An Introduction To Genealogy

An Introduction To Family History or Genealogy

The study of Family History
Help with finding your Ancestors

When you look around at our present comfortable existence it makes you think that, in comparison, our ancestors had quite a hard life. You may find your ancestors were forced out of their homes during the Highland Clearances (or the Irish equivalent), the Irish Famine, or died during the many epidemics of Cholera, Scarlet Fever, Consumption - even the Plague etc    However you will also find stories of happiness and realise that in times of hardship there can be fun and laughter.

Look on the web

As you're reading this page, then you're already on the web looking for information about local history. What you will find can be pretty random, but it's always a good idea to enter a number of terms in your favourite search engine and see what comes up. Entering the name of the place you're interested in and 'local history', local history society', 'local studies library' will usually throw up some useful sites which may lead you further.

Visit your local studies library

"When you first become interested in a subject it is natural to find out what has already been written.   The easiest thing to do is to talk to the local studies librarian at your local library (Airdrie) . Most central, or large, libraries have a local studies section which, as the name suggests, is where books and other material on the locality is collected together. Local studies librarians can be very helpful. They should be able to tell you if any books or articles have been written on your subject. If they do not have the book you want they should be able to order it on inter-library loan, which might cost a few pounds but can save many wasted hours of research.

Local studies libraries are likely to have a comprehensive collection of books about the locality, including street directories. From an archival point of view their greatest asset is often a comprehensively indexed collection of press cuttings from local, and sometimes national, newspapers going back to before the First World War. They may well also have some original documents, such as poor law records or personal papers, but they are usually not the first place to see original material. Many will also have an extensive collection of local photographs and maps, especially Ordnance Survey maps. In addition, they may have oral history tapes and transcriptions, which include references to places and topics of interest to you.

Join a local family history society

Membership rarely costs more than a few pounds a year and most societies will hold between 6 and 12 meetings a year. In addition, many societies also publish their own newsletters, journals and books about local history. Your local library should be able to tell you about any local history societies in your area. Most counties have at least one county-wide local history association, which often acts as an umbrella group for all the societies in the county.

Lanarkshire Family History Society LFHS is a charitable organization which encourages the research of genealogy and general interests of Lanarkshire.



Budding Genealogists have plenty of choice on where to research and lots of  material to browse through.  See Links below

Much can be done by yourself, using the facilities of the large network of family history centres run by the Mormon church primarily for their own members but open to everyone -  free of charge - but you will have to book.  They can borrow microfilm of the parish registers and census records you need, but not much of the statutory registers are available this way. If you live in the UK, most large libraries and some family history societies have lots of family history material for their area on microfilm. You don't always have to go to Edinburgh or London or Dublin to see the originals.

It can sometimes be cheaper to use a local researcher who can check all the indexes, and can also get photocopies of certificates over 100 years old at a reduced rate. They can also make sure it is the right certificate if you want specific parents. See Scot Roots

If you need certificates the best solution can be to find copies held by family members, and photocopy them!   Scottish Marriage certificates were almost unique in that they gave the parents of both parties, including the maiden surnames of both mothers. Best year for detail on certificates is 1855, worst are 1856-l860. Prior to 1855, your main source is the registers of the Church of Scotland (Old Parochial Registers), all on microfilm. Census records with people's names as a regular matter begin in l841, and the most recent open to the public is 1891 (there is a 100 year embargo on this type of information). All are available on microfilm

Have a look at the Scots Origins service on the Internet - see Geneinfo . It offers on-line access to the indexes to Church of Scotland baptisms and marriages pre-1855, and to the Civil Registration indexes 1855-1897 (the cut-off date is 100 years back). The 1881 census indexes are also available.

You see only INDEXES, with less detail than on the indexes at the Mormon centres, and still have to order certificate copies at around 10.00 each.

Happy Hunting!!

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