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      I first started looking into my family history in the 1980s when, on a rainy day holidaying in Cornwall, my sister and I went into the library in Truro to find out information about our great grandmother. She grew up in a small village near St. Austell, met a ship's captain from Hull called Robert Ford, married him in 1877 and moved to Yorkshire. We found many records of her family in Trenarren which whetted our appetite for more.

     Since then we have amassed details of nearly 200 ancestors and their siblings - although it was mostly done by my sister Beth Meese in the days before the internet. This meant she visited many record offices, libraries and churches, writing and publishing her findings in biographical form, with many historical references.

      I have presented our family tree in a very different way. I devised a way of linking ancestors using a numbers that I shall call the Ford Decimal System. Like the Dewey Decimal System, it is not truly 'decimal', the point just acts as a separator. To the left of the point is the generation number and to the right is the ancestor's position within that generation. The first section of my tree below illustrates this. For example: I am 1.1; grandmother Polly Garner is 3.4; Hannah Batman is 5.14 

Each ancestor has a reference number on a page in my records and to move to his or her parent's page firstly add 1 to the left digit. For the mother, the right hand number is doubled and for the father it is doubled and then 1 is subtracted. Do the process in reverse to move to children. The page below taken from my records is used as an example. Joseph Fowler Rouse, a great-great-great grandfather, has the number 6.7 so his mother is 7.14 and his father is 7.13. His wife is 6.8 so their child is 5.4.