Tracing Your Family History
Let me say straight away that tracing your family ancestry is
a great hobby but very addictive, so unless you want to get well
and truly hooked, don't start.
When I travel around the country to Family History Fairs, I am
amazed at the number of people who say quite cheerfully, "family
history is so easy, I did mine in half an hour on the internet."
If they are happy with that, then good luck to them, but for me,
if I cannot prove it, it doesn't count.
Family history is not about just collecting a pile of names
and then trying to fit them all together like a genealogical
jigsaw puzzle. You must start with what you know to be true and
that is your birth certificate. On that will be the names of your
parents, so, if you do not already have access to it, it
shouldn't be hard to obtain their marriage certificate. From
there until 1837, you can travel back fairly safely with hatched,
matched and dispatched certificates from the Family Records
Centre in London. Pre 1837, you have to be able to access parish
registers, and this is where the going can get tough. If you are
unsure of the area your forbears are from, census returns can be
In case you are planning to have a go at compiling your family
tree, be aware that you could be in for a few surprises (shocks).
Just because granny always seemed prim and proper to you, doesn't
make it so.
Pam Drake, Parish Chest. The Premier Online Family History
MORE RESOURCES updated Sat. June / 23 / 2018
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