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Where do I start?

First five steps:

  1. Talk to relatives and gather as much information as possible.
  2. Collect documents such as birth, marriage and death certificates, photographs etc.
  3. Civil Registration: Use www.freebmd.org.uk to find out dates and places of events that you may not have discovered. Civil Registration started in July 1837 and events were indexed every quarter, ie births in Jan, Feb & March will be found in the March Index. So the Quarters are March, June, Sept and Dec.   You can now purchase digital copies of Births and Deaths from the General Register(Passport) Office.  They also have produced new indexes to go with the digital launch.  Mother's maiden name is available for births, age at death for deaths.   You will need to register an account but searching the index is free.  Digital copies of the certificates now cost £7 from the GRO www.gro.gov.uk   Full certificates now cost £11 (February 2019).
  1. Census Records – the census was taken every 10 years and detailed censuses started in 1841. They are available to view on subscription websites such as www.Ancestry.com (free in local libraries) and www.FindMyPast.co.uk (free in some local libraries). You can access the census records from 1841-1911.
  1. Decide how you are going to record the information you have collected. Ancestral Charts and Family Recording Sheets are available free on line, on websites such as the BBC.

With a bit of luck you should be able to get back to the early 1800s using these resources.