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Top tip - using the Genes Reunited community

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Use it or lose it.......

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Paul Report 10 Jan 2020 19:13

I thought it would be timely to reflect on the benefits of the archive offices and record offices, up and down the country and the wonderful services that they provide.

With pressure on local government and local authorities to cut budgets and reduce expenditure, the axe has to fall somewhere, invariably it falls on the supposed “softer” options such as archive resources and Libraries. So what can we do as individuals or as a collective group of genealogists to minimise the impact of government cutbacks?

The simple answer is to use your record office more regularly.

How many of “us” have never been to a record office? How many of us, sit in the comfort of our armchairs and carry out all our research with the click of a mouse. With more and more information and records being put online by the large commercial websites, is there now a danger that record offices could be a thing of the past?

We have already seen one record office attempt to restructure its charges in attempt to offset their running costs and budget cuts and although they have since reversed this decision due to peer pressure from us “tree-ers”, I am sure it is a sign of things to come, be warned!

I certainly admit that I have not utilised record offices enough in my own research, but will endeavour to get off my backside and explore them a lot more in the future. Will you do the same?

There is a whole wealth of information to be discovered on documents that are currently inaccessible online and things that our old friend Mr. Google won’t be able to find either. It would be impossible to try and cover the wide and varied array of documents available here, but suffice to say, you will be surprised at what you might discover! You won’t know what there is to find unless you go (well that’s strictly not true as there are catalogues listing the documents that are available).

So make it a goal for 2020 to explore your local record office and see what you can discover.

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it Report 15 Jan 2020 09:03

Problem is I don’t live in the area of my birth or the births of some of the ancestors

I was born London .now live in .Kent but my mums ancestors were from Essex

Many years ago hubby did take me to the Essex records office and it’ was a long day out

Records there were mostly on microfiche and I was lost cos really didn’t know where to start

Online now makes it far easier to do a basic search and then run with it
Plus you don’t have to pay for copies for anything you want to have a paper copy of

It’s not always possible just to visit records offices either. They want you to make an appointment and a joining fee sometimes

Gwyn in Kent

Gwyn in Kent Report 15 Jan 2020 11:05

Like Shirley, I live far from my areas of interest, but I have visited Record Offices and libraries in those counties. I've spent many an hour in Winchester in particular, where browsing fiche and film of parish records brought welcome 'finds'.
I found the staff most helpful.

I am grateful for the online resources, but for me there is not the same thrill as holding the marriage register in Hereford Office and seeing page after page of weddings recorded for many generations of my family and seeing their original signatures.
Walking in the corresponding country church and seeing where their ceremonies took place and noting the font, where the next generation was baptised enhances the experience.

In this far south east corner, I still like to look at archives and have visited Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Folkestone Library Heritage room to help with requests from members of this site.
For me, it's not just about the finds, but also the thrill of the searching.


Paul Report 17 Jan 2020 11:06

Not sure if you know Shirley, but the Essex Record Office have an online subscription service to all the parish registers in Essex.


Paul Report 17 Jan 2020 11:09

I couldn’t agree more Glyn! You can’t beat that feeling of “touching history” and handling a document that one of your ancestors might have handled a hundred or more years ago. That feeling of eureka when you finally find the connection that you have been searching ages for.

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it

Shirley~I,m getting the hang of it Report 17 Jan 2020 17:12

Thanks Paul

I have managed to research that side very well with parish records etc as I started doing mine and hubbies trees way back in 2001

Must say after visiting the Essex records office we did travel on to Heybridge and had a very late lunch and looked at the lock at the basin and spoke to the lock keeper .

Was saying one side of the family from there were the Chaney ‘s and the lock keeper said wow if you are connected to one of them you are related to all of them!

The last gentleman who was in his late eighties has just moved into a care home .pity you didn’t visit a week ago !


Paul Report 18 Jan 2020 13:28

Oh wow Shirley what are the chances of that!