Author Topic: Getting Started / Beginners Links  (Read 52391 times)

Offline Berlin-Bob

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Getting Started / Beginners Links
« 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
Any UK Census Data included in this post is Crown Copyright (see: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk)

My research interests (and data found) can be seen on my website:   http://www.margulies-chronicles.com/

RootsChat is the busiest, largest free family history forum site in the country. It is completely free to use. Register now.
Also register instantly with Facebook or Twitter (and other social networks). Start your genealogy search now.


Offline Berlin-Bob

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Re: Getting Started / Beginners Links
« Reply #1 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:"
  • Look around the Beginners Forum.  Explore the sticky topics gathered together at the top of the board.

  • Look around the Census and Resource Discussion Forum.   Explore some of the links given at the top of the board and read some of the topics.  There are some fascinating stories there and some heartening success stories.

  • Explore the Common Room.  Get an idea of the range of questions asked, and the answers given.

  • Explore the "Some Special Interests" boards
    This is the place you will find some of the more specialist information
    such as advice on Armed Forces and Military RecordsProfessions and Occupations or Travelling People

  • Look at the relevant Country and County forums. If you know what areas you are interested in you will find some information here. Each country/county board has either a sub-board, or sticky topics at the head of the board, with useful links and information relevant to that area.

  • Ask questions,  lots of them.  This is the key on Rootschat,  there are lots of friendly people who are just waiting to help you  ;D.  We were all beginners once,  and everyone knows what it is to find themselves stuck at a Brick Wall.

    By the way, RootsChat is a forum for finding ancestors, not living relatives.
    There are some tips here on the Help-pages for this:
    http://www.rootschat.com/help/posting_guide.php#living


Any UK Census Data included in this post is Crown Copyright (see: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk)

My research interests (and data found) can be seen on my website:   http://www.margulies-chronicles.com/

RootsChat is the busiest, largest free family history forum site in the country. It is completely free to use. Register now.
Also register instantly with Facebook or Twitter (and other social networks). Start your genealogy search now.


Offline Berlin-Bob

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Re: Getting Started / Beginners Links
« Reply #2 on: Friday 15 May 09 18:27 BST (UK) »
reserved for expansion :)
Any UK Census Data included in this post is Crown Copyright (see: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk)

My research interests (and data found) can be seen on my website:   http://www.margulies-chronicles.com/

Offline Berlin-Bob

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Re: Getting Started / Beginners Links
« Reply #3 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?  on the Scotland - General board.

If you are searching in Ireland, then see some of the sticky topics at the top of  the Ireland - General 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.

Any UK Census Data included in this post is Crown Copyright (see: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk)

My research interests (and data found) can be seen on my website:   http://www.margulies-chronicles.com/

Offline Berlin-Bob

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Re: Getting Started / Beginners Links
« Reply #4 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).
Any UK Census Data included in this post is Crown Copyright (see: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk)

My research interests (and data found) can be seen on my website:   http://www.margulies-chronicles.com/

Offline Berlin-Bob

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Re: Getting Started / Beginners Links
« Reply #5 on: Friday 15 May 09 18:28 BST (UK) »
reserved for expansion :)
Any UK Census Data included in this post is Crown Copyright (see: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk)

My research interests (and data found) can be seen on my website:   http://www.margulies-chronicles.com/

Offline Berlin-Bob

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Re: Getting Started / Beginners Links
« Reply #6 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, MarriagesDeaths in the
RootsChat Reference Library => Lexicon (click here)
Any UK Census Data included in this post is Crown Copyright (see: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk)

My research interests (and data found) can be seen on my website:   http://www.margulies-chronicles.com/

Offline Berlin-Bob

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Re: Getting Started / Beginners Links
« Reply #7 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 in the
RootsChat Reference Library => Lexicon (click here)
Any UK Census Data included in this post is Crown Copyright (see: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk)

My research interests (and data found) can be seen on my website:   http://www.margulies-chronicles.com/

Offline Berlin-Bob

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Re: Getting Started / Beginners Links
« Reply #8 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 


Any UK Census Data included in this post is Crown Copyright (see: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk)

My research interests (and data found) can be seen on my website:   http://www.margulies-chronicles.com/