Begin Researching Your Family|
There is a huge amount of information available online for someone researching their family history. Before starting your search you need some basic information.
Make notes about yourself and then work backwards.
• Is your given name one that runs in the family?
• Is one of your given names a surname from an ancestor?
• Do you have a nickname? If so why?
• When and where were you born?
• Where have you lived?
• What are your earliest memories?
• Which schools did you attend?
• Did you go to college or university? What did you study?
• Did you have any special achievements?
• Have you done any military service?
• What is your job?
Fill in a simple genealogical chart with the rest of your family back as far as you can remember and where possible speak to older family members for more information. Remember though that they may not recall names and places accurately and be sensitive with your questions. Whilst we in the twenty-first century may be delighted to find a scandal in the family some older people may be reluctant to talk about it.
You will now be ready to make a start. Choose an unusual family surname if possible and follow that line. Leave the Smith, Jones and Davies families until you feel more confident!
Your three most useful sources will be the Census from 1841 to 1911, Parish Registers and Birth Marriage and Death index from 1837 when civil registration started.
The Census is available on the Ancestry website which is available to use in Frome library free of charge www.ancestry.com This covers the Census from 1841 to 1911 as well as a wealth of other information.
Births, Marriages and Deaths otherwise known as the General Record Office index are available from a free website that you can access on your home computer www.freebmd.org.uk There is a chart on the website to show how far the coverage has progressed but you can be fairly confident of finding all nineteenth century records and a great many from the first half of the twentieth century. BMD's are also available on Ancestry. Up until the middle of the nineteen eighties the records were listed quarterly, March, June, September and December. The date is that of the registration, not the actual event, so a child born in December 1900 may not have been registered until January 1901 and would appear in the March quarter for that year.
Parish Registers are available from the Mormon site but are not complete. It may be necessary to visit the library or record office in the district where your ancestors came from to view the Parish Registers but try www.familysearch.org you may be lucky. This is a free website that you can access at home or alternatively try www.freereg.org.uk
For military history try the Commonwealth War Grave Commission website, www.cwgc.org for details of both civilians and military personnel killed during both world wars and details of the cemetery where they are commemorated. This is a free website available from home. www.ancestry.com has military service records with a great deal of detail where they have survived but 60% were destroyed in the blitz during the second world war.
Finally it is always worth doing a "Google" search for a name or a place that you are looking for. Obviously if you are looking for someone with a common name you are not likely to succeed but, if for example, you have traced your family to a particular village, try searching on that village. Someone may have transcribed the Parish Registers and put them on a website.