Researching your family tree

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Researching your family tree

Postby Northern Lass » Mon Dec 15, 2008 8:58 pm

Researching your Family Tree

(Courtesy of Dudley Archives and Local History Service)

Before visiting a Record Office

1. Talk to your relatives to get as much information about
your ancestors as possible, e.g. names, where they lived

2. Collect documentary evidence and memorabilia, e.g.
family bible, certificates, memorial cards, photos

3. Read a manual on basic sources

4. Prepare a basic family tree with what you have already
found out

5. Contact the record office for the area your family came
from, to find out details of opening hours, sources held and
booking procedures

Some words of advice

1. Start with yourself and work backwards, step by step

2. Record all the information you find and note its source,
with any references

3. Remember that documents may be difficult to trace, may
not have survived and may not contain all of the
information you want - old records were not produced
with the needs of family historians in mind!

Beginning your research

1. Check to see if anyone has already deposited a family
history on the surname you are researching

2. Check the General Register Office (GRO) indexes of
births, marriages and deaths, which commenced in
1837. Certificates can be purchased from the appropriate
local Register Office

3. For family information before 1837, Parish Registers of
baptisms, marriages and burials are the most useful source
- but do not contain all the information a certificate does.

4. Similarly, Non-Conformist registers may help

5. Check the International Genealogical Index (IGI) if
your family are difficult to find, but not all Churches are
listed and always check the information against original

6. Search the census returns, 1841-1901. These returns
will give the names, ages, occupations and birthplace of
people, (except 1841, which gives names, ages and if the
people were born in that particular parish.) Some surname
indexes are available for 1851 and 1881

7. Check trade directories

8. Search newspapers for obituaries and notices of births,
marriages and deaths

9. Check monumental inscriptions to see if family members
were buried together


Printed guides on how to trace your ancestors
Journals & Newsletters of Local Family History Society
Family Heirlooms e.g. photographs, family bible
Printed Pedigrees & Biographies
GRO Indexes to Births, Deaths and Marriages
Census Returns
Parish & Non-conformist Registers & Records
Monumental Inscriptions
Cemetery Records
Newspapers e.g. obituaries, birth/marriage/death notices
School Records e.g. Admission Registers
Apprenticeship indentures
Estate records (COUltRolls, Rentals, Leases etc.)
Enclosure & Tithe Awards
Poor Law Records (Registers of Admissions & Discharges)
Rolls of Honour
Electoral Registers
Rate Books & Valuation Lists
Court Records
Wills Inventories (printed Dudley wills & those proved at , tl Sedgley 1614 - early 19 1 century)
Taxation Records
Books on the derivation of surnames


Dudley Archives and Local History Service
Mount Pleasant Street
West Midlands
Tel/Fax: 01384 812770
e-mail: archives. [email protected]
web address:
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