Most users of the main genealogical subscription sites will probably use the census data sets and birth marriage and death records and pretty much nothing else.
This is a real waste of their subscriptions as there is so much else to be plumbed from these treasure troves.
I was looking at the amazing full colour pdf images of wills on TheGenealogist.co.uk this week and also at the Register of Landowners, completed in 1873, that is something like the Griffith’s Valuation lists for Ireland, but for Britain instead. In this database you can find the names of owners of, or those that rented more than an acre of land in England, Wales and Scotland.
TheGenealogist.co.uk also has a set of poll books for various counties of England and Wales, and, for those of you that wish to delve back further than the 17th century and who have landed gentry in your line, there is the heraldic Visitations.
The Poll books give names, addresses, occupations and show how people voted in the election. The Poll Books that are available on TheGenealogist pre-date the census records and go back as far as the 1700s, making them a valuable resource for family historians.
Heraldic Visitations began in 1530 and were tours of inspection undertaken by Kings of Arms in order to regulate and register the coats of arms of nobility and gentry, and to record pedigrees. By the fifteenth century many families were adopting coats of arms as symbols of wealth and power but not all had a legitimate claim to them. As surviving visitation records include pedigrees and often the evidence that was used to prove these, including family details, background and ages, their records provide important source material for genealogists.
Visitation Records are currently available for individual counties and the whole of England and Wales, with years ranging from 1530 â€“ 1921.
Another specialist set is the List of Bankrupts with Their Dividends 1786-1806.
This is just an example of a few of the data resources that can so easily be missed by the family historian, and we are talking of one example of a subscription website here!
The hundreds of other databases to be explored within the other sites such as Ancestry, findmypast, the Origins.net and so on that so many do not use, is staggering.
Take a look today!
Disclosure: The Links in the above are Compensated Affiliate links. If you click on them then I may be rewarded by The Genealogist.co.uk should you sign up for any of their subscriptions.