea who this person was except that we shared the same name. My family told me he was an ancestor of mine and it was then I wondered how I might find out more about him. Looking back, this must have been the start of my interest in family history.
'Fast forward' now to 1987 when I moved to Cirencester in Gloucestershire (UK) as the result of a job move. On my next visit to my Mother who was still living in the North Midlands, I started to tell her of my move, she became very excited and explained that one of her grandfathers also came from there. I must have shown a more than passing interest in this because, during the following week, I received a very long letter from her with details of her family history including family trees etc. I followed this up and, using our local library, learnt more about these Cirencester ancestors.
A couple of articles from the Sunday papers gave me an insight into the process of family history and then a £4.99 book from our local garden centre really set me on the right path and, from then on, the ring binders began to fill up!
In 2004 the Sunday Times gave away a copy of Family Tree Maker software along with an explanatory article all of which I tucked away for future use. It would have to wait for another two years when, as a retirement project, I eventually loaded it on my PC and started to build my family tree.
In 2006, I joined my local U3A Family History group and this was shortly followed with membership of my nearest Family History Society and then those societies in the areas where my ancestors came from.
It was not long before I found out that the Richard Tomlin was my Great, Great Grandfather and I had taken my research back a further two generations learning who his father and grandfather were.