Here I shall describe some of the tools available for your research, and describe
some of the pros and cons in using them. Please take a look at the Links page for
a full list of online sources.
Familysearch / IGI- this is a great resource and you'll find you use this a lot,
however it is not complete - so don't rely on the fact a record is absent as proof
of something that has/hasn't happened.
Census records - very powerful for find people (in England/Wales) back to 1841, you
can use to determine where people were living, what their occupations were, as well
as getting clues for other aspect of life, e.g. you're trying to determine the maiden
names of an ancestor, from the wedding records you've narrowed it down to 2, you've
splashed out and ordered both marriage certificates, on one you realise that one
of the witnesses, sounds familiar and lived on the same street as your ancestor in
the 1861 census- bingo! Watch out for transcription errors. If you have a way of
backing up your census evidence, do so, just in case you find yourself following
a collection of cousins who share a set of family names.
Birth/marriage/death records - there is freeBMD which contains the registers for
England and Wales, but there are also regional registers which do contain more information,
e.g. mother's maiden name pre 1913. Bear in mind that these registers are not always
'google' and other internet search engines - these can help in other ways, you might
find other people researching your family, or other references to your family (e.g.
were they deported for some crime recorded in the Old Bailey records???)
Gravestones - Gravestone inscriptions often contain quite a lot of family information,
e.g. first son of xxx, husband of yyy. Many have been transcribed so a trip to the
local 'family history centre' may prove fruitful. Even a wander around the local
cemetery might yield some success
Family History Centres - There are more and more of these popping up around the
place and can be a great place if your researching that area. They often contain
info about local industry maps and may have an archive of photos to peruse.
Regional Record Offices - Here are kept many official records such as wills, records
of coroners reports, court barons, indentures etc. Though sometimes have limited