Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Online Sources for English Research

I mentioned in an earlier post that I am putting together a new lecture entitled Online Sources for Western European Research. I will give it for the first time at the Fairfax Genealogical Society’s Spring Conference.

Well, I am STILL working on it. It is taking me a ridiculous amount of time because every time I visit a website to include in my lecture, I get sucked in…I want to make sure I’m familiar with the major record sources there. Then I want to make sure I know how to navigate it. Then I find a REALLY interesting set of records that I hadn’t used before and I get sidetracked. Before I know it I have about 20 screen shots from one website which will never work since I want to cover about 15 or so major website in under an hour without sounding like an auctioneer. So, then I have to go back and focus my comments to only the VERY most important parts of the website, which I find almost painful since I hate to cut out some of my other discoveries.

Right now, I am working on the section of the lecture that pertains to English records. I thought I’d share them here too:

Genuki: UK & Ireland Genealogy
This fabulous free site has an amazing amount of useful information for genealogists with UK or Irish roots. The site is broken down into countries, counties, and even towns.
What you’ll find:
*descriptions of records, links to websites, lists of useful resources and addresses, histories, and photos.
*a gazetteer with maps.

Free BMD
The founders of Free BMD undertook the noble project of transcribing the English and Welsh Civil Registration Index (of birth, marriage, and death records) and making it available online for free.
What you’ll find:
*Two hundred million total records online
*Indexes – not the actual records.
Related sites: www.freecen.org.uk (free census records, not currently being updated) and www.freereg.org.uk (free parish records, only a small percentage online)

Find my Past
Focused on English and Welsh families, this database has millions of records to help the family history researcher. You can buy a subscription or opt to pay as you go.
What you’ll find:
*index images of civil registration records (1837 to 2006), births and marriages are fully indexed, deaths are soon to come
*complete set of census records from 1841 to 1911, with images available
*migration records including 24 million people who left the UK from 1890 to 1960
*military records – the collection is strong in World War I and World War II records

I’m still working on a section for the Origins Network. They have a new National Wills Index, which is just getting started, but looks exciting. In the past, I thought one of their most important collections was the Boyd’s Marriage Index which indexed 3.5 million marriage records, held by the Society of Genealogists in London. I am confused by their site now and can’t figure out where it went. Can anyone out there enlighten me?

On an unrelated note, I would just like to add another thought to my previous Snow Days post. My children did not attend school last Friday either – for snow of course. When I woke up this morning, there was another two inches of snow, but school was not cancelled. And now, we are under another winter storm watch for a big storm coming in tomorrow evening, when of course my husband will be out of town again and I will be shoveling. I read that many cities (including Hartford and Boston) have already passed their normal average snowfall for the year. Not to sound like a snow hater (I am a winter hater, but not usually a snow hater), but enough already!

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