• Sources of UK Records

    Most of the records hat we have had to access in tracing our ancestors have come from England, Scotland and ireland. 
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    The Secrets under grandma's bed

    Family documents are an important source of information.  They may be well filed and organised, or you may come across them in shoeboxes, in cases on top of wardrobes or buried in old chests of drawers.
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    Bringing old photos back to life

    Old photographs are delicate objects. If they haven't been preserved properly, it is likely that they will have incurred some damage between the time they were taken and now.
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    Network of family members

    Use a Family and Home Information Sources Checklist as a guide to sources of information you might find in your home or the home of a relative.
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  • Scottish Records

    If you’ve got Scottish ancestors then you’re in luck because Scotland is a world-leader in providing family history information online.
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    Irish records

    If your ancestors are Irish, you might need to become a good detective.  Better still, if you can, talk to your Granny! She'll start you off in the right place.
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    Genealogy for Beginners

    DIY for you to trace your own family tree.
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    Locate your first primary source

    The most important sources are eye-witness and official documents.  The best first Primary Source is your grandparent's death certificate. It's a Gold Mine!!
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  • How to trace your ancestors

    Getting started is the biggest hurdle. Here's an easy guide to get you going.
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    Collecting evidence

    The best place to start collecting evidence is with the family. Especially the elders.
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    Bigger than you think

    Be warned. Once you start you'll be hooked forever! I had to learn to eat the elephant one toenail at a time.
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    Record keeping

    It's important to have some sort of order and indexing method for keeping your family records.  If not, you'll never be able to out the pieces of the puzzle together.
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I use a folder/s with dividers - one for each surname in alphabetical order. Plastic sleeves are useful here. Keep copies of any documents - do not carry around the originals which should be kept in a very safe place.

Start by printing (photocopy enlarging if necessary) and then filling in a "Pedigree Chart"

 You will need two copies of the chart if you are doing both your own and spouse's families. I always use capitals for SURNAMES as sometimes they can be confused with given names.

On the first chart;

  1. Start with yourself at Number 1. (add in your spouse's name)
  2. Your father (No. 2) and mother (No. 3)
  3. The four sets of grandparents and so on.

Then proceed to make 'Family Group Record'  this is where you start with the parents and add in all the siblings.


  • Always file your lists under the SURNAMES.
  • Women are always recorded under their maiden name. Though when looking in census records (like 1881 and 1901) work out whether they were married then - if they were they will be under their married name there.
  • Remember that research can usually only be done on folk over 100 years old. If you do not know someone's age estimate it (but mark it as an 'estimate only') - it usually works on average that the age at marriage is 25 for males and 20 for females.
  • Marriages are usually 1-2 years before the birth of the 1st child


There is a purpose to our research

    "You are our living link to the past. Tell your grandchildren the story of the struggles waged, at home and abroad. Of sacrifices made for freedom's sake. And tell them your own story as well — because[everybody] has a story to tell." George H.W. Bush
In a complex, mobile society like ours, life's tapestry gets shredded. The continuity of our lives is ripped by transience and fragmentation. Community is fragile, torn, scattered. Our need to examine and to share our stories is vital--for our own mental health, for our relationships and our cohesiveness in community, and for the good of a future that can learn from our past.Dolly Bertholot

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