Despite never having taken much active interest in my family history I randomly bought of boxed copy of Family Tree Maker while wandering round some town centre shops (Electronics Boutique in Canterbury?).
Having loaded it on my PC I then entered what I knew - and soon realised how little that was. My solution was to tackle it as you would a jigsaw - looking for all the pieces involving a Townsley and then joining them together. Bradford Reference Library had much of the raw material and after many hours over many days we had plenty of pieces. But sadly they did not fit together. Instead they formed up into a number of unconnected branches. Worse still working backwards through the census years it became clear that the families had moved to the Bradford area from elsewhere.
In my case the reason was their work on the canals and inland waterways. Ancestors moved from working on the River Aire from Brotherton to working on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal - and the Bradford Canal - from Shipley. This discovery explained how my father seemed to know so many boatmen. In an attempt to find out more I was a member of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society for many years and ran their website - that I had first set up in October 2000. I retired from that responsibility in 2019 and the Society plan to develop a more up-to-date replacement (sometime soon?). If they do you can still get a flavour of the old site here ...
From there the search range kept expanding and expanding. The total number of jigsaw pieces mushroomed and still the branches did not link into a common tree. So it then became obvious that tracing a family tree is a task that never ends. Every person has two parents and each of them has two, etc, etc, etc. Many also have brothers and sisters who themselves were married and had children, etc, etc.
So now the results of around 20 years of searching are online at these websites of mine -
Finally the lack of information about where most of the discovered family members are buried as encouraged me to use - and now contribute to - the Find A Grave website. Despite being a rather depressing subject it does combine genealogy, photography and nostalgia so seems to tie in with my profile of interests.