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Beginners => Family History Beginners Board => Topic started by: Berlin-Bob on Friday 15 May 09 18:26 BST (UK)

Title: Getting Started / Beginners Links
Post by: Berlin-Bob on Friday 15 May 09 18:26 BST (UK)
Getting Started:

A lot of the queries in this forum take the form of
"Can anyone give me some tips on getting started in Family History Research......"
type questions. 

We love to answer your questions but to avoid duplication of effort we have extracted
some answers provided by RootsChatters to give you some good general information.

1)   First steps   
.
2)   Finding Records 
.
2.1) BMD certificates
  Contents
  a) Birth certificates
  b) Marriage certificates
  c) Death certificates
  Ordering certificates from the GRO
  Some online sources
  Some offline sources   
  .
 
2.2) Parish Records
  Contents
  Some online sources
  Some offline sources   
  .
 
2.3) Census records
  Contents
  Some online sources
  Some offline sources 
  .
 
2.4) Other records
  Wills, Directories, Newspapers, etc
  Some online sources
  Some offline sources 
  .
 
3)   Some common abbreviations 
.
4)   Some Useful Links
.


Many, many thanks to all the RootsChatters who have provide the material gathered here :)

This is a "work in progress" :) 
We will be adding to this (as time permits)

The RootsChat Moderating Team
Title: Re: Getting Started / Beginners Links
Post by: Berlin-Bob on Friday 15 May 09 18:26 BST (UK)
1) First steps

First of all, find out as much as you can from your family about your family.

The golden rules are:-

Get as much info from your relatives as possible, drag the old photos out sit and reminisce.  Sometimes there are blockers or red herrings.  People don't always want to talk - tact needs to be used, talk about places rather than people.

Keep a note of EVERYTHING never dismiss anything, you may forget a connection later on.  Often old family friends, marriage witnesses etc turn out to be related.

Work backwards if you have an unusual name to follow that can make it easier but beware of the Smiths & Jones.


Then, to find out more, Use the RootsChat forum :)
 
The best thing to do in this site is take a look around first.  Here is a "guided tour:"


Title: Re: Getting Started / Beginners Links
Post by: Berlin-Bob on Friday 15 May 09 18:27 BST (UK)
reserved for expansion :)
Title: Re: Getting Started / Beginners Links
Post by: Berlin-Bob on Friday 15 May 09 18:27 BST (UK)
2) Finding Records:

The most important Family History records are the Birth, Marriage and Death (BMD) certificates, Census records and Parish Registers.

Restrictions on newer records mean that to use online or public domain resources you have to know who you are looking for in at least 1911 (or, even better, in 1901). 

If you don't know this already, and you cannot ask them, then your parents' birth certificates will give you the names of their parents (your grandparents) or their marriage certificates will give you the names of their fathers (your two grandfathers).  Using these you can work backwards.

Once you get back to 1911 you can use the census records, going back to 1841, to search for more about your ancestors.

This topic will continue with details records of available for England and Wales.

If you are searching in Scotland, then see the
Topic: Where to start with Scottish Research? (http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php/topic,24468.0.html)  on the Scotland - General (http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php/board,84.0.html) board.

If you are searching in Ireland, then see some of the sticky topics at the top of  the Ireland - General (http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php/board,50.0.html) board.

If you are searching in Other Countries, then see the tips and hints on the different country boards in the "Research in Other Countries" category.

Title: Re: Getting Started / Beginners Links
Post by: Berlin-Bob on Friday 15 May 09 18:28 BST (UK)
Birth, Marriage and Death (BMD) certificates

Birth, Marriage and Death certificates (Civil Registration) were introduced in England & Wales in 1837.


[descriptions to come]


There is a very good tutorial on certificates, with comprehensive details of the information contained on them. 
It can be found at:
http://home.clara.net/dixons/Certificates/indexbd.htm

Some Online sources
freeBMD
OPC
UKBMD
FindMyPast
Ancestry


Some Offline sources
TNA
Registry Offices



Ordering Certificates online

For certificate ordering online:
http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/default.asp

You will need the year and quarter, the volume and the page number which you will be able to get from this site if the event took place between 1837 and about 1930 - note that the indexes are not yet complete:
http://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl

[reference checking]

The index is arranged in alphabetical order within each of the 4 quarters of the year
March quarter = January, February and March
June quarter = April, May, June
September quarter = July, August, September
December quarter October, November, December

Note that if the event took place at the end of a quarter it may be registered in the next quarter (including the next year).
Title: Re: Getting Started / Beginners Links
Post by: Berlin-Bob on Friday 15 May 09 18:28 BST (UK)
reserved for expansion :)
Title: Re: Getting Started / Beginners Links
Post by: Berlin-Bob on Friday 15 May 09 18:29 BST (UK)
Parish Records
(Searching for records before 1837)

Once you have exhausted the census and GRO information, you will be heading into the parish records (Parish Registers)of the past.

Here is some basic information on what you expect to find when searching.

Before Civil Registration was introduced in England and Wales in 1837, birth, marriage and death certificates DID NOT exist.  Baptisms, marriages and burials were recorded in parish registers.  The information that may be found at various dates is set out below.

Baptisms 1813-1837

There were entered into pre-printed registers in accordance with George Rose's Act of 1812 , eight entries per page.  There were 7 columns:
When baptised
Child's Christian Name
Parents Name - Christian
      Surname
Abode
Quality, Trade or Profession
By whom the ceremony was performed

Some Vicars and curates included the date of birth in the first column, but not always.
Some vicars and curates included the maiden name of the mother, but not always.

Baptisms before 1813

These were entered as a chronological list and the "format" varied according to the person keeping the register.  Sometimes it would clearly be divided into months but they could all just run into one another.  A typical entry might read:
March
2 John the son of William Smith and Mary his wife was baptised.
or
March
2 Mary the daughter of Thomas Brown blacksmith and Elizabeth his wife was baptised.

The earlier the date, the less likely you are to find the wife's name given.  You may find a clue as to where they lived e.g. the name of a farm, but it cannot be guaranteed.

Burials 1813-1837

These were entered into pre-printed registers in accordance with George Rose's Act of 1812, eight entries per page.
There were five columns.

Name
Abode
When buried
Age
By whom the ceremony was performed

There may be additional comments under the name e.g. a foundling; found drowned in the river; by order of the Coroner

There is unlikely to be any information as to the deceased's relatives.

Burials pre-1812

Like baptisms at this time, these are likely to be entered as just a chronological list.  Ages are rarely shown, but there may be other useful clues e.g. a child; an infant; widow of John Smith.  It may also include where they came from, if it was another parish or they had died in the workhouse.

Marriages 1754 - 1837

In accordance with Hardwicke's Marriage Act of 1754, marriages were entered into pre-printed registers, three entries to a page.  The format was as follows - the words in italics are the sort of thing that would be filled in by the officiating minister

John Brown of  this Parish
bachelor/widower
and Sarah Smith of Newtown Parish
spinster/widow
were married in this Church by Banns with the consent of
...................................................this twenty-first day of
September  in the year One thousand seven ( or eight) hundred and ninety-seven
By me James Long Vicar
This marriage was solemnised between us   ) John Brown
                  ) Sarah Smith her mark X
In the presence of   ) William Brown
         ) Thomas Heath


Marriages pre-1754

These would be entered in chronological order in a very simple way. e.g.

William Taylor and Sarah Elliot were married May 10

The year would be entered only when the new year started.

Before the introduction of printed registers, you will probably find that the parish registers are general ones i.e. baptisms, marriages and burials all entered into the same book.  The baptism entries may all be together at the front while the burials are at the back.  It could have been divided into sections.
Some early registers are very messy!  :-\

Some Online sources:
freeREG
OPC
familysearch (IGI)
familysearch labs

Some Offline sources
TNA
County archives, Heritage Centres
____________________________________________

Summary.

BMD certificates, census records and parish registers are all possibilities for tracing your ancestors.

But be warned:
If some "facts" don't seem to fit, then remember, that the information you are seeing might not
necessarily be true; this was only what was told to the recorder :(

see Topic: Understanding Family History Documentation - Some Notes
http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php/topic,134370.0.html


You can find many topics on Births (http://surname.rootschat.com/lexicon/reflib-lexicon.php?category=Birth), Marriages (http://surname.rootschat.com/lexicon/reflib-lexicon.php?category=Marriage),  Deaths (http://surname.rootschat.com/lexicon/reflib-lexicon.php?category=Death) in the
RootsChat Reference Library (http://surname.rootschat.com/lexicon/index.php) => Lexicon (click here) (http://surname.rootschat.com/lexicon/reflib-lexicon.php?letter=A)
Title: Re: Getting Started / Beginners Links
Post by: Berlin-Bob on Friday 15 May 09 18:30 BST (UK)
Census Records


http://www.familyrecords.gov.uk/frc/pdfs/census_returns.pdf

A fact sheet explaining the census.
It also gives the dates that the various censuses were taken and the levels of information likely to be found in each return

eg birth places were recorded as Scotland (S) Ireland (I) or Foreign Parts (F)



Some Online sources
freeCEN
OPC
FindMyPast
Ancestry
1901census
1911census
familysearch (1881)

Some Offline sources
TNA, Kew
Libraries


You can find many topics on Censuses (http://surname.rootschat.com/lexicon/reflib-lexicon.php?category=Census) in the
RootsChat Reference Library (http://surname.rootschat.com/lexicon/index.php) => Lexicon (click here) (http://surname.rootschat.com/lexicon/reflib-lexicon.php?letter=A)
Title: Re: Getting Started / Beginners Links
Post by: Berlin-Bob on Friday 15 May 09 18:32 BST (UK)
Other Records

Wills, Directories, Newspapers, etc

Divorce records

  Some online sources
    google books

  Some offline sources 


Title: Re: Getting Started / Beginners Links
Post by: Berlin-Bob on Friday 15 May 09 18:33 BST (UK)
3) Some Common Abbreviations


In genealogy, as in every area, there are many abbreviations used, which you will soon become familiar with.

BMDBirths Marriages & Deaths
GROGeneral Register Office
order certificates online at http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificate/index.asp#0
GROSGeneral Register Office for Scotland
search & view certificates, Scottish wills (to 1901), census and OPR baptism & marriage entries online at: 
http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
NASNational Archives of Scotland - home page: http://www.nas.gov.uk/ 
Online Public Access Catalogue     http://www.rootschat.com/links/0z7/   
LDS(Church of Jesus Christ and) Latter Day Saints (Mormon church)
TNAThe National Archives (formerly  PRO) online at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
PROPublic Record Office (old name for the National Archives)
PRONIPublic Record Office of Northern Ireland
web site http://www.proni.gov.uk/
CRO   County Record Office
LMALondon Metropolitan Archives
http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/leisure_heritage/libraries_archives_museums_galleries/lma/lma.htm
FFHSFederation of Family History Societies
web site http://www.ffhs.org.uk
IGIInternational Genealogical Index
available on microfiche at many record offices and libraries. 
Also available online at http://www.familysearch.org
BVRI2British Isles Vital Record Index 2nd edition
available on CD from LDS church. complements the IGI
NBI2National Burial Index 2nd edition
available from the Federation of Family History Societies
OPCOnline Parish Clerk.  See "Useful Links" for more details.


Other abbreviations which may need some explaining:

CMBChristenings Marriages & Burials - used for the "all in one registers" found most often pre 1754
otpof this parish
otspof the same parish
BTsBishops Transcripts
MI   Memorial Inscription (or Marriage Index)
AdmonLetters of Administration
MSOccupation: Male Servant;  Name: maiden surname
FSFemale Servant
Jin conjunction with an occupation tends to mean Journeyman
RDRegistration District
EDEnumeration District (census)
PCCPrerogative Court of Canterbury (probate of wills pre 1858)
PCYPrerogative Court of York (probate of wills pre 1858)

You can find lots more abbreviations in the
RootsChat Reference Library (http://surname.rootschat.com/lexicon/index.php) => Lexicon (click here) (http://surname.rootschat.com/lexicon/reflib-lexicon.php)

Title: Re: Getting Started / Beginners Links
Post by: Berlin-Bob on Friday 15 May 09 18:33 BST (UK)
4) Some Useful Links

Here are some of the web-links you will meet most frequently. 
In the first column is the name they are most frequently known by.

freeBMD http://www.freebmd.org.uk
Quote from: website
FreeBMD is an ongoing project, the aim of which is to transcribe the Civil Registration index of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales, and to provide free Internet access to the transcribed records. It is a part of the FreeUKGEN family, which also includes FreeCEN (Census data) and FreeREG (Parish Registers).
.
freeCEN http://www.freecen.org.uk
Quote from: website
This project aims to provide a "free-to-view" online searchable database of the 19th century UK census returns.
.
freeREG http://www.freereg.org.uk/
Quote from: website
Our objective is to provide free Internet searches of baptism, marriage, and burial records, that have been transcribed from parish and non-conformist registers of the U.K.
.
UkBMD http://www.ukbmd.org.uk/
(http://www.cheshirebmd.org.uk/images/ukbmdsm.gif)
Quote from: website
This site provides 1304 links to web sites that offer on-line transcriptions of UK births, marriages, deaths and censuses. A wide range of other indexes and transcriptions are also available for most counties, these may include parish records, wills, monumental inscriptions etc.
.
Barbara-Dixon's
BMD site
http://home.clara.net/dixons/Certificates/indexbd.htm
England and Wales Birth, Marriage, and Death Certificate Information
.
OPCsOnline Parish Clerks
Quote from: website
An Online Parish Clerk (OPC) researches all the available historical data they can find on a parish, records are transcribed, and in order to promote further private research, are made FREELY available to any researcher.  An OPC is a volunteer and should not be confused with the civil Parish Clerk appointed by a Parish Council.
See Topic: Online Parish Clerks - OPC
http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php/topic,46825.0.html
for links to OPCs for various counties.
.
FindMyPast/FindMyPasthttp://www.findmypast.com
.
Ancestry
http://www.ancestry.com
http://www.ancestry.co.uk
http://www.ancestry.co.au
http://www.ancestry.co.de
.
1901 Censushttp://www.1901censusonline.com/
.
1911 Censushttp://www.1911census.co.uk/
.
1881 Censushttp://www.familysearch.org/eng/search/frameset_search.asp?PAGE=census/search_census.asp
.
IGIInternational Genealogical Index at FamilySearch - IGI
http://www.familysearch.org/eng/search/frameset_search.asp?PAGE=igi/search_IGI.asp&clear_form=true
.
The National Archives/TNAwww.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ 
.

.

Title: Re: Getting Started / Beginners Links
Post by: Berlin-Bob on Friday 15 May 09 18:34 BST (UK)
You can find find these links and more in the RootsChat Reference Library (http://surname.rootschat.com/lexicon/index.php) => Useful Links (click here) (http://surname.rootschat.com/lexicon/reflib-useful-links.php?letter=A)
(Tip: click on a category - on the right - for related topics)

And you can also find many more links on the Useful Links (http://) board, in the following topics:


Title: Starting ancestry research! useful links
Post by: dobfarm on Friday 03 September 10 22:33 BST (UK)
Starting point

http://www.familysearch.org/eng/default.asp

http://pilot.familysearch.org/recordsearch/start.html#start

http://www.archives.wyjs.org.uk/wyjs-archives-collections-guides.asp

http://www.calmview.eu/WY/dserve.exe?dsqApp=Archive&dsqDb=Catalog&search=advanced&dsqCmd=Search.tcl

http://www.ukbmd.org.uk/index.php?county=140&form_action=county&classification=256

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~hughwallis/
...................................................................................
Use the London website for LDS number and view at the yours nearest LDS library

enter any parish

http://www.londonfhc.org/

http://www.familysearch.org/eng/library/FHC/frameset_fhc.asp?PAGE=library_fhc_find.asp
____________________________________________________________________________________________-
http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/Misc/Maps/ParishMaps.html

http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/churchdb/
.........................................................................................

Wills and  Marriage by licence bond allegations

http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/bihr/
 
Just Wills

http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/bihr/

http://www.originsnetwork.com/help/aboutNWI-ymed.aspx

http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/Misc/Docs/YINDEX.txt
..........................................................................................
Odds & sods
http://www.durtnall.org.uk/DEEDSIndex.html

http://www.icmacentre.ac.uk/soldier/database/index.php

http://www.historytoherstory.org.uk/



http://www.genuki.org.uk/search/

http://www.archive.org/

http://www.archive.org/stream/monumentalotheri00cros/monumentalotheri00cros_djvu.txt



Moderator Comment: topics merged