I sometimes get asked which of the various technique for finding an elusive ancestor is the best?
Which do I most enjoy using, is it searching the many record collections online?
Or is it perhaps using a particular tool on one of the subscription sites?
The more astute readers of my blog will have noticed that I often report back from a visit to a County Record Office, or from a trip to The National Archives or some other family history library. “Ah,” they say, “You prefer to go to a record repository and root around in the records there, now don’t you?”
Well the answer is my preferred research method is…
Stop just there! Let me just think about this…
The beauty of the online records are that you can look for the elusive ancestor from the comfort of your own home. They mostly have a search engine that makes it quick and easy to locate likely candidates for you and so can cut the hours spent scrolling through microfilm, or maybe leafing through a document or a book to find that mention of your ancestor in the actual record depository.
But a County Record Office, or a local heritage archive, has a whole lot more diverse record sets for you to look through than you are going to find on any of the data websites. For example, I’m thinking of records that I’ve used to find out where the family lived at the time that they had to have their child immunised against smallpox. Or the lists that are so very local to the area and so specific that the online sites would not have sufficient demand from their subscribers to warrant the expense of digitizing them; records such as the Chief Constable’s Report that I looked through recently at the Wolverhampton City Archives. Record offices may have documents left to them by a local lawyer’s office, a firm of undertakers, or perhaps the business records of the main employer in the town.
So my answer has to be:
I most enjoy using all of the above. Which ever record collection and wheresoever it may be accessed, if it gives me the answer as to where my evasive ancestor can be found, then this is the one to use and will be my current favoured technique. It is going to vary, depending on the circumstances. So I am a great fan of the online websites and I am a great advocate of visiting the many physical depositories across the land.
But how do I know what to look for? How do I know which records I should be using, once I’ve exhausted the basic ones that everyone knows about?
I had to learn about them. What to look for and where. And, do you know what? I am so glad that I did, because without the extra knowledge I would still not know where some of my more elusive ancestors had lived, worked or played.
If you are wondering where you may find your elusive English/Welsh ancestor then take the plunge. Learn more about the records and resources both online and off.
Join the many satisfied subscribers to the Family History Researcher Academy now!
Hit a brick wall with your English/Welsh ancestors?
Learn how to discover where to find the many records and resources that will help you to find your forebears.
Join the Family History Researcher Course online.
Some links may be compensated affiliate links. See http://paidforadvertising.co.uk/