The free genealogy site is a free genealogy listings site encompassing a huge range of genealogy related articles, hobbies, help and guide sections and much more. Updated daily with helpful advice, surnames, articles and links all dedicated to the online genealogy and ancestry sector, searching for that missing family history fact or just thinking about starting your family tree has never been easier . It's all here so search away and make sure to check out the latest special FREE databases
Is Facebook putting some of its applications on double secret probation?
Facebook suspended several applications supplied by third-party vendors, including genealogy services. Facebook sent email messages to the respective developers, "Your application contains ads that link to landing pages completely unrelated to the content in the ad and thus are misleading." Among those affected were FamilyLink's We're Related, which has 20.4 million monthly active users, and Familybuilder's Family Tree, which has 5.3 million, according to Inside Facebook.
Familybuilder CEO Ilya Nikolayev told Inside Facebook the company received no warning before Family Tree was suspended, adding that the ad in question was traced to one ad network and to users in Canada, and saying the company would have turned off all of its ads in order to find the objectionable one, but it was never given the chance.
Inside Facebook also pointed to a post by Paul Jeffries, head of Facebook's Platform Policy team, on the social-networking site's Developer Forums, outlining its policies.
When to Hire a Professional Genealogist
by Myra Vanderpool Gormley
Finding a Genealogist that Suits Your Needs
- There's more to finding a professional genealogist than just opening the phone book. Learn how to find the best possible help with your research.
Some hobbyists successfully research their family trees without any professional assistance. However, most of us do not have the time, money or expertise to pursue personally all of the sources that might be available or needed to find our entangled roots and sprawling branches. As a result, the time may come when you will seek the assistance of a professional genealogist.
How do you know when? Since each research project is unique, it is impossible to say exactly when. However, you might need to hire a pro, if you:
* Do not have time to do the research yourself
* Do not have the necessary genealogical research skills * Do not have access to the records in a particular locality * Do not know what records exist that might offer a solution to your research problem * Cannot read the language in which the records are recorded * Have a reached a dead-end or brick wall * Need specific on-site research * Desire consultation on how to solve a research problem or extend a line * Need help writing, editing or publishing your genealogy * Want on-site photographs, videos and/or oral interviews with distant family members * Need help with adoption/birth parent research projects * Wish to locate living family members
* Are not familiar with records pertaining to a particular ethnic group
Consider the fact that we all have 16 great-grandparents, and they all have families whose branches go every which way. These ancestors probably came from diverse geographical areas, time periods, and possibly belonged to a variety of ethnic groups. It is the rare genealogist who is able to do all this research without help.
Keep in mind that no one can tell you in advance how many hours of research will be required on any of your lines, or that they can find your ancestors quickly. Each family is unique. No ethical professional genealogist will guarantee to find your ancestors either. When you hire a professional genealogist you are paying for her or his time and expertise, not for positive results of a search. It takes just as much time to discover your ancestor is not mentioned in a particular record as it does to learn he is recorded there.
Once you have obtained names of professional who work in the area or category in which you need assistance, you may wish to contact several to find the one who best meets your needs and who has the time to accept the commission. Let the researcher know what you want and agree upon time limit, costs and when reports will be provided. In this country, anyone can call themselves a professional genealogist, but there are some organizations who test applicants and whose members agree to abide by a code of ethics. Moreover, some professional groups offer arbitration services to resolve any differences that might arise between the client and the professional.
A missing grandfather upsets Kim Cattrall more than she expected
Kim Cattrall is best known for her role as Samantha from Sex and the City. Itís why sheís hugely popular both here and in the US. But surprisingly, Kim isnít American but actually English/Canadian, and it was her English roots that most intrigued her when she began Who Do You Think You Are?
During the programme, Kim solves the 70-year-old mystery surrounding her Grandfather's disappearance. He simply left when her mother was eight and vanished. With painstaking attention to detail, the team find out why, but itís not easy for Kim when she discovers the truth. It upsets her and affects her mother and aunts. She feels itís changed her family and even though itís not good news, they are all relieved to know at last, and very glad the truth is out.
Watch Kim Cattral on Who Do You Think You Are? this 9pm, BBC1, 12th August.
The Latest WhoDoYouThinkYouAre series is airing on BBC again much to Free Genealogy's delight.
Six top class celebrities will trace their family trees again in the latest series of Who Do You Think You Are? to reveal the lives of their ancestors and explore a range of ancestrial themes through British social history.
In the nest episode, on TV Wednesday 9pm, funny man and comedian David Mitchell goes in search of his Scottish ancestrial roots. David knows that the Mitchells were wealthy sheep farmers in Sutherland. For almost a hundred years, three generations of the family held Ribigill farm, but mysteriously gave up the lease in 1933. David wants to know why they abandoned a sheep farming tradition that went back so many years. He also wants to find out whether his family were involved in the notorious Highland Clearances.
David is also eager to learn more about a further branch of his Scottish family heritage - the Forbes. Using a book written by his great-great-grandfather Alexander Forbes as the starting point for his investigation, David travels to the Isle of Skye. The trail leads to Alexander's father, John Forbes, a Church of Scotland minister on the island in the nineteenth century. David is delighted to discover that his ancestor was something of a local hero. Not only did John Forbes work tirelessly on behalf of his parishioners, he also became involved in helping to rescue some girls from his parish who had been trafficked to work in a mill in Manchester.
Like every Family History David's story takes an unexpected turn when he discovers some old church papers and John Forbes's will. These documents reveal another, more disturbing side to his ancestor's character... Watch the series to find out more this Wednesday on BBC1 and how, with the help of sites like www.findmypast.com and www.ancestry.co.uk you can build your family tree today.
About 800 pages of the world's oldest surviving Bible have been pieced together and published on the Internet for the first time, experts in Britain said Monday.
The Codex Sinaiticus, written in Greek on parchment leaves in the fourth century, is available online in a project involving institutions in Britain, Germany, Egypt and Russia which held different parts of the ancient book.
As part of the four-year joint project, digital photographs have been taken of the reunited manuscript, allowing scholars worldwide to research in-depth the Greek text, the British Library in London said.
The library, which holds a large chunk of the Bible, also opened an exhibit Monday that includes artefacts linked to the manuscript to coincide with its online launch.
"The Codex Sinaiticus is one of the world's greatest written treasures," said Scot McKendrick, head of Western manuscripts at the British Library.
"This 1600-year-old manuscript offers a window into the development of early Christianity and first-hand evidence of how the text of the Bible was transmitted from generation to generation," he said.
Originally 1,460 pages long and measuring 16 inches (40 centimetres) by 14 inches, the manuscript was handwritten by a number of scribes around the time of Constantine the Great who died in 337, experts said.
The manuscript, which was revised and corrected over the centuries, lay undisturbed in a monastery in Sinai in Egypt until it was found by a German professor in the mid-1800s and handed to Russia's Tsar Alexander II.
Britain later bought most of the book from the Soviet Union in the 1930s, while Egypt kept still more pages found in the monastery in 1975.
Professor David Parker, whose team made the electronic transcription of the manuscript, said the Internet project proved challenging with some of the pages in poor condition.
"The process of deciphering and transcribing the fragile pages of an ancient text containing over 650,000 words is a huge challenge, which has taken nearly four years," said Parker from the University of Birmingham.
"The digital images of the virtual manuscript show the beauty of the original and readers are even able to see the difference in handwriting between the different scribes who copied the text," he said.
MyHeritage launches a new version of its photo service, making it easier for families to share, organize and present their photos online
In the new version of its photo service, MyHeritage improves its photo offering by letting consumers share family photos from mobile devices or by email. This allows them to capture family moments and share them as they happen. The groundbreaking photo tagging technology developed by MyHeritage became much faster in the new version and received a brand new interface. A variety of slideshow formats were added to make the best display for family photos and offer beautiful new ways of sharing them with family members.
“Now you can simply attach photos and videos to an email and send them directly to your family site. They are safely stored, easily accessible to your loved ones and don’t clog up any email inbox. Best of all, the email upload also works from any mobile device. Everybody in the family knows how to use email.”
MyHeritage can be accessed through the Web site or by downloading a simple piece of software
called Family Tree Builder, which is free of charge.
www.Ancestry.co.uk Marks Milestone in User-Generated Family History Content
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The following announcement was written by The Generations Network (TGN), parent company of www.Ancestry.co.uk:
Members Add More Than 1 Billion People and 10 Million Family Trees to the Web Site in Less than Three Years
PROVO, Utah, May 12 -- Ancestry.co.uk, the world's largest online family history resource, today announced that its members have added more than 1 billion people to more than 10 million user-generated family trees on the site since the tree-building and -sharing tools debuted in July 2006. Within just the last two years, members have more than tripled the number of people and family trees, and Ancestry.co.uk members continue to benefit from the site's content.
"We are excited about this milestone because it means more success for our members," said Tim Sullivan, CEO of The Generations Network, parent company of Ancestry.com. "As the number of family trees grows, more people are uncovering historical records and meeting distant cousins who may provide missing pieces in their family story. We will continue to improve our member's experience and provide them with the new records and tools they need to make these types of family history discoveries, share their findings and connect with people all over the world." READ MORE at the Free Genealogy Blog
Big news! The 1911 census England, Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands is now available online. The following announcement was written by Findmypast.com:
* Online access to the records of 36 million people in 1911
* Major new family history resource
36 million people were recorded in the census taken on the night of Sunday, 2 April, 1911. Today, after nearly 100 years, these census records are available to the public at www.1911census.co.uk.
The census covered England, Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, as well as recording those aboard Royal Naval and Merchant vessels at sea and in foreign ports and, for the first time in a British census, full details of British Army personnel and their families in military establishments overseas. It is the most detailed census since UK records began and the first for which the original census schedules have been preserved - complete with our ancestors' own handwriting - providing a fascinating insight into British society nearly a century ago.
From today over 27 million people's census entries - 80 per cent of the English records - will be available. A further nine million records of people from the remaining counties of England, Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, as well as the naval and overseas military records, will be made available over the coming months.
Read more about what FindMyPast have to say about the 1911 Census and what Free Genealogy thinks - 1911 Census Article
GenealogyFlow - The latest Genealogy site to launch might bring a smile to your face. GenealogyFlow.com is a new site launched for people to exchange and point your attention to genealogy related articles, content and anything else family history related on the web that you might otherwise never find.
Simple to use without the need to sign up (although if you don't you can't get a link back to your site) GenealogyFlow brings a refreshing angle to those who can't get enough of genealogy. Sign up for RSS feeds to your site to keep even more up to date or simply graze the site blogs for something of interest. Check out the free to use site GenealogyFlow.comhere
This wonderful 19th century domestic bible provides you with a fantastic insight into how our ancestors ran their households and cared for their families and at the same time demonstrates the extent to which domestic life has evolved over the last 150 years. Click Here
The Royal Aero Club members’ index cards, 1910-1950, and associated photographs are original documents that are stored on behalf of the Royal Aero Club Trust at the Royal Air Force Museum Archive at Hendon.
This collection is unique and represents the pioneer aviators of the early 20th Century, many of whom were instrumental in the founding of the Royal Flying Corps and its successor the Royal Air Force which was founded in April 1918.
The collection is in good order although album no. 4 is missing. The Royal Aero Club Trust is hoping to fill this gap from the index cards when all are digitised.
What do they contain? How many records are there in the collection?
The collection contains an estimated 28,000 index cards with information on the front of each card. There is information for one pilot per card and roughly 40% have an associated photograph on the back of the card. There are also 34 albums organised by certificate number containing 13,000 photographs of pilots. These photographs are arranged four to a page. The collection therefore comprises of approximately 61,000 images, counting the front and back of the index cards separately.
How can the records be searched?
They can be searched by forename, surname, date or place of birth or by the certificate number.
Which areas do the records cover?
The majority of the people in the records are British but there are many different nationalities from all over the world including Poland, Russia, United States, Egypt and France.
Are there any famous or notorious people in the records?
There are many famous pioneer aviators, both men and women, as well as many different nationalities listed in the collection. For example;
John Theodore Cuthbert Moore-Brabazon, pioneer aviator and motorist who contributed to the development of aerial photography while serving with the Royal Flying Corps during WW1. In 1909 Brabazon made the first authenticated powered flight by a Briton in Britain. He also made the first live cargo flight at Muswell Manor, tying a bucket under his aeroplane and putting a live pig inside it. Subsequently he was given pilot’s licence No. 1.
Charles Rolls, co-founder of Rolls Royce and The Royal Aero Club. He was the second person to be licensed by the club. In 1903 he received the Gordon Bennett Gold Medal for the longest single flight time and in 1910 he made the fastest non-stop double crossing of the English Channel in 95 minutes. Later that year he became the first Briton to be killed in an air crash when the tail broke off his Wright Flyer at Bournemouth.
Sir Thomas Octave Murdoch Sopwith, pioneering aviator and celebrated yachtsman. In 1910 Sopwith won a £4,000 prize for making the longest flight from England to the Continent in a British-built aircraft, achieving 169 miles in 3 hours and 40 minutes. In June 1912 he set up The Sopwith Aviation Company which was responsible for key WW1 aircraft such as the Sopwith Camel. Knighted in 1953, his 100th birthday was marked by a fly-pass of military aircraft over his home. Sopwith died January 27 1989 aged 101.
Ancestry.com. Royal Aero Club Certificates, 1910 – 1950 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2008. Original data: The Royal Aero Club Trust, in the care of the Royal Air Force Museum Archive, Hendon, England.
Where did my ancestors live? Did they stay in the UK or emigrate overseas? What did they do for a living?
These questions will be familiar to many, irrespective of whether you’re just starting out or are already some way into your family research. Well, now you can discover these and many more fascinating facts relating to your ancestors and their surnames by using Ancestry’s latest Family Facts features - FREE.
For example, did you know that Turner means a maker of wooden, bone or metal objects, or even a an official in charge of tournaments in the Middle ages as well as a guard in a watch tower in Southern Germany?
Nearly 30% of all turners in England and Wales were living in either Lancashire or Yorkshire around the turn of the 20th Century.
The reasons we get involved in family history research are as varied as our ancestors. However, if you’re considering family history as a hobby, you may want to look at the following list of basic reasons for getting involved in it. If three or more of these reasons catch your interest, congratulations—you may have found a wonderful new hobby in researching your ancestry.
1. Genealogy helps us understand who we are and where we come from. We live in such a fractured world today that many of us are removed from our true roots. Genealogy can connect us to those roots via our ancestors and help us develop links to our often varied cultural heritages.
2. Genealogy offers us an opportunity to connect with current family members. While time separates us from our ancestors, distance often separates us from our living relatives. But as we gather information on our ancestors, we may also discover that other family members are looking for the same ancestors or that our relatives hold information that could prove useful in our research. Either way, genealogy is a great way to reconnect ones ancestry.
3. Genealogy is an excellent cross-generational activity. As adults, we may be curious about our family’s past, but children often have an even greater curiosity. And children love hearing stories about their family from a grandparent.
4. Genealogy is an excellent way to gather information on recurring family health issues. As the number of diseases with possible genetic connections continues to grow, family history research provides a wonderful opportunity to build a medical pedigree detailing health conditions prevalent in our families—something that may one day prove lifesaving.
5. Genealogy research can result in a useful body of information that can be passed on to others. Whether members of your family’s current generations are interested in the family history, it is almost certain that descendants in future generations will want to know more about their heritage.
6. Genealogy offers an opportunity to travel. Traveling to an ancestral homeland can be stimulating, emotional, educational, and most of all, fun.
7. Genealogy is a great application for the home computer. Whether using the Internet to research ancestors, using computer software programs to organize and store family history information, or using e-mail to contact other researchers and family members, the marriage between the computer and genealogy is a match made in heaven.
8. Genealogy is a stimulating activity that keeps us thinking. And as we all get older, finding new activities to keep our brains firing is very important.
9. Genealogy is a flexible hobby. Regard-less of our other interests, genealogy can fit into almost any schedule. We can devote a lot of time or a little time to pursuing our ancestors.
10. Genealogy leads to a better appreciation of history. Once we discover that we had ancestors living in a particular place at a particular time, the history of that place and time takes on a whole new meaning.
Digging into one’s ancestral past can be both interesting and rewarding. You never know what you will unearth. Maybe you will find connections to aristocracy, famous historical figures or rich merchants. Or that on the murkier side your great grandfather was illegitimate, and you are descended from convicts whose crimes could have ranged from being a petty thief to a murderer.
Leicestershire Library Services now offers all library members a chance to search the popular amateur genealogy website - Ancestry Library Edition for FREE. Click here to read more
News just in. Ancestry.co.uk, the online family history site, have recently released new search functionality to help increase chances of finding your own ancestry. Here's the low down on the changes that have been made to help simplify your genealogy searches:
1. Refine Search
Easily add information or remove it from your search – no more scrolling to the bottom of the page to do this
Narrow your search by new, better organized content categories and subcategories. Great for those of us who are searching records sets other than Census returns
3. Matching Person
Get the best matches possible from family trees on Ancestry. A nice to have option where you can find whole family trees of your relatives
4. Record Preview
Hover over a search result to preview more detailed information without having to click on the result. Saves time instead of previoulsy having to click through to look at results
5. Image Snapshots
View sections of newspaper and journal images highlighting your search terms to see whether a match is relevant
6. Photo Results
See thumbnails of photos in your search results. A new addition that is a growing theme in searching your Ancestry and building out your family tree
7. Record Counts
Quickly learn how many matches you have. Less is more often good!
8. Site-wide Search
Search all of Ancestry at once without sacrificing a thing – and find photos, historical records, newspapers and histories all on the same page in a simpler, easier-to-read layout
Further benefits to the new Ancestry search functionality are -
# Type-ahead Tools
Type information into a search field and Ancestry will forecast what you’re typing and fill in the remaining fields based on information already in your family tree
# 2 Advanced Search Options
Narrow your search with advanced search options that make sure your results exactly match the terms you’ve specified
# 3 Powerful Filters
Easily browse titles in Ancestry's card catalog by filtering a title’s category, location and/or date simultaneously
# 4 Sorting
Sort the list of titles you’re interested in alphabetically, by the date it was added or last updated, by popularity or by size
# 5 Keyword Search
Find a specific title on Ancestry using keywords
Ancestry gives you access to historical records with information on over 6 billion people. These rich collections include photographs, memoirs, maps, census documents, family trees and detailed records about births, marriages, deaths, military service, immigration, land ownership and much more. Try using the new Ancestry search functionality today - Click Here
NBC is to make a US version of the hit BBC genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?, which will be co-executive produced by Friends star Lisa Kudrow.
The US network has ordered a series of the format from its UK producer Wall to Wall, which was recently bought by Shed, the company behind Footballers' Wives and Rock Rivals, although it is thought to be dependent on finding suitable celebrities to appear in it.
Producers are researching the family trees of several interested candidates to see if they have compelling enough backgrounds.
In the UK version, which began life on BBC2 before transferring to BBC1, celebrities ranging from Natasha Kaplinsky and Jeremy Paxman to Stephen Fry and Moira Stuart have taken part.
A little information goes a long way in the hunt for genealogy sites. That's why we at Free Genealogy have made a list of the top 10 sites to help you research your family history.
Millions of records from England, Scotland and Wales are available online in the form of digital images or transcriptions. These can be found on literally hundreds of helpful genealogy Web sites, but the following ten sites are especially popular for their wide variety of useful records and information for anyone researching British ancestry.
A large portion of the Civil Registration Index of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales have been transcribed by volunteers and can be searched online for free at FreeBMD. Images of many of the original BMD indexes can also be viewed. Be sure to click on the page number when searching for marriages, to view a list of potential spouses. And once your research takes you back past the onset of civil registration in 1837, check out FreeREG for a companion project of transcribed parish registers.
2. Ancestry.co.uk (or Ancestry.com)
Ancestry offers online access to digitized images of all census returns from 1841 to 1901 for England, Wales, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man, and are in the process of adding these for Scotland as well. Other available records for British genealogy include early parish registers and a copy of the FreeBMD database mentioned above. You can access these records through a World Membership at Ancestry.com, or purchase UK only access for a monthly or annual subscription fee. For research in their British records they also offer limited pay-per-view access, which isn't an option in the American-based Ancestry.com.
3. Scotlands People
I could only wish that other regions had as much available online as Scotland. Through Scotlands People you can access online indexes to births, marriages and deaths from 1 January 1855, as well as images of the actual records on a pay-per-view basis. They also have all census records for Scotland from 1841-1901, old parish registers of baptisms and marriages from 1553-1854, and Wills and Testaments held by the National Archives of Scotland. This is the type of site that really fulfills my need for instant gratification!
4. National Archives of England & Wales
The National Archives offers a wide variety of digitized public records including Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) wills from 1384 to 1858, WWI Campaign medals, service registers of Royal Navy Seamen (1873-1923), the Domesday Book, and census returns for England and Wales, 1841-1901. In general, index searches are free and you pay individually for each document you choose to download and view.
5. The International Genealogical Index (IGI)
This huge (and FREE) database from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) contains numerous baptisms and marriages transcribed directly from parish records around England and Wales. Check the source to see if the information was taken from the original parish records, Bishops Transcripts, or was provided by a church member researching his/her own family history. Most of these parish records are from the 1850s and earlier.
6. The Genealogist
Pay-per-view all-inclusive subscriptions are inexpensive here, and the credits are good for up to three months or a year, depending on the subscription you choose. This site from S&N Genealogy Supplies offers excellent value for its wealth of genealogy databases, including the full BMD index (births, marriages, and deaths), census records, parish registers, directories, and a variety of specialty databases. The BMD site (www.bmdindex.co.uk) is also affiliated, as is the volunteer indexing site UK Indexer (www.ukindexer.co.uk).
7. Find My Past
Previously known as 1837online.com, this Web site offers pay-per-view and subscription access to the Civil Registration Index for England & Wales, census records, city directories, and their most unique database - Passenger Lists of Ships Leaving the UK (1890-1919 presently available).
8. British Origins
British Origins offers a number of records not available on other sites, including access to some of the records of the Society of Genealogists. I also applaud them for their search, which allows you to search for similiar sounding first names as well as last names. This is a good site to search after you've exhausted the BMD and census sites - for wills, marriage records, court records, apprenticeship records, maps, and other goodies. This is a subscription-based site, not pay-per view - with monthly and annual options. A Origins Total Access subscription also includes access to Scots Origin (which doesn't offer very much) and Irish Origins (which does have some good records for Irish researchers).
9. Roots UK
If you're just starting out in your family history research and are unsure about plunking down money for an annual subscription-based site, then RootsUK offers an inexpensive pay-per-view service based on the indexes and records of S&N Genealogy Supplies (which also operates subscription-based site, The Genealogist, listed above). It offers clean, user-friendly navigation and an inexpensive way to look at just a few records. Once you're hooked and find yourself doing a lot of online British research, you'll likely find a better value with an all-inclusive subscription site, however.
10. Family History Online
The Federation of Family History Societies publishes a variety of online indexes on this portal site. The data, including the National Burial Index as well as local indexes to everything from baptisms to census records, is available on a pay-per-view basis at very reasonable prices. The available data varies widely by county, so check the list of available databases before you subscribe.
Collecting non-written records - Some basic hints to get you on your way with Genealogy and Family History.
1. Relatives, especially elderly ones, can be goldmines of information: seek them out and ask as many questions of them as you can.
2. Be polite and give them time to answer your questions. Face-to-face interviews are best but use the post or telephone if necessary- or e-mail, if they have it!
3. Ask structured questions, seeking (where known) names, dates of birth, marriage and death, places where they took place and occupations- but also ask for any interesting stories.
4. A trick for jogging the memory of someone who says they cannot remember something you want to know is to suggest an answer you know is wrong- it’s amazing how quickly they may contradict you.
5. Don’t just seek out older relations. Younger ones may remember things told them by deceased relatives, and they may also have old family papers.
6. Ask relatives you interview for contact details of others, enabling you network outwards.
7. Use websites like Genes Reunited to find possible new relatives and let their leads help you in your own research.
Hot of the press new databases have been found and detailed down for the Free Genealogy users. Searching for Family Reunion sites Irish Clans or Scottish Clan websites then search no further. Family Reunion sites have slipped there way into genealogy lately and are becoming increasily more popular. Search through a couple yourslef and make your own mind up. As for the Irish and Scottish Clan websites - gold dust to anyone searching their Irish or Scottish roots. Click here to search through the sites
Among the reams of data the U.S. Census Bureau collects and generates from the national census is a list of the most popular names in the United States. Now you can find out just how common your name is. That even includes your first name since there are three listings available: by surname, by male first name and by female first name.
I checked and found that (yup, you guessed it) Smith is the most popular name in the United States out of the 88,799 surnames listed. I also checked my first name for popularity. You can do this too at:
10 Questions to ask a research facility before you visit
Whether you're planning a trip to the State Historical Society, the Family History Library, the National Archives or the local courthouse, it pays to be prepared. Avoid frustration and increase your research time by asking these 10 questions in advance of your visit.
A census is an official enumeration of the population in a particular area. In addition to counting the inhabitants of an area, the census generally collects other vital information, such as names, ages, citizenship status, and ethnic background. Each census can prove to be invaluable in painting a portrait of a family at a particular place and time.
Civil vital records—for Births, Marriage and Deaths —mark the milestones of our lives, and are the foundation of family history research. Chronicling the personal moments of our lives through the objective perspective of the public record, vital records can offer details often found through no other genealogical resource. They can be useful in proving or disproving other sources, give you a more complete picture of your ancestor, help you distinguish between two people with the same name, and help you find clues to earlier life events.
With these records, you can gain access to information regarding your ancestor's lives, such as the locations and causes of their deaths, the names of children or parents, their wedding dates and locations, and the many other details that help us record and remember the important moments in the lives of our families.
Some of the cemetery records included are tombstone inscriptions, burial permits, and death indexes. These records usually show names, birth and death dates; sometimes, they include information on surviving family members.
Genealogy is the study of family history. Genealogists investigate the history of individual families. This is done by professionals and amateurs on a number of different levels. Genealogy is increasingly popular today and as a result there are an increasing number of resources from a variety of sources. When researching a family you can go as far back in time as you wish and gather as much or as little information as you like. You can also organise the presentation in various forms such as the traditional family tree or a family diary. Various books and websites give you information on how to do this, ways to research and also where you can source information.
There are a number of online resources that you can access that have databases with a variety of information. You can access the Census Online, for example, which gives details dating back to the 1840s of all persons registered in Britain. There are other means of accessing information such as Local Records offices, family members and library resources. Records Offices contain similar information to the census online which gives births, deaths and marriages and will often verify this information.
As for beginning this ambitious project of researching your own family your best bet is to get a good book to start you off. There are several good books on the market that show you how to get started. `Genealogy Online for Dummies` by Matthew and April Helm gives a step by step guide on how to start and develop your research. Unlike other books which categorise the different sources of information or topics this book clearly outlines how to begin, record information as you continue and how to use the internet as a research tool.
Another useful book for those interested in using the internet as a means of sourcing information is a very comprehensive guide called `Cyndi`s List- Cyndi Howell`s 70,000 links to Genealogy.` Howell` book lists all the sites that you can visit and in what way they are useful. Looking through this book is actually quicker than searching on the internet for all the relevant sites yourself and it also contains a lot that you never even knew existed, yet is often relevant.
If you want to know how to organise your findings effectively and properly then check out `Evidence, Citation and Analysis`. This book by expert genealogist Elizabeth Shown Mills shows you how to document and present properly. It also looks at how to draw sound conclusions even from evidence that might be limited. This enables you to avoid some of the pitfalls and mistakes made when researching. It is useful for both beginners and experts.
`How to do Everything with your Genealogy ` by George C Morgan is a more general guide to the subject and covers more specifically how to conduct research and where to look both on and offline for various sources. Another useful more general guide is Stella Colwell`s `Tracing your Family History- Teach Yourself` which empowers those new to genealogy giving them the skills and tools necessary to conduct their own family history. You can look up a variety of genealogy guides through Book Scanning online or going to your local library.