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Researching ones ancestry is very popular these days and the Internet has made the task much easier. This page is just an initial pointer for people who are making a start.  There is even a regular magazine devoted to Genealogy on the bookshelves these days. 

How to start ? You may be able to join a local Family History Federation.  See

A useful site for people starting out in Genealogy:

If you are searching for people who you think are alive take a look at Bob Rankin's page HERE for free search programs.

2021 : An up to date list of genealogy links fincludes the following, many including immigration lists from shipping companies  : and You can register free for a month

https://www.rootsweb.com,  This is the site organised my the Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons).  They have been researching the world's population for 125 years, wanting to record everyone who has ever lived ! Youtube at:

It is quite amazing how these have now developed and contain many details, including photos.  Some are completely free but you may have greater access if you pay.  The more family members contribute the easier it gets to build a tree. 

There is a 70 year restriction on the availability of Census information in the UK.  So the 1950 version will not be available until 2022

Have a look at the government site  This is the Family Record Centre at 1, Myddleton Street, London EC1R1UW.  It is better to concentrate on one specific 'root' name and try to track this back as far as you can.  In my case a great deal of the research was already completed and there is a five yearly reunion in the USA of people of the same name, all of whom who are related.

Here are some other suggestions how to go about tracing people, alive or dead.  First, try typing a name in various search engines such as Google, Safari or Firefox and look carefully at the links which are displayed.  Obviously if you enter a common name you will get offered thousands of links, many not related to genealogical records.  But, if you go through the list you will begin to find other people doing precisely what you are attempting to do.

People who are seriously interested in undertaking personal family history research may wish to consider contacting the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA) or the Association Of Professional Genealogists (APGN), who are able to advise on family history research and who have a list of recommended researchers.  

A while back a wrote a piece about The Borders (of England and Scotland) from where my ancestors came.  You can find it HERE

Genes Reunited also say "View over 200 million names in family trees and search over 515 million census and BMD records from 1841 in England and Wales."

There has been renewed interest in tracing money left by relatives.  The BBC site at has videos of the most recent programs.  The Government site on these unclaimed amounts is at Bona Vacantia means Vacant Goods, which, if unclaimed, goes to the crown.

Findmypast includes
USA mariages,
US census 1880,1919,1930 1940,
US Obituary notices
US passenger listand crew lists
Mexico Baptisms 1560 to 1950
England and Wales births 1538- to 2006
 England and Wales Deaths 1837 - 2007
England and Wales Electoral Registers 1929 to 1932
British and Irish Roots

... and many more pages

You can now search fully indexed birth records for on   Searches can be narrowed down to Counties in England and Wales.You can search before you join but to see a copy of a certificate you have to register with them.  Costs are from £40 to £150. They are also working on indexing marriage records.
 There are two type of record: a Transcript and an Original Schedule. There is a charge for viewing. Not all information is included in the transcript. For example the information against married women of the number of children in the current marriage can only be seen if you view the Original Schedule. You can purchase credits for Findmypast. Once you have bought the credits from the main Findmypast site, you can then use them on their 1911 census site, for viewing the transcriptions and the original schedules. Do not buy a subscription - initially, transcriptions and schedules can only be viewed using "PayAsYouGo" credits; they are not covered by the Findmypast subscription packages. Customers who are already registered on Findmypast will be able to enter their username and password and use any Findmypast credits across both sites, the existingi site and the new 1911 census site. Findmypast say that later the 1911 census will also appear on, which will then provide unlimited access to the records for a fixed annual fee but what's not clear is when that will happen; they say "later in 2009".

**Findmypast are still scanning and indexing records throughout the UK.

I hear that libraries usually have free access to the records of (which is virtually the same as ) So, if you want unlimited access do visit your local library.


People are becoming more interested in DNA testing and its relationship with genealogy.  Interesting information on this complex matter is held at various sites.  But, although it would be vaguely interesting to know what mix of blood I have, you may find that most sites are just keen to sell you a DNA test.  So I have deleted the remainder of this section
Another search service for people thought to be in the USA is A friend found a long lost sister and whole new family that way ! On another occasion I was able to put someone in touch with a firend 'somewhere in Alaska' !

Get a program. e.g. Family Tree Maker by Broderbund, Roots Magic 1, Brother's keeper, Heritage Family Tree, which can be bought on the net or from a computer store. There are many others.  Apart from the program, which should help you keep the data in order they mostly contain a large number of disks with millions of records, admittedly many are those from the U.S.A., where genealogy is particularly popular.  The programs will also point you to places on the 'net' where you can get more information.

A useful link for British oriented software, directories and stationery is is mainly for business networking and many are on the other side of the Atlantic.  It is free to join

The latest avaiable census is 1940. The entries for households on the census returns for 1851 to1940 have the following information  : Road, street, town or village∑ number or name of house; whether the house is inhabited or not; name and surname of each person; relation to Head of Family∑ Condition as to marriage; age last birthday; profession or occupation; whether employed or not; where born; whether deaf and dumb, blind, lunatic, imbecile or feeble-minded !

Each page of the census has been photographed and you can download these images, which cover the whole page from the census enumerator's book on which the individual's entry appears. Each image (in TIFF format) is about 250 kilobytes.

You can print an image but note that the images are large and print best on A3 size paper or you can place an order through the online service and a copy will be posted to you. The prints are A3 size and cost 50p each plus a charge for postage and packing.

Earlier censuses (1841 to 1891) are kept on microfilm  and are available at the Family Records Centre, Islington but local libraries and record offices usually have the returns for their local areas.

For Scotland look at (Many earlier records than 1855) (wills 1384-1858)  National Library of Scotland, Scottish Archive Network,

Northern Ireland is at
and (now leads to Findmypast)

You can try any of these: (has taken over a number of sites) £25 fee. Records from General Register Office and Overseas Indexes, Parish Registers, Military Records, Medical records, School Records. 3 billion names ! 18 countries Paid for GRO images  £5 for 3 months  1835 to 2005 (£5 for 3 months)  Subscription required. 1835 to 2005 (Findmypast again!). Records include 15,749,960 names within 97,614 passenger lists spanning 1890 to 1929
London Records The London Metropolitan Archives, 40, Northampton Road, EC1R 0HB has records of 800+ chapels and churches, Poor Law records, workhouses, school and electoral registers.  Many links to sites, mainly charging for information (Society of Genealogists) (both good for adoptees)  (Free!) USA, immigration but much more 
(for 1881)
(Public Records Office) is a government site which has access to archives dating back as far as the year 900 ! Holocaust victims :,  Commonwealth Graves Commission   (the massive Mormon register of the human race)
(paid search- USA)
www.british  (leads to White Pages USA)
(phone number, address, electoral roll) Buy credits for searches
(U.S. private phone numbers) (UK Electoral roll)
(USA people finder) Search on something like Nottinghamshire archives   (was the Public Records Office) Good starting point and FREE Now at Kew. Census, Slavery, Certificates, Wills as far back as 1384
www.Memorial (burials and graves included) small fee uk  Bath specific (Memorial inscriptions) Hertferdshire (Wills) Hampshire (Bristol, London, Hartlepool, Liverpool, Southampton)

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