If you have a Nottinghamshire Library card, you can get FREE access to Ancestry.com’s worldwide database from any library computer - just ask at your local library or come along to Retford Library’s Family History Group. For more about the Group, click here.
Need a starter for researching you ancestors and getting Birth, Marriage or Death (BMD)
certificates? Download Greg’s introductory worksheet here...
The key starting points for any family history research are copies of Birth, Marriage or Death certificates (‘bmd’ to seasoned researchers). For an overview of what is available go to the General Register Office (GRO) website here..
Family History or Genealogy is a complex and extensive field. Some of the key (and FREE) online resources that anyone interested in the topic will find useful include:
www.Freebmd.org.uk provides indexes to births, marriages and deaths (hence ‘BMD’ to all family historians) from the inception (in England & Wales) of the system of civil certification on July 1st 1837 until (currently) the mid-1950s. This is a volunteer-led project and so the latest date covered keeps advancing!
From the homepage select ‘Search’ from the left-hand side of the page and enter the data requested, then click on ‘Find’. Index(es) will be of the form:
Surname, Forename, Quarter* Year, Registration district, Volume, page.
*Until recently, certificates were ‘grouped’ in three-month batches which are usually known by the last month of the quarter - hence, March, June, September or December quarters. An event occurring in (say) late January of 1947 would be referred to as Mar 1947. The full set of the above ‘data string’ would be needed to order a certificate copy from the General Register Office...
http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/ the General Register Office (GRO) certificate ordering site. If you think you have identified the certificate you are interested in from FreeBMD’s site, you will need the full index reference from there to enter into the GRO’s online Certificate ordering service. This is a credit card online system which currently costs £11.00 per certificate, postage paid although a pdf version is also available for £7.00. This latter is good for research but is not acceptable as an official document for such purposes as passport applications, etc.
It should be pointed out that copies of certificates can also be ordered directly from the original Register Office (as identified above from the index). The cost is the same as from the GRO but online (card) ordering is usually not available. Individual Register Offices also do not use the same indexing system as the GRO, so you would need to give as much information (such as the index data) when contacting the appropriate office which can usually be found by searching the appropriate ‘county’ website.
www.familysearch.org provides the most comprehensive catalogue of British Parish Registers available anywhere. It is a free-to-use service although it should be said that Parish Registers are so extensive that no online resource has anything like a complete set.
www.cwgc.org Commonwealth War Graves Commission site has searchable databases of every known person who died in the two World War conflicts. Data held includes (where known) rank, trade, unit, service number, date of death, cemetery and grave reference plus family details.