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Top tip - using the Genes Reunited community

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researching at records offices, libraries etc

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Joy Report 28 Jun 2005 09:54

The end of the title seems to have disappeared - but it was something like LDS Centres and Family Records Centre .... please add


Joy Report 28 Jun 2005 09:54

Always prepare well before you go. Make lists of whom you are seeking, but try not to look for too many. It is as well to telephone the records office to ascertain their resources. Records offices require ID, and you have to use pencil there. At the Family Records Centre in London, biro is allowed. I shall think of more later.


Unknown Report 29 Jun 2005 22:28

Always look on the records office/archive etc website before you go. Some places are not open all the time, or may be closed for refurbishment. They may not have the information you want, or cover the area/period you are after. Take a bottle of water and some food for breaks. Most places either have no catering facilities, or just drinks/choc bar machines. London met Archives does provide free water though, from a vending machine. nell


Angela Report 6 Jul 2005 14:56

Take heaps of paper to write on, as you may find a lot more information than you had bargained for!! Also, get there as soon as the place opens. It is surprising how quickly the time passes and you want to be able to make the best possible use of your visit. Oh, and don't forget your specs if you wear them. Microfilms and fiches can be very difficult and tiring to read!!!

Gwyn in Kent

Gwyn in Kent Report 27 Jul 2005 07:34

As many places are air conditioned, it might feel quite chilly if you go in summer clothes. A long sleeved top can be useful. If you are able to go at an unpopular time there are less queues for collecting fiche etc. Winchester for example is open until 7pm but is much less crowded after 5pm.


Anne Report 24 Aug 2005 07:34

I take a magnifying glass with me - often useful for the very bad print


KathleenBell Report 29 Aug 2005 22:49

Take loose change with you as some record offices have self service printers which need change. If you can't find what you are looking for in Parish Records, don't forget to look at non-conformist records. I wasted a whole session looking for baptisms which I later found in the non-conformist records. Kath. x


Carol Report 30 Aug 2005 11:07

I always note at the top of my notes the date and the record office/library I'm at, helps when I check back later to see where/what I found. Also, never throw old notebooks out, it's amazing what you find when you look at them again months later - I found that I'd noted the entry for my 4xgreatgrandfather in the 1851 census, but had misread his age as 24, so didn't think he was the person I was looking for, he was and his age was really 74, his (2nd) wife's age was 25!! Take those propelling type pencils with you, they're great and you don't have to stop to sharpen them. Also a magnifying glass, very useful. Check if the record office has it's catalogue online, or check A2A first, can save time when you get there, as someone has already mentioned time passes so quick when you're there and you don't want to waste any of it!! Make sure you know where you are going - sounds obvious, but I nearly walked a long way the wrong way in Norwich earlier this year, fortunately I realised my mistake before I'd gone too far!! Carol

Glen In Tinsel Knickers

Glen In Tinsel Knickers Report 7 May 2006 15:39

bookmarking for later


Laurie Report 7 May 2006 15:48

Was really great at Kew, took the camera and was able to photograph pages from old logs - and download straight on to computer. Take all your gear in clear container. read as much as you can on resources before you get there. cheers Laurie


Wendy Report 8 May 2006 19:03

When switching from one parish or census date to another - start a new page and for heaven's sake put the heading on EACH page and number them!!! When researching more than one tree in a parish/census, record each family name on separate page!!!. Have spent many a good month trying to work out which was Smith or Jones. Also makes impossible to file as a paper trail when you have 5 different family names on the same page. PS If you are visiting as a couple a) don't sit next to me b)don't whisper to each other - it's even more distracting than normal volume. Only joking - always happy to help newbies at Winchester Records Office - honest. Wendy

Joe ex Bexleyheath

Joe ex Bexleyheath Report 8 May 2006 20:50

Before leaving for the Records Office check whether a Readers Card is required and some want a photograph to be put on, so sometimes easier to take passport pics with you unless the Office has photograph facilities - I think this is the case with the British Library for example. Readers Cards issed by one Office are generally accepted in others. On the other hand there are many that do not require them I can say that Greenwich, Faversham, Sittingbourne, Bexleyheath, Canterbury,Huntingdon, FRC, LMA - cards are NOT required. Oxford and Chelmsford - card required (unless any of these have changed systems). Also regarding parish registers - If you are unfamiliar with the district try and determine which parishes you wish to search in advance - the number of parishes covered by one Office can be considerable, even within one town.


≈≈≈Jenny≈≈≈ Report 3 Jun 2006 16:15

OK I think this is a really handy bit of info BUT......... I am such a newbie that I wont be going to any records offices as yet, ( Hey! I havent done too bad I'm back to 1788 just on census/BMD alone!), My plan is to do about 6 generations to get the 'bones' s'cuse the pun ,of the family and then trawl for the interesting stuff later, so MY Question is ...... How do I keep this thread for future reference , or does it go the the great thread shredder (try saying that without your teeth!) in the sky? Thanks - what a lovely day - hubbie gone to the TT so the garden and the comp all to myself. Bliss! Jen

Janet in Yorkshire

Janet in Yorkshire Report 3 Jun 2006 17:50

Make a record of all docs/PR you read and note what you did NOT find in them - otherwise you may forget that your search was unsuccessful and repeat the exercise. Remember to bring ALL your notes home, the next person at the reader may not want them! Jay


PomPom Report 12 Jul 2006 20:55



Ann Report 12 Jul 2006 21:08

Could anyone tell me if I can take a digital camera or are they forbidden. I just wondered if there were some records that you cant photocopy. Ann

~*~ Mo

~*~ Mo Report 12 Jul 2006 21:13

My Best Tip.. would be dont get stressed out.. If your stressed, tired, anxious.. for any reason you will miss some vital part of the process you are following.. My very first visit two years ago.. I was doing really well had looked at loads of records...when I got them home and ready to sort through.. I had'nt written the Church down on two different lots and I had looked at so much my head was spinning..and could'nt remember...where I had been.. I now always write down the Church and film no on the sheet..before I proceed with anything... and I always number the sheets so I know what sort of order I have looked at things throughout the day.. Always ask for help from the staff if you are struggling...finding the info you want.. Durham RO.. is very friendly... very helpful... and very organised with their collections.. the staff are very Friendly and Helpful.. Always take plenty of work with you...!!!! As someone else may have the film / Fiche that you need .. that way you are not sitting around doing nothing while the records are in use.. Mo

~*~ Mo

~*~ Mo Report 31 Jul 2006 14:50



Mark Report 30 Aug 2006 12:08


Jo Jo

Jo Jo Report 3 Sep 2006 17:32

Excellent tips, found at first that I looked through the same record more than once because I had not made a note of exactly what I had looked at on each visit. This was especially with the records that had none of my relatives in. JoJo