Tuesday, May 07, 2013

A Treasure Trove for British Research

by Claire V. Brisson-Banks, BS, MLIS, AG®

Conducting British research has been made easier through the varied resources of FamilySearch. Today’s scope of outreach is amplified through Facebook’s England Genealogy Research page along with those who answer questions through Skype’s online outreach and FamilySearch’s Community Tools.

Add the vast numbers of Family History Centers across the globe and the Family History Library located in Salt Lake City and one has access to millions of records in combination with research experts to aid them with their ancestral research.

To top this off is the actual website,, which has millions of records online for individuals to access from the comfort of their own home. As of the time of writing this blog, there are 102 collections listed under the United Kingdom and Ireland. The categories listed are:

• Census and Lists
• Birth, Marriage and Death
• Probate and Court
• Military
• Other (School Records, Workhouse Records, some electoral records, etc.)

This is just the beginning of exploring the vast resources available, as additional records are on microfilm and microfiche, books, CDs, scanned online books and the additional databases made available through contracts with Ancestry, FindMyPast, BritishOrigins, TheGenealogist, The London Times, and the 19th Century British Library Newspapers for the focus on British research.

If one is just beginning it can be overwhelming to have so many resources available at one’s fingertips, whether online or at a microfilm reader. To aid this process, there are individuals who will provide anyone with guidance regardless of their level of expertise. From the simplest census record to a 17th century probate record in Latin, all is readily available for all who are searching for those elusive ancestors.

The FamilySearch Research Wiki is also available for those who wish to do some prep work before delving into the Family History realm. The section on England covers England as a country and burrows down to the county and parish level as well as specific subject areas pertinent to British research.

There are also some great instructional videos to help with learning about specific record sets. There are 27 videos to help with England research and 63 for the United Kingdom to date. For those just beginning, the Getting Started video is the perfect place to begin. For the seasoned researcher, there are videos to help with probate records along with a host of other difficult topics with more on the horizon. In fact two amazing videos are by Tom Jones entitled Principles for Beginning Genealogy and Inferential Genealogy.

Researching at the Family History Library is a truly amazing and unforgettable experience, from the record accessibility to the expert research assistance, however, with technology and the great organized outreach, it is now possible to locate one’s ancestors, share their stories and pictures and help connect families throughout the world.

©2013, copyright International Society for British Genealogy and Family History

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