My almost-housebound friend has family who are happy to look at subscriptions or vouchers for Christmas or birthday presents for their new genealogist Dad.
We looked at free websites last month. Another site to check for UK is www.ukbmd.org.uk – this lists the URLs for sites, by county, that might have information about our ancestors’ footprints (free and Pay2View). Of special note is an Index to events at some local Registrar’s. After July 1837, all births and deaths were (supposed to be) registered at the local office just as happens here. Then, on a regular basis, this information was sent to a central point and collated, and became the Registrar’s Index we now research (with lots of opportunity for errors and omissions – just like here!). In England, for some counties, volunteers have indexed the local Registration entries. Access to the Index is free. Once I find a likely entry, I go to Antony Lambert (www.c5d.co.uk – certificates in five days) to purchase a certificate and learn mother’s maiden names (on birth), father’s names (on marriages) etc (not nearly as much information as on the NZ & Australian certificates, but essential to have). The certificates are scanned and emailed, then posted.
Also watch out for OPC (www.onlineparishclerks.org.uk). Wonderful information for some parishes in the available counties – very much a work in progress.
Lots of choices for presents! Let’s look at what we would like to research – sites are listed alphabetically.
UK census: Ancestry, findmypast (all census), The Genealogist, Genes Reunited, Origins Network, Scotland’s People, 1901census (all but 1911).
Civil Registration: Ancestry, Family Relatives, findmypast, The Genealogist, Genes Reunited, Scotland’s People, 1901census.
Church or similar records, wills: Ancestry, Family Relatives, findmypast, The Genealogist, Origins Network, Scotland’s People.
Suggestions, hints and tips
If researching in Scotland, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk is a must. £6 for 30 credits, five credits for an extract (certificate). A gift certificate can be purchased for vouchers to use as required. Then there’s www.familyrelatives.com – great value for money (£30 per year); interesting records (UK and overseas) and worthwhile features. Also see www.genesreunited.com for ASDs (ancestors’ descendants’ siblings).
Findmypast (www.findmypast.co.uk), Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk), The Genealogist (www.thegenealogist.com) and Origins Network (www.originsnetwork.com) complement each other.
c. $100-$350 annual sub. Some good free indexes are at www.1901censusonline.com (vouchers only).
Watch for those offering: Fat Indexes (good choices of extracted information to search); Fat Search Engines (good choices of fields with no mandatory searches, eg: having to enter a surname); Fat Hits – good information so you can select, with some confidence, your John Smith!); access to images; column sort (most important – oldest to newest date, etc, sort Registration Districts, etc); searches and viewed images saved; good use of wild cards and/or soundex searches (so you can find Macdonalds/Mcdonalds, Ann/Anne/Annie, etc).
Take the free trials. Check with your local library, museum, NZSG (www.genealogy.org.nz) as they may have free access to Ancestry, findmypast and The Genealogist. Search at home, then view images at your library, etc.
Have fun with your Christmas presents!