Get involved


This page is about what you can contribute – please see this page for how you can benefit from this site.

If you are descended from Go(a)thams there are lots of ways you can be involved. Before I say anymore about them I would like to reassure you about the commitment – it should not put you off, because how much you do is entirely up to you. You might just wish to send me details of one Go(a)tham ancestor of yours, or a photo of them – or you can spend a number of hours every week researching / transcribing etc.

How you can get involved

Before you send me anything you may wish to check the scope of this study.

Draw my attention to a source of data or an interesting story to research

  • You may have come across an unusual document with information about Go(a)thams – if you are too busy to extract the relevant data please do let me know
  • The Go(a)tham born women: many will of course have changed their name on marriage. A one-name study is of course conducted mainly by searching for the study surname. Following up every woman by her married name could be very time consuming, especially where her married name is a common one. If you know e.g. that a newspaper article refers to a woman who was born a Go(a)tham please do let me know.

Send me biographies or memories

If you would like to write an account of an ancestors life as you understand, or just a few memories of them or of stories they told, I will be happy to include them. All of our memories, though, can be faulty, and family stories can be distorted, a generation out, or sometimes completely wrong (when they are based not on memories but on research that someone has done at some stage – and got wrong). I will add caveats to this kind of information; please don’t be offended – it’s not personal, I know I need to do so to my own memories too.

Please tell me the source of your stories, and if you have any additional sources to back up your stories please let me know, so that I can include them (e.g. if your ancestor told you the success of a sports team he was in as a boy, and you are recounting what he told you, but you also know it was reported in the local paper please mention the paper and if possible send me a digital image). In this way we can have records as accurate as possible.

Don’t wait until they die – why not write down your relatives stories and memories now, even though they may only be for publication after their death.

Send me data

If you have CMB / BMD data or data about other events in Go(a)thams’ lives then I may be pleased to receive it.
Please don’t simply copy data from sites such as FamilySearch (IGI) for me to add; it makes more sense for me to look for myself. But if you have data from sources that aren’t online, or which you’ve discovered in obscure sources, or data which is ‘hidden’ because of mis-transcriptions I would be grateful if you could contribute this.

For inclusion on the tree here it is really necessary that I know the source.
Should you have inherited a tree with unsourced data it could still be useful as a pointer to where to look. But please be aware that I will be cautious about adding such information to the tree here.

I will be adding forms to make it easier to send sources and so that data can be held in a standard format.

Send me photos (of people, places, headstones) or copies of certificates

I would be pleased to receive digitial images of Go(a)thams, of places significant in their lives (homes, churches, schools, workplaces etc. – at the time they lived there or today) to put on this site. If you hold copyright in these photos you will of course retain it.

I will add a form to this site to make sending them easier, but until I do please tell me what acknowledgement you would like, and on what terms they are to be shared – preferably in terms of one of the Creative Commons licences. (I generally share mine as Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike). If you have others which you don’t wish others to publish a copy of I can state this, but of course I cannot prevent people downloading photos or breaking the terms of any licence.

I’m afraid I will not have time to tackle any breaches of copyright discovered in the use of your photos; that will be your responsibility if you offer them to me for publication on this site.

How many photos?

It would be good to have photos of all the Go(a)thams who were photographed. However, I do not plan to add hundreds or even dozens of photos of an individual.

I am not going to set a precise number of photos I am willing to include on the site, but I think generally about half a dozen would be an appropriate maximum, but will be happy to include a few more if these illustrate different aspects of a persons life (i.e. at different ages, at school, work, in youth organisations, in the forces, taking part in a hobby). If you do wish to put a lot online I suggest you use Picasa or Flickr or similar; I will happily add a link to an online collection.

If you have come into the possession of Go(a)tham photos, certificates or other items you do not wish to keep I would be happy to give them a home, or to find one with more closely related Go(a)thams.

Send me copies or transcriptions of newspaper articles etc.

I would be pleased to receive digital images or transcriptions of newspaper articles or other documents referring to Go(a)thams. If these are still in copyright I may not be able to publish them, but can store them with other Go(a)tham documentation for the benefit of future generations. Please include details of sources, as far as you know them. (I realise that people sometimes keep cuttings from newspapers without the date or name of the paper; if that is the case any information about approximate date or likely paper would be appreicated).

Translate Latin or other languages

I am poor at languages and have forgotten most the Latin I knew when I studied for a Latin ‘O’ level many years ago.

I expect to come across some Latin documents, it’s possible I will come across others. Could you help by translating these?

(Any other languages will be mentioned here if / when I come across such)


I live close enough to the National Archives in England to have made a number of trips taking advantage of special offers of cheap train fares when available. I have consequently photographed many documents, particularly Court of Chancery cases, about Gothams and my other family history interests. As a result I have a lot of images of documents waiting to be transcribed.

If you may be able to help with the Gotham ones please let me know. Court of Chancery bills and answers were written down by clerks who had good handwriting, so they are mostly quite easy to read if you know how to read handwriting of the date. They cover quite a span of time so if your ability to read old handwriting is limited it may be possible to identify documents you can read.

If you wish to learn to read old handwriting I can provide information about this. There are a number of useful free online resources, some helpful non-expensive books and I can give tips from my own experience.

I can now usually transcribe well-written documents dating back to about 1600, sometimes earlier, without too much difficulty. Sometimes though later ones use a style I have not yet mastered (and I can read some earlier ones). If you could help with reading earlier documents that are at present beyond me that would be especially welcome.


Whilst I welcome any contributions, the areas where I would particularly appreciate help are with research in archives that I can’t easily get to, and searching for people I have failed to find. Please see the most wanted page for the latter.

I am in England, so would particularly welcome research in archives in other countries.

Within England, I am able to get to Devon quite easily, visit Kent sometimes and the National Archives regularly. I have also visited and can get to the SOG library and the London Metropolitan Archives reasonably easily.

I am not (yet) acquainted with the county or similar record offices in the other Gotham areas: the Midlands (Shropshire and Staffordshire) and Lancashire. It is these I would most welcome help with.

I will be adding forms to make it easier for you to send information and so that data can be held in a standard format; in the mean time please enquire if you plan to do research to contribute to this site.

That said, research in London or Kent is relatively costly for me, so if you are local to London, Maidstone or Canterbury and are able and willing to contribute to some more time-consuming research you may be able to make a valuable contribution to this site. Please contact me for more details.

Good use of time: my crystal ball is at best cloudy, I may have it wrong, but I think that before too long nearly all Parish Registers will be available online. It wouldn’t surprise me if Bishops Transcripts don’t follow. Some other documents may well take a lot longer. Personally I am more inclined to spend my time in record offices in taking photos or photocopies of documents or of researching some of the more obscure documents and leave much of the research in the PRs till I can do it from home. You may wish to do the same.

Online research: if you are thinking you could contribute to this study by looking at online censuses and extracting data, you are probably right. I will try to add more about this soon, but in the meantime please contact me to find out what I have already done, and also so that the information can be stored in a standard format.

DNA study

Be an administrator of the DNA study

I have initiated a DNA study, but if you would like to help with this do this please get in touch (it is possible to have more than one administrator). Please note: I will not be covering the costs of all the testing! (there are no monetary costs to be the organiser – just your time). I am happy to pay to have my brother’s DNA tested but I suggest each person participating in the study pay their own costs. You can see here my early thoughts about the value and limitations of a study for the Go(a)thams.

Take part in a DNA study

If you would be willing to participate and pay for a Y-chromosome DNA test for yourself or a willing male Go(a)tham relation please let me know or book a kit through the DNA study project page.

If you aren’t in a position to participate but you would like to help this DNA project along you may like to make a donation.

A Y-DNA 37-marker testing is generally sufficient; at the time of writing (Feb 2015) one test costs US $149 (c. £96) through the project at Family Tree DNA, or less (c. £80) if booked via me.

What format?

I am happy to receive info in an email, spreadsheet or document, or in a GEDCOM. A spreadsheet or GEDCOM file is probably most convenient if you are sending a fair bit of information.


High quality are best, the maximum amount of information can be preserverd for future generations that way. If your ISP doesn’t let you send emails with large attachments they can be ‘sent’ by placing them in Flickr, in webspace that your ISP provides or similar. If this is too technical for you please ask for advice.

Why should you send what you have to me?

You may be wondering why you would want to send the fruits of your research to me. Well of course, you don’t have to and I entirely understand if you wish to keep it from public copying or just on your own tree / website.

But these are reasons why you may wish to contribute:

1. if you are interested in the concept of a one name study and would like to see one for the Go(a)thams you may realise that even with a rare surname it can be difficult for one person

2. I am not going to claim the work as all my own – your part will be acknowledged

3. Through GOONS the fruit of your work should be preserved for future generations

4. If your data is on this tree and people closely related to you find it they can contact you and you may learn from them more about your non-Go(a)tham common ancestors

5. Give and take – if you have found something useful and/or of interest to you on this website you may wish to give something back

If you do not wish to send me information but are have your tree or other Go(a)tham information online please send me a link to it.

Last updated: 28 February, 2015

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *