Frequently Asked Questions

If you have never used this new Web-Site before then you will not have an existing Username and Password, even if you are an existing Member. You will need to register via "Create new account" with a Username of your own choosing (that hasn't already been taken) and Password, during the registration process you will be asked if you wish to link to your existing Society Membership.
If you have definitely registered on this new Web-Site previously, but have forgotten your password, then click on "Request new password" and use your existing username or email address when filling in the form, you will then automatically be sent a new password.

By registering we are able to limit the amount of Spam that appears on the Forum, also it means that next time you login, you will see which Postings have been updated, meaning you don't have to look at them all to find out which have been added to since you last looked.

In registering you are not joining the Society, you are just creating a new Username to link together all of your postings, however if you are an existing Member, when registering you will be offered the chance to link to your Society Membership.

Once we have the next phase of the Web-Site there will be Members Only Areas.

Start with yourself, add your family, your parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc., in fact, any relatives you can remember. Question older relatives, who can be invaluable in providing knowledge of ancestors you may not know of or have forgotten.

In England and Wales people have been able to register births, marriages and deaths since 1 July 1837. Certificates of events occurring from this date can be obtained from local Register Offices or the Registrar General ( You can search the General Register Office (GRO) indexes to these registrations at some local libraries and record offices who have copies in microform. Several commercial companies provide online digitised images of the index page for free or for a fee (see our Useful Websites page).

A birth certificate usually names both parents, including the mother's maiden surname. Knowing both parents' full names, you can search the indexes for a reference to their marriage. A marriage certificate usually supplies the names of the fathers of both parties. Simple steps like these can take your line well back into the nineteenth century.

1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911 which has been released early. Details such as age, occupation and place of birth may be found on the census returns for 1851 and after. The 1841 census omits place of birth and relationships.

A complete set for England and Wales is housed at The National Archives, Kew. Additionally, those pertaining to your area may be found at your local record office, library or family history society. Census indexes are also available online from commercial firms and images may be downloaded for a fee, or free in your local library (excludes 1911 census).

Now, you will be largely dependent on the church (or parish) registers. These registers were introduced in 1538 and contain baptisms and burials (as distinct from births and deaths) and, of course, marriages. Although many early registers have been lost over the years, a surprising number still exist.

Today, very few registers, other than those which are still in use, are held at churches. Many of the registers have been filmed and copies are widely available; ask at the relevant county record office or local studies library, or your nearest Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) Family History Centre. In addition to the registers, from 1598 parish priests had to send to their bishop an 'annual return', a copy of the register, known as a Bishops' Transcript. Those that still exist can be very useful in supplying entries omitted from the register or replacing a missing register.

The IGI, or International Genealogical Index, is an index to about 800 million births, baptisms and marriages from around the world. The index is produced by the LDS, and is available in many libraries and record offices, and in the Church's own Family History Centres. It can also be found online at

Wills and administrations, proved in England and Wales from 1858 are available at the Principal Registry of the Family Division, First Avenue House, 42-49 High Holborn, London WC1V 6NP. Indexes can also be found at several record offices and libraries elsewhere. Before 1858 there was no national probate registry and research is more complicated as a result.

There are many other sources which you can search, far too many to list here. There are a number of useful books and magazines that may help, so ask at your local library. Many local family history societies publish a selection of modestly priced books and CDs to help you with both your research and the location of source material. A comprehensive range is available from GENfair: visit the online catalogue on the

Try the Workers' Educational Association and your Local Education Authority, both of which arrange adult classes. If none is available then why not ask if classes in this subject can be arranged. See also our page on Genealogy Courses.

They are groups of family historians who have an interest in a particular geographical area, such as a county, or live in that area. There are also special interest societies, for example a specific surname. You should definitely join your local society

Most societies hold regular meetings - go along to these and join in their activities. You may also find it useful to become a member of those societies covering the areas in which your ancestors once lived. All societies produce journals and these will describe local records and history. Many societies run very informative websites. Their Members might be able to help with particular 'local research' problems, for example by visiting the churchyard to read your grandfather's gravestone for you! Belonging to a family history society will also enable you to contact others who are tracing the same surname that you are, in the area where your ancestor lived.

Most societies have websites you can link to. Those that are members of the Federation are listed on this site (see Contacting our Members), or a printed list can be requested from The Administrator, Federation of Family History Societies, PO BOX 8857, Lutterworth, LE17 9BJ

Many family history societies publish directories of Members' Interests. You can also purchase international directories, such as the Genealogical Research Directory, or search the internet, and there are a number of books available advising you how to do this.