Friday, 15 July 2016

Online Resources for Family History Research

Nowadays most family tree research is done online but if you are new to family research where do you start? There are lots of resources from parish records to phone directories. Many of the very best sites cost money, either pay as you go or a subscription and however you do your family research it will cost money, either in subscriptions, buying certificates or travelling to the location to search the archives. Even if you are lucky enough to live close to the archives relevant to your tree you will need to pay for photocopying. There are also many free websites too.

If you are new where do you start? First you can download my free word doc Online Resources for Family History Research with links to the sites I regularly use. 

My list is not an exhaustive list by any means it is just to get you started. Almost every time I search for something I seem to find amazing websites that are new to me and as I find them I will add them to my file.

A lot of sites will host your family tree for free but you have to subscribe or pay per view to access the records they hold. Many give a free trial and this is definitely worth taking up to find the site you like.

I use most of these sites myself and pay for my own subscriptions. Many of the popular websites have free weekends too so keep a lookout for those. In the UK access is free to some sites at your local library, so check their website for details. 

Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates

Just a quick tip. Many websites offer a service where you can order certificates through their site. It is a very expensive way to buy certificates. If you have a subscription first check whether that site has digitised images of the originals. For example have the London Metropolitan Archives collection which include many digitalised images from London's parish records.

If not then go directly to GOV.UK and order from there. All the information you need can be found for free on FreeBMD website. Remember that certificates in England and Wales only began in 1837 so before that you need to search parish registers.

I hope you find my list useful and any suggestions of websites to add please let me know in the comments. If you'd like to read more tips for beginners then click on the tree below or the Family Tree tab above.


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