Using Online Resources to Create Your Family Tree

Researching OnlineBecause there has been so much recent interest in the subject of genealogy an enormous amount of resources have been developed or publicized as a result. The internet has also made the study of genealogy more accessible to everyone as many of the resources have been indexed and put on line on microfiche. This enables people to quickly cross reference the information that they do have with the resources so that they can build family trees.

There are a number of online resources including the software packages that you can buy for very reasonable prices which enable you to create a professional looking family tree. The type of package you can get varies from resources that are a few pounds only and use templates and advice to help you to more complex packages which enable you to tag photographs and add information which the programme will then organise for you. There are also resources in the form of guidance which are downloadable and give you help and advice on how to create your family tree from scratch using both the internet and home computer packages. Learn Web Skills is one of the many sites that offer free guidance and short courses in genealogy. It explains not only how to do your research thoroughly, including what methods and resources to use, but how to utilise that information. You can gather information through old cards, photographs, certificates, awards, medals, letters, bibles, apprenticeships, deeds and scrapbooks. You can find out online how to use this information or how to input it into indexes to find out the information you need to know. Learning Curve also shows how to analyse documents and gather information and has examples on their site to view.

More useful to your individual research are the other tools also available on the internet. There are many useful research tools on different genealogy sites. It is useful to look at the Census online which is available on the major UK genealogy sites such as including the family records site. There is a large collection of information which you can cross reference with a name or address or other relevant information. To follow up on further details of potential ancestors it costs just a few pounds to access further information. As well as the Census the family records site also lists wills, births, deaths and marriages, military records and religious records. The religious records are of particular interest as they extend further back than the Censuses; as far back as 1538.

The online index for the various Censuses does not include all the Censuses such as the first few taken from 1801 to 1841. These are merely a head count and perhaps not as useful as the later ones. You would have to go to the offices in London to see the public records not online but this is not the only online means of tracing ancestors. Public records that have similar information to the Censuses include birth, marriage and death certificates. These records are also available from the main genealogical sites but again there may be some missing or partial information, even a few inaccuracies. Information should be verified by applying for copies of originals from the records office which only costs a few pounds.

If you look on other major websites such as Ancestry in the UK there are further resources to use for research purposes. Ancestry, also have an online community where other researchers swap tips, questions and ideas which may be useful. They also have some other indexes that are useful such as Voter records, British Slave Records, Emigration to America records from the time of the earliest settlers, Irish emigration to New York shipping (this refers to the mass movement around the 1920s) and early directories records.

The National Archives also offer other research opportunities. They have a far more in-depth collection of records in connection with the army. They hold navy, MOD and merchant navy records for example. They constantly update and offer new documents in relation to the army and have recently published documents relating to phone tapping in World War II.

Documents-on-line are another organisation which also offers some more unusual resources. On this website you can look at other types of military records. For example you can do a quick search to see if any of your ancestors fought in the Battle of Trafalgar by the side of Lord Nelson. It also lists those serving in the navy, those serving time in Victorian prisons and soldiers pensions from World War 1.

If you go online, use a search engine and type in family tree, family history or genealogy. These websites and many more useful sites will appear and you can create your family tree.

Next: Searching for Surnames Online