The British Newspaper Archive
Read about historical events at the time they were happening. Perhaps you'll discover your ancestor in their local newspaper?
Tracing Living Relatives
As well as discovering ancestors, this method of searching for common links in your family tree is going to bring you into contact with many living relatives, although often they are quite distant cousins. It's a good way of getting back in touch with cousins you might have known as a child, then lost touch with and many a family reunion has been organised this way.
For people who are adopted, both the family trees of their birth parents and of their adoptive family are of interest, as both sets of people will have had an impact on the person
you are. But many people who were adopted and fostered have a burning desire to uncover their birth family and understand their origins. Obviously tracing a birth parent can be a difficult
search, both emotionally and Practically.
People wishing to find the new identity of an adopted relative can hire an intermediary agency through www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/adoptions/
If you were adopted and want to know who your original parents were, contact the adoption authority of your local Social Services. They will arrange for appropriate counseling and you will be shown your original birth certificate, and your adoption papers, which should explain why you were adopted, and perhaps give some helpful details to help you trace your natural parents.
Once you know your parents' identities, you can start trying to find out more about them using birth, marriage and death records, and also the telephone directories and electoral registers available for a fee at sites such as www.192.com and www.eroll.co.uk (which is part of a wider search service, www.tracesmart.co.uk). In addition sites such as The Adoption Contact Register and NORCAP bring together parents and children looking for each other.
I had always known that I was adopted but it had been one of those things I'd sort out one day, just not today. I was put off at the thought of having to go through a long-winded counselling route or perhaps too many blind alleys so, until October 2006, it had been a job that would have to wait.
However, during a quiet time at work, I decided to have a scout around the internet wondering if, by any chance, it would be as easy as putting in my mother's name into the internet and finding her there before me. I had done some half-hearted research years before, sending a fellow adoptee friend to the Registrar's office in Edinburgh to scrape together the bare information concerning my birth. My mother's name, he discovered, was Lindsey Bridget Jones, and she was a trainee bookseller from Portsmouth.
I decided to start with the online birth records that are easily accessible nowadays. I had registered with Genes Reunited and was guided through the process very easily. I took a guess at her birthdate year - I knew that she was a young mother, between 16 and 20 and calculated back in time to around 1949 to 1951. It's a painstaking procedure but it bore fruit. I found her - the only Lindsey Bridget Jones to be born at the end of the year in 1951. I was born in 1968 so it all made sense. Then, with a little help from a kindly genealogist, who pointed me in the direction of a certain marriage certificate with Lindsey Bridget marrying Philip Smith, I began to see the jigsaw of my past coming together.
I went on Friends Reunited and put in the name Lindsey Bridget Smith and waited. Amazingly there was an entry. She was living in Australia, Perth to be exact, and had been for the past 18 years, with husband Philip and two children, Daniel and Caroline. I sent a brief message. "Hello, my name was Cathy Jones at birth on 2 September 1968. I think you might be my mother. " I pressed send and waited. The next day there was a message waiting for me, it was my mother, overjoyed to hear from the daughter she thought she'd never rediscover. She had never known what my name had been changed to when I was adopted so had been unable to make inroads to finding me. She had thought if I was anything like her, I'd look for her so she had made herself visible on the internet, just in case.
I went to Perth at Christmas, just three months after our initial contact, and now plan to emigrate in the New Year, to join my new siblings and extended family with my own husband and four children