Puts Family History Research Tools in the Beginners Hand.

Perils You May Encounter in Family History Searchs

by Nick Thorne.

There have been times, when I have embarked on family history research, that I will admit that I've just been too narrow in my thinking. I guess that I have concentrated too much on details that I believed to be correct about my ancestors. The sort of thing I mean is knowing how to spell their name and so not being open to variations. Another mistake is to only look in a particular town or area in a blinkered way. When we family history researchers investigating our family tree make these sort of mistakes then we are inviting grief and a whole lot of wasted time. We may well have been searching in the correct place but were we searching in the right or wrong way? My submission is that we just need to open up our minds to doing research in a smarter way and then we will often gain the reward of finding the data that we are searching.

I urge you to consider how your web-based research could perhaps gain in its quality if you always:

  • Keep handy a list of the known surname variants for your ancestor's name (e.g. in my own tree there is Thorn, Thorne, Stephens, Stevens and a huge variation in the spelling of Sissill.)
  • Think about what common first-name nicknames may apply and also any regularly used shortened forms of names. For example Thomas may be written as Thos. Elizabeth as Eliz. or Eliza. and I've seen John written as Jono.
  • Have written down some of the capital letters that can easily be confused like J and I, for example
  • Remember that place names can be confused - in my Devon branch there are two Galmptons very near each other and I jumped to the conclusion that my great grandmother came from the one near to where they lived. Wrong!
  •  Keep in mind the typical length of a person's life-span and don't end up pursuing someone with a similar name thinking they are one and the same. Then there are the ranges of dates for ancestor's weddings, deaths and the births or baptisms of their children?
  • Keep detailed research logs as you work and so avoid repeating searches already done at earlier stages.
  • Remain conscious that gaps can occur in whatever data sets. If you are looking at a distinct time period and you are unable to locate an ancestor, then you can waste more time than necessary looking if you don't check to see if this time frame also match a known gap in the data.

So if you memorize these seven ways for avoiding family-tree research pitfalls, you may be able to miss out on the errors that I made in the past when researching my ancestors! Good luck in your family history searches and if you need more help to break down brickwalls take a look at my blog



If you've been searching for your British Isles ancestors, as have I for several years now, then you too have probably hit some brick walls.

You probably concentrated you efforts on all the easy connections in your family tree and put aside all the frustrating ones to do later. I know how you feel as I continuously came up against all sorts of brick walls when I do my own family history. In the beginning I didn't know how to get past some of them, even though now I realise that they were relatively easy to crack. It is annoying as I missed out on a lot of leads that I would otherwise have found and followed sooner.

That is why I have published a downloadable resource report on Beginning Family Research on the Internet. You can download it at any time of the day, or night, for a modest $27 (priced in US Dollars) using Clickbank to securely take payment. 

Alternatively UK customers may wish to use Paypal to process the order in Pound Sterling and download the package for £17

Beginning Family Research on the Internet includes some screen capture videos and two extra Podcasts.

Please do have a look at what you will get using either of the links here:

 Beginning Family History PAY in US $ using Clickbank

 Beginning Family History PAY in GB £ using PayPal.


Take a look at what is in "Beginning Family History Research" by Nicholas Thorne


I don't just sell my valuable information... I also give it away!

You can access to some of my Free stuff here.

To start off take a look at the podcasts to the right... and then the video: Brick walls

Also, there are Articles added all the time to my Blog: "The Nosey Genealogist".

If you sign up to my Free tip of the week, at the top of the page, I'll send you weekly some useful advice and recommendations, so scroll up there now and fill in your name and email address. I never spam and I will not sell your details to anyone else.

Kind regards,

Want to get going?

I find the following websites invaluable to me . I highly recommend you take a look at them if you want to make a start on your own research.

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online

The Genealogist - for UK census, BMDs and more online from just £4.66 a month is a website that I use for census and Parish Records.

It has in December 2008, and quite justly in my view, won the Your Family Tree magazine award 2008 for Census and BMD Website of the year! Well worth a look.

"This collection is backed by truly innovative search tools, such as the opportunity to use name variants, and to look for groups of forenames in particular family groups."

- Your Family Tree magazine December 2008.

Discover your ancestors at Genes Reunited.co.uk

If you were to ask me which website has helped me to discovered more distant "cousins" than any other then it has to be Genes Reunited.

Early on in my research I posted a few of my ancestors into a family tree that I loaded into this site and I have been contacted by all sorts of people descended from the same ancestors as I am. They helped me with my research and I was able to make contact with a branch of my grandfather's family I had previously not known existed!

For that reason I recommend you Join Genes Reunited - the UK's no.1 family tree and genealogy site.

Banner - Ancestry.com

Gigantic is the word I'd use to describe the records collection of Ancestry.com perhaps the most useful website for those of you in North America. It is one fantastic genealogical website.

Why not try a new Ancestry.com Membership!

Or, if you are in the UK then I would recommend you to Ancestry.co.uk that has a mammoth database of UK records which are added to all the time.

Tony Tutorial 468x60

In fact it won the Your Family Tree magazine award 2008 for Advanced Records Website of the year!

"The company's focus on the UK has grown in the past couple of years, and we've gained as a result...Ancestry's presentation is second-to-none, making the task of wading through all this information far more pleasant."

- Your Family Tree magazine December 2008.

Go to the Origins Network

The Origins network is home to a wealth of information and is especially good for wills, marriage registers and apprentice records relating to England & Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

Also within the site are location related images and survey maps that are unique to the Origins Network. The operators, through a partnership with the Society of Genealogists and others, have much exclusive material.

Access unique Irish and British genealogical data at The Origins Network

email tips

Audio Family History help files


To listen now press play.

Podcast: 1.Five Golden Rules.

Podcast: 2.Stumbling Blocks.

 Podcast: 3.Non Conformist in the Family?

Podcast: 4.IGI and Using Hugh Wallis' site.

To download to your computer, right click on the named link (e.g. 1.Five Golden Rules.) and then "save target as"

If you wish to contact me send an email to:

nick@ noseygenealogist.com

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