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Genealogy Hints & Help



Starting your family history

If you haven't already done so the first place to start your family history research is your own family members. They may have passed away, if this is the case ask their children what they remember or if they have any documents such as birth, marriage or death certificates. Photocopy as much as possible so you have your own record to refer back to. Date each item with the date and details of where you obtained them.

Dating each item is really important as it gives you a guide when in a few years you look back at that scrap piece of paper and can't remember if the information on it is new or old.!

Ask your family questions about their life, where they were born, where they grew up, where they got married, had children etc. Find out from them the places they've worked and what life was like. Ask if they can remember their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and in some cases great grandparents taking note of where they were born, grew up, died etc. It can be helpful to record the conversations using a dictaphone but always get permission from them first.

I have found the most important information to genealogy research is where people were born, lived, married, died and the dates relevant to these events are extremely useful. Also a little about their jobs and dates of where they worked, specific places will help when using census records.

Use a new sheet of paper and list all the births, marriage, you would like to find; ie
Margaret jones b. about 1900 in Midlands
James Roper and Margaret Jones m. about 1930 in Chessire

This will give you a basis to go looking on the website, a FREE records of births, marriages & deaths in uk, enter in the information ie Margaret Jones in the birth put from 1880 to 1920 as you know she was married about 1930 from the marriage information you collected! In area select West Midlands, then try Warwickshire. Eventually you may come up with more than one Margaret Jones! In this case I would wait and order the marriage certificate first as there's less likely a double with two names involved. So look at the marriage records from about 1910 to 1940 and cross reference using the little numbers by the sides of the results you should find that the partner is listed.

Then wait for that certificate to pop through the post, it's so interesting to read, take in what jobs they had, where they were living, who the parents were and what their jobs were etc.

As you go further back it does get a lot harder as records weren't kept so well or documented in one place. If you would like me to help with your research click here for more information on the costs involved. Research



Go to this will take you to the mormon's website where they have lots of references stored for FREE. It is produced in US so remember to whittle down your searches as much as possible, of course there's always the possibility as you go back that your ancestors went over to US so don't close all the doors!

The mormons hold the following;
IGI - International Genealogy Index
Census - 1881 uk, 1880 US and 1881 Canada

I find one of the best ways for looks ups is to write lists of those I want to find before actually putting any information in, so I'd put;

1881 census look ups
Jo Saunders b. 1876 lived near London
Peter Mills b. 1820 lived near Scotland

Note: make sure the people on your list would have been alive for that search it's no good searching for someone who was born in 1882 or 1780 on the 1881 census they wouldn't be there! It's no good searching for marriage records if the person was 11 or 80! It's easily done by mistake - usually because it's so easy to Get lost in Genealogy!

If you would like me to help with your research click here for more information on the costs involved. Research

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Organizing your genealogy research project

The hardest thing with family research is keeping your information orderly and easy to find. I have a folder for each of my grandparents surnames and I store all copies of certificates (never originals) in the back, all census / IGI records at the front and any other information in the middle, so that I can easily find something. Within these sections I try as much as possible to keep surnames together but It's difficult with marriages.

Keep computer files and folders well labeled all together so that you can easily find them.

Double check and double check everything, one mistake can make a huge difference to a search, I've spent hours looking for someone only to find I had already found them a few months/years earlier!!!

Always write the date and place where you obtained the piece of information from on every single piece of paper/reference material or copy so that you know which is the latest version.

If you would like me to help with your research click here for more information on the costs involved. Research

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Useful free genealogy stuff!

Free downloadable forms and sheets to help keep your data together, because as you start collecting more and more information it's hard to keep it all in order. Print them up double sided to get the most benefit.

Census information sheet

Abreviations used in genealogy:
b. = birth
m. = marriage
d. = death
c. = christened or baptised
o. = occupation

visit for free births, marriages & deaths, it's just the records but you
need that to send off for certificates. is a free census project it is still in the beginning stages, if you visit
the transcribers pages you can see what percentage of the census are available you
may just strike lucky! is still very much at the beginning stages there are hardly any records at prescent but again you may just strike lucky and as it develops there will be more and more.

A helpful list of old occupations follow this link very useful

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What is Pedigree & Descendent?

Pedigree; is parentage only ie your parents, their parents and their parents etc.
This Tree goes back from yourself or the person you have chosen.
ie. Myself, my parents, my great grandparents etc.

Descendent; includes siblings and comes down from yourself or the person you have chosen,
ie. Myself, my children, my grandchildren etc.


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last updated August 25, 2011