• 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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    Family History for Beginners

    DIY for you to trace your own family history.
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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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Old photos that have been stacked tend to stick to each other. When prying them apart, these photos can tear and be ruined. Humidity is the biggest detriment to old photographs. It causes the edges to curl and makes photos stick together. The sun can also damage old photos by fading them. Use these steps to restore your old photos.


Obtain a high-quality scanner.

  • The price of scanners has decreased considerably. You can buy a good-performance scanner for less than $100.
  • Clean the glass of the scanner to ensure it is dust-free.
  • Scan the photograph.<br><br>[[Image:Restore Old Photographs Step 2.jpg|center|550px]]
  • Choose a high-resolution scan sized to at least 100 percent. Going too much higher than 100 percent might cause blurring. Scan the image a couple times at different sizes to determine the best percentage.
  • Save the file as a tiff rather than a jpeg. The jpeg format tends to lose detail.
  •  Put the original photograph back in a safe location.

Open photo editing software. 

I use Adobe Photoshop.

  • Repair colour, brightness and contrast issues.
  • Open the basic editing levels in your editing software.
  • Play around with the sliders. Move the brightness level up to brighten a dark photo. Adjust the colours to remove a red tint. Bring up the contrast for washed-out photos.
  • Save each version you create under a different file name so you can compare later and choose the best restoration.
  • Fix scratches
  • Magnify the photo on a specific scratched area. Keep a window open of the whole photo so you can observe the changes made.
  • Open the "dust and scratches" filter and begin applying the cursor to scratched areas. Work slowly and check the image often. This filter tends to remove detail along with repairing scratches.
  • Fill in missing portions
  • Open the "clone stamp tool" on your editing software. It might have a different name depending on your particular software.
  • Select a portion of the photo you would like to clone. Click once.
  • Move the cursor to the area you would like to repair with the cloned material. Apply the detail carefully. Fill the area completely.
  • Adjust shadow detail with the shadow options on the clone stamp tool. Look at the image as a whole to determine if it looks natural before continuing.
  • Crop away torn edges with the crop tool.

Print the image.

  • Use an inkjet or special photo printer with glossy paper to print out your restored photograph.


  • If you perform an action by mistake or do not like something you've tried to repair go to "Edit" and select "Undo".
  • You can scan your photographs at a print and copy store relatively cheaply if you do not have access to a scanner.
  • Even if the photograph is in black and white, scan the image as a colour image to capture the nuances of the black and white.


  • Do not rip photos apart that are stuck together. Placing the group of photos in a bath of warm water for about an hour can loosen them without damaging the picture.
  • Restoring a photo that is severely damaged can be quite difficult. If more than half of a subject's face is damaged, you might not be able to repair it without the assistance of a professional.

News Flash

Convict Ancestors Case Study now available.

Edmund (Ned) Collins 1817-1862

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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