Having started collecting information about earlier generations in the 1990s the technology used for storing and sharing data have changed greatly. This has come about through changes in equipment [hardware] - faster processors, larger storage devices, faster telecoms links, etc - and improvements in the programs [software] available to both manage the hardware and to provide useful applications [apps] for business use and personal entertainment.

Despite twenty plus years of progress however the apps for handling family history databases have only improved slowly. In fact the number of reliable genealogy apps seems to have declined. Take the Family Tree Maker app. It was the first family history database I used back in the late 1990s. Over the decades it has been changed and tweaked by various owners but with limited effect. When last used we relied upon the 2005 edition after having some poor results and outright failures with various newer versions.

With the growth of the Internet and making vast quantities of printed and handwritten records available online a new type of app emerged. One with access via a web browser to database hosted on a web server. In theory this provides some major advantages over the PC-based local database in that multiple users can not just view but also update family records. And the open source nature of the database [SQL] and programming language [PHP] removed the dependence on commercially restricted database formats.

However it is very easy to keep expanding the scope of the family history app and in the process create a very complex piece of software. This is in itself not reason to avoid this approach. But it does require a lot of detailed programming and huge amounts of testing.

For a few years we put all the collected family history information online using the Webtrees app. And in general this was a success - even though we never opted to move the master copies of the data online for security reasons.

Then a rethink was required as the growing size of the Strangways-Towneley online database resulted in the ISP’s database size limit being exceeded. Not wishing to swirch to another ISP and not being able to reduce the GEDCOM any further it seems that we came to the end of the road for using Webtrees for the Strangways-Towneley records.

Today our data is handled by the Ancestral Quest app running on a Windows 10 PC with a full extract being used by the GedSite app to create the web pages.



As with all these family trees there are likely to be errors and gaps - since few (no?) family trees are ever complete or provide the fully detailed story of something as complex as a family’s history . And it is impossible to wait until all the details are confirmed before publishing what fragments are known about a family tree - since family trees will always have gaps. All the information listed here has been obtained from publicly available sources. Sources put online by both official outlets and through the efforts of amateur researchers. Also note that many of the BMD entries only refer to the Quarter and the Registration District where the event was registered - since these are a main source of the public records.

Please get in touch with any corrections so that we can be as complete and accurate as possible.


BrianTownsley Brotherton Sheeky Family



The above book - Wives and Daughters by Joanna Martin - provides much background information about the Fox-Strangways family, their lives and social connections.