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Basic Genealogy Guide

September 16,2021


Basic Genealogy Guide

What would you do if you wanted to make a family tree? You will google for an ancestor by typing the name, and you are bombarded with many sites. Some are free, some are pay-per-view, and some are subscription-based. You will be perplexed about where to start.

The net is information-rich, but at the same time, it will be challenging for you to realise which services can be of use to you. We must mention that most services paid for are worthwhile, but whether it is ideal for your need is to be seen. Let us look at some guidelines that can help you understand the whole thing better to go for the correct source of information in this regard.

When conducting genealogical research, you should remember that you must spend money on it.

A family tree cannot be built without the fundamental building blocks like various certificates; you have to pay for travelling to various archives, paying fees online, hiring researchers and paying for anything else you feel is necessary for your research to continue. You will end up burning a big hole in your pocket. There are plenty of reasons for the majority of genealogy researchers to go online.

Immense research material is available online, and new ones are added every other day. Search engines and databases make it easy to access information like never before. It only takes a couple of minutes to conduct searches that earlier would otherwise have taken weeks and sometimes even months. And certain times, it is easier and cheaper to search things at your pace and time online, rather than travelling to check archives. You will find that using online resources is cheap or even free at the archives. However, the question is: should you be spending that much to travel there and spend so much of your valuable time? And, after all, you still have to pay from your pocket for taking the photocopies.

Here's a list of free resources that experts frequently use in genealogy.

Free Med  is a site offering some indexes of birth, marriage, etc., in Britain. 

Family Search It's a vast global genealogy site that is run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Roots Web offers genealogy chat and other information concerning genealogy.

There is no guarantee that sites like these hold all the relevant information you need. So, how do you find out the sites needed to build your family tree, and how do you realise which sites you want to pay for? 

Selecting the website to build a family tree

When choosing a genealogical site, you should understand certain fundamental things that you need to understand.

Does the website contain the basic information required for genealogical research like birth, marriage, death, etc.? Without the relevant certificates, you won't be able to conduct your research.

Does the website provide information about what else is offered by them? Can the details of all the records held by the site be found, like how the records were created and how they are helpful to the researchers? The thing is that you might not be able to proceed successfully if you do not know how to go forward with the information you have received.

Can original documents (digital ones) be obtained or are only transcripts available? Looking at the original documentation in digital form is always better than reading some information provided by someone who has seen the original and copied from it. Specific sites only give indexes, and the copies of the original documents can be ordered depending on the documents you find. This is fine because you can verify the information provided for yourself when you receive the relevant document.

Are you satisfied with the charges? If you look at all the required information on the website, then it is in your better interest to subscribe to that site for a while so that you can look at all the documents as you like, any number of times, for the subscribed period. If you want to look at a few documents that you think are important for your study, the pay-per-view option, if available, will be perfect.

The following are some excellent websites that require payment: 

Family Relatives 

Find My Past

Genes Re-United


These sites include marriage, birth, and death indexes and census data for England and Wales as the name implies, has birth, marriage, and death indexes for Scotland, among other things. It also includes digitised images of Scotland's certificates and census results. 

Doing Detailed Research

Once your basic genealogy is done and you have designed a skeleton family tree, you can explore the specialised websites which contain information like military or employment records. To make use of the details provided on the website in the best possible manner, you must have some basic information in hand. For instance, if you do not know your grandfather's full name or birth date or the special force he had served in, there is no point in wasting money to get the full details about his military career. Without such fundamental information, you won't be able to identify your grandfather among those scores of men who have served in the military. Put, to get the optimal output from such websites; you must appropriately use them.

Now we will analyse the features that many of the best sites share and some questions that you may like to ask.

Can the information which is connected to your ancestor be obtained from the site? For instance, if your great grandfather served in the merchant navy, are records of sailors during that particular period available on the site?

Does the website have full descriptions of the records? Money should not be spent just to know whether you need to use the website or not. It will be a great help to you if the website explains the kinds of records available, what information you require to recognise your ancestors and the kind of all relevant details you can hope to find out about your ancestor. Go through the detailed description provided by the site so that you can check if it.

The digitised pictures of all those records will help you figure out the details about your ancestors.

Does the website give contact details for someone in charge of the site who can be contacted if you have any doubts?  

Below are some premium websites which could be used for research for specialised info by genealogists: 

National Archives:  It contains the World War I Campaign Medal index, various naval record collections, wills and more.

The Times Digital Archive. This is ideal for searching for your ancestors if they were pretty well-off, famous or notorious enough to be mentioned.

Also, keep in mind that certain specialised websites with helpful information are also free.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is one such resource that is well-known among genealogists. You can have all the information about army men who died during the World Wars. 

It is also true that you will not always locate what you are looking for in cyberspace. It's almost like going to the library; you may not always find what you're searching for. Not all the information is available online, and inevitably, you may end up at an archive looking for information. But, to start your search, the web is a good place and do not forget to look for sites that specialise in the area of genealogy you are interested in. 

Other Sites

There are websites for genealogists of various kinds, sizes, and descriptions; they include databases, assistance and support sites, discussion boards, general information, family tree display tools, and much more.

It would be best if you didn't have to pay for such sites unless the information you're looking for can only be found in a historical record. Some of the most popular features are typically found on subscription sites.

If you're stuck and need help getting to your next piece of information, check out the following free sites: 

Genuki It can be used as a reference site and is packed with valuable genealogical material, information and advice.

Cyndi's List: It is a genealogical gateway and contains loads of information and links to numerous websites.

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