When you get to that time of life where you can be officially classified as a Senior Citizen this question is often asked. The questioner is told that 'you don't know how you ever found time to go to work' or 'you are busier now than ever': they smile kindly and metaphorically pat you on the head with a knowing look or maybe a remark calculated to appease. With gritted teeth you hold back a terse comment: in so many words or gestures indicate that they are interrupting a train of thought or your next important assignment and would they be 'kind enough' to go! If they should persevere with the questioning and you are foolish enough to start explaining how you spend your time, the result invariably is the glazed look that their eyes take on. This in turn leads to them remembering something of the utmost importance that they have forgotten to do. You can now safely return to your world.

My Cousin is responsible for my current passion - though it has to be admitted that I did not need too much prompting. The comment made was to the effect that 'you do this research for other people, you must trace our family'. So I have been doing.

Looking back, I little knew what I was getting involved with. The Ibbotson Family come from Sheffield, I thought, and went to the archives there to make a start. It should have dawned on me then that the scale of the undertaking was not going to be small. I could not remember at that time whether it was Bradwell or Bradfield where they came from. I heard from relations that they were in Hathersage as well. Two more visits to Sheffield were made and I was starting to build up a very healthy list of baptisms with some marriages and burials.

It was at this time that the awful [I use the word in its original meaning] truth burst upon me. I had moved to South Derbyshire to take a new job which involved going into Nottingham University Archives. These cover the counties of Nottingham, Derby, and Leicester together with parts of Yorkshire. I also had access to the IGI. In a fit of enthusiasm I decided to check Ibbotsons in it. There are pages of them!! They were all over Yorkshire; in North Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, and just about all the other counties that you could think of, as well as some that you did not.

With my trusty computer - a 'steam version' by current standards - progress was made, albeit slowly. I had invested in copies of the IGI for IBBOTSON in my three 'home' counties and set to work making a list of local members of the clan. In a number of cases it was possible to even build up particular families. The big draw back was making sure that these copies included all members of the family. A comparison of the register extracts and the IGI lists showed that the latter lists did not include all who are mentioned in the church records. Another problem is the lack of burial records. 'Never mind', I told myself; 'I'll go to Sheffield on my day off'. But that did not happen.

At this point I fell by the wayside and it was to after I had moved south that I began again. It has turned out that now I can have no excuse for not following the original plan. I live less that a hundred yards from the local LDS Family History Center.

On visits to the PRO in London some years ago I discovered that there was plenty of information about Ibbotsons. It was with satisfaction that I found that much of it was found and recorded in five hefty volumes by a gentleman named Ronksley in preparation for a history of Bradfield. These notes were based on the research done by another gentleman named Wilson earlier in the Nineteenth Century. He updated the material with additional information around 1870. I believe he died before he started writing it. It is difficult to imagine how long it took both men to collect such a large amount of material. Apparently anything that they came across which referred to the Bradfield area was noted or collected. Also in the Sheffield Archives is a manuscript volume written by a man called Hill in which he listed all references that he found to people called Ibbotson in Bradfield Registers. I think that there are similar volumes for other surnames. All this material is on microfilm in the LDS archive. I have had a field day. Not only does the Ibbotson list given names, but it also gives locations in Bradfield Parish. Armed with this information I could now make a serious attempt to put our branch of the family on the map.

Over the past months I have enjoyed the delights of the Internet and the e-mail thanks to television. Now at last a good friend has pushed me into the Twenty-first Century with a more advanced all-singing, all-dancing computer. I bragged to another friend that it did everything but the washing-up; the comment was 'Do you propose to teach it to cook as well?' It must be admitted that it saves a great amount of legwork.

Regrettably for the past eighteen months our Family History Center has been closed whilst the Church was being refurbished and extensions added. As a result my transcriptions are on hold at present leaving a gap of about fifty years in my records. This is where the Internet is such a boon. It amazes me how many people are tracing Ibbotsons and how much material there is as a result of the research by these folk. One thing that I have become convinced by over the years is that research, in particular that dealing with history, is probably ninety-five percent nosiness and five percent knowing where to look. If you are involved you could qualify as a detective: Hercule Poirot's 'little grey cells' would be working overtime.

Do I have any conclusions? I most certainly do. Without casting aspersions on the Smith Family, I am convinced that the Joseph's, John's and Mary's of the Ibbotson tribe run them a close second. On occasion you find that one Ibbotson sire steps out of line and christens his offspring with a different name. For instance, the last 'Phillip' that I can find was christened about 1570 - I made sure that the date on my birth certificate was not that. I intend to carry on because it is fun and you meet up with such interesting folk. All offers of help have been gratefully received - despite the fact that I still owe some people a 'thank you' letter. It also keeps you off the streets.

2002 Phillip IBBOTSON