Page Translator

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Understanding the GRO (General Registrar's Office - UK)

Each Registry Office creates certificates and once a quarter these are sent to the Registrar General's Office where they are indexed by type and name. Indexes exist for each quarter of a year for each type of event - for example: Marriages, quarter ending March, 1880. To ask someone to look for an event over a two year period requires them to consult eight separate index volumes.

A local Registrar's Office (RO) holds their marriage records indexed by church, not surname, unless it was a civil ceremony, and those are recorded by date. If you don't know the church name, the parish name should suffice. Normally, births and deaths are recorded in approximate date order at the Registry Office. It isn't until the records are sent to the General Registrar's Office (GRO) once each quarter, that an index by surnames is created. It is these quarterly indexes mentioned above that are available at various libraries and archives. The GRO Index number is a volume and page number, and is not unique for each event. For example, for marriages there may be three marriages recorded per page. Until the early 1850s up to eight people (four couples) can share the same page number in each quarter. After that up to four people share the same number. For the first few years of indexing, the volume number was a Roman numeral.

Unfortunately, the volume and page number provided in the national GRO index means nothing to the local RO. But having it proves that the entry exists in a certain time frame. Fees for certificates ordered from the GRO are more expensive than the RO fees, but if you are uncertain about the details, the GRO may be a better place to search. If you know the date, church, etc., then the local RO is often faster and less expensive. Only the marriage certificates are ordered by church.

One reason why there are missing BMD's in the GRO is because they got lost in transit between the local Registrar's Office and the GRO. It is best to check the local office for any BMD's.

There is no way to view the birth or marriages certificates themselves online (over the Internet). However the indexes are now available online at Ancestry and from March 2008 full microfiche indexes of registration records dating back as far as 1837 will be available at libraries in Birmingham, Bridgend, and Plymouth, as well as Manchester Record Office from April.

Once you know the index reference number you can order certificates from the GRO online.

Events recorded since the start of Civil Registration are unlikely to appear in the International Genealogical Index (IGI) or British Vital Records Index (VRI) since most of those entries are from parish registers or transcripts thereof.

Understanding Death Certificates (UK)

In 1837 a death had to be registered within 8 days, this was reduced to 5 days in 1875. At the start of 1866, the indexes to deaths give the age of the deceased at death. Again, the information on the certificate is only as good as the informant's knowledge of the deceased. Women often shaved a few years off their age and this "revised" age might be the one recorded. If there was no body a death cannot be registered. In 1875, to get a death certificate, you needed a certificate from the Doctor with the cause of death. This allowed you to get the Civil Registration Death Certificate and a Certificate of Disposal to take to the undertaker.

A death certificate will contain the following information:

Place and date of death
Name and Surname of the deceased
Age at death
Occupation of the deceased
Cause of death
Signature, name and address of informant (and sometimes relationship to the deceased)
Date of registration
Signature of registrar

On 1st July 1927, registration of the death of stillborn commenced. After 1 April 1969, the date and place of birth of the deceased and the maiden name (in the case of a married woman) are also given.

Understanding Marriage Certificates (UK)

These can be frustrating, in that they may show "of full age" instead of the actual age for anyone over 21 (but this occasionally signified "over the age permissible": 12 for girls and 14 for boys until the Marriage Act of 1929, then set at 16 for both until 1969, now 18 for both - "minority" was still considered under age 21). If the age is given, it is simply what the couple reported, and their veracity may be influenced by their desire or by her condition. The fathers of the bride and groom are listed, but if one did not want father contacted... If the father was deceased, this may be noted, but lack of such an entry does not mean the father was alive. It is also safe to say that a high percentage of the brides were pregnant, so the first child might arrive only a few months after the wedding, if not already in a pram in the back room. Marriages that took place in non-conformist churches before 1898 had to be carried out in the presence of a civil registrar.

Starting in the last quarter of 1911, the GRO Indexes began to include both surnames.

A Marriage Certificate will contain the following information:

Date and place of the event
Names of the bride and groom
Ages of the bride and groom (see above)
Each spouse's "condition" (bachelor, spinster, widow, etc.)
Each person's rank or profession
The bride and groom's respective residences
The bride and groom's respective fathers' names
The fathers' ranks or professions
An indication of the form of the ceremony "after banns", etc.
The signatures (or marks) of the couple
the signatures (or marks) of two witnesses
Signature of officiating minister or registrar
If one of the fathers were deceased or retired, the registrar was supposed to note that, but it was a practice not uniformly followed.

Illegitimate Births in the U.K.

Prior to 1834 a woman would be "examined" to determine who the father of her child was in order to alleviate the parish of its responsibilities to care for the child. During this examination the woman would be expected to name the father of the child. After 1834 the mother was expected to provide for her child until he/she was 16.

There was no shame in illegitimacy (as long as the child was not a drain on the parish). Until the end of the 17th century, illegitimacy was simply viewed as part of life.

From 1837 to circa 1850 there was some confusion as to whether an unmarried father could register the birth of his child, some registrars allowed it, others would not. This situation was clarified by 1850 by which time no unmarried father could register the birth of his child. The 1875 Registration Act changed the situation again by allowing the unmarried father's name to be added to the registration if both were present and signed as informants.

Understanding Birth Certificates (UK)

The information entered on a certificate was supplied by those applying for it. No data was verified, no ages checked for marriages, etc.

Birth Certificates: During the early years of registration many births were not registered because it was not compulsory and there was no penalty for failure to comply. This was especially true for children of illegitimate birth. In 1875, it became compulsory. There was a six week (42 days) time limit in which to register a birth. After six weeks and up to six months the birth could be registered on payment of a fine. After that time, with very few exceptions, a birth could not be registered. It was fairly common for parents to adjust the birth date to within 42 days. Also, as part of the 1875 changes, a mother, when reporting an illegitimate birth, could not name the father; he had to be present and consent to his name being entered.

Starting in the third quarter of 1911, the GRO (General Registry Office) Indexes began to include the mother's maiden surname. On 1st July 1927, stillbirth registration commenced.

A Birth Certificate will contain the following information:

Date of birth (and time for twins)
Birthplace (street address, farm, village)
Name of child
Gender of child
Forename and surname of the father (blank for illegitimate)
Forename, surname, and maiden name of the mother
Occupation of the father
Signature; a description (mother) and address of the informant
Date of registration
Signature of registrar

You will note that the "time of birth" was rare, often used only for multiple births.

It is still true in the UK that the proud father goes off to the Register Office, records the birth, and gets a short birth certificate. One should note: The hospitals and midwives pass on their records to the register office, who cross you off the list when you turn up to register. You have 6 weeks to do it (strictly 42 days). Also, the hospital records may differ from the final cert - all babies born are listed under their mother's name, which is not necessarily their father's. So the hospital records may have a different surname.

The U.S. Census: Whats it all about?

Censuses had been taken prior to the Constitution's ratification; in the early 1600s, a census was taken in Virginia, and people were counted in nearly all of the British colonies that became the United States.

Down through the years, the country's needs and interests became more complex. This meant that there had to be statistics to help people understand what was happening and have a basis for planning. The content of the 10 yearly census changed accordingly. In 1810 the first inquiry on manufactures, quantity and value of products; in 1840 on fisheries were added, and in 1850, the census included inquiries on social issues, such as taxation, churches, pauperism and crime. The censuses also spread geographically, to new States and Territories added to the Union, as well as to other areas under U.S. sovereignty or jurisdiction. There were so many more inquiries of all kinds in the censuses of 1880 and 1890 that almost a full decade was needed to publish all the results.

For the first six censuses (1790-1840) enumerators recorded only the names of the heads of household and did a general demographic accounting of the remaining members of the household. Beginning in 1850, all members of the household were named by the enumerator. The first slave schedules were also done in 1850, with the second (and last) in 1860. Censuses of the late 19th century also included agricultural and industrial schedules to gauge the productivity of the nation's economy. Mortality schedules (taken between 1850 and 1880) captured a snapshot of life-spans and causes of death throughout the country.

The first nine censuses (1790-1870) were not managed by the Executive Branch, but by the Judicial Branch. The United States Federal Court districts assigned U.S. marshals, who hired assistant marshals to do the actual census-taking.

The census records and data specific to individual respondents is not available to the public until 72 years after they were taken . Every census up to 1930 is currently available to the public and can be viewed on microfilm released by the National Archives and Records Administration, the official keeper of old federal census records. These census records are also available online from various sources such as Ancestry.comwhich charges a subscription or, which is available for free. Check out the sidebar for more links for the U.S. Census.

The 1940 census will be available for public review in 2012.

The Census in the U.K.

There has been a census every ten years since 1801, excluding 1941. However, only those that date from 1841 are of real value to the family historian. The administration of the early census returns 1801-1831 was the responsibility of the Overseers of the Poor and the Clergy.

Most of these early returns were unfortunately destroyed, although in some isolated instances they have been preserved. The census returns for 1841 were the first to be kept and, as far as the general public is concerned, the information is released after a hundred years. For example, the public were given access to the 1891 census returns in January 1992. The latest Census avilable to the Public is the 1901.

The 1841 census was different from the previous censuses in two important respects. Firstly, the administration passed into the hands of the Registrar General and the Superintendant Registrars, who were responsible for the registration of births, marriages and deaths. Many recent reforms, including the 1836 General Registration Act, which had culminated in the introduction of civil registration had resulted in a new layer of central and local government.

When the 1841 census was being prepared, it was seen as a logical step that it should also supervise the census. Consequently, civil registration and census taking became inter-related; any change in local boundaries or districts affected them both.

Secondly, the emphasis changed from questions concerned with population size, and the numbers engaged in certain occupations and the condition of the housing stock, to a much more detailed analysis of individuals and families, and the communities in which they lived. The information recorded on individuals has tended to increase with each census.

Visit the GENUKI Census Webpage for complete information concerning the U.K. Census.

The IGI: The greatest free resource available online

The International Genealogical Index (IGI) is an index created by the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS). The index is available for viewing at all LDS Family History Centres, on microfiche or CD ROM, and also available for searching on the Internet on the LDS FamilySearch web pages. It is possible to purchase the IGI on microfiche (in whole county sets only) from the LDS at a very nominal cost. The IGI is certainly the most comprehensive available index of English parish baptisms and marriages available. (Burials are not in the index, except for a few isolated examples). Many other countries such as the U.S.A, Canada, France etc are also covered. Search online here.

The IGI does not cover every parish in England. A great number are not included.
For those parishes which it does cover, there may be whole periods missing and for those which it does cover, there may be omissions of individual records even in the covered periods.

Some entries in the IGI are from the Bishop's Transcripts and not the original registers, and the BTs themselves are prone to errors and omissions. (Having said that, even the original registers may have entries missing which are in the BTs and vice versa).

You may find more than one entry in the index for the same event with conflicting information.

Some entries in the IGI are from submissions by individual LDS members rather than from parish registers, and many of these are very prone to errors. Be very wary of entries which have an "@" symbol beside them or which state a birth date (rather than a baptism date), or which state a date as being "about".

The best ones are those that say in the messages line 'Extracted birth or christening record for the locality listed in the record', which are those extracted from Old Parish Register (OPR's).

The golden rule with the IGI is to treat it for what it is. It is an index. If you find an entry in the IGI, always look at the films/microfiche of the original parish registers.

Used in this way, it is a great tool to help you with your family history research.

For a more comprehensive introduction to the IGI and advice on how to get the most from it visit What is the IGI?

There is also a website that has sorted and indexed all the IGI Batches, enabling you to search by County/Parish in England, Scotland, Wales & Ireland and States/Counties in the USA & Canada.

To go straight to the relevant page for each country click on the link below:-




Genealogical Terms Explained

ABSTRACT - Summary of important points of a given text, especially deeds and wills.
ACRE - See measurements.
ADMINISTRATION (of estate) - The collection, management and distribution of an estate by proper legal process.
ADMINISTRATOR (of estate) - Person appointed to manage or divide the estate of a deceased person.
ADMINISTRATRIX - A female administrator.
AFFIDAVIT - A statement in writing, sworn to before proper authority.
ALIEN - Foreigner.
AMERICAN REVOLUTION - U.S. war for independence from Great Britain 1775 -1783.
ANCESTOR - A person from whom you are descended; a forefather.
ANTE - Latin prefix meaning before, such as in ante-bellum South, “The South before the war”
APPRENTICE - One who is bound by indentures or by legal agreement or by any means to serve another person for a certain time, with a view of learning an art or trade.
APPURTENANCE - That which belongs to something else such as a building, orchard, right of way, etc.
ARCHIVES - Records of a government, organization, institution; the place where records are stored.
ATTEST - To affirm; to certify by signature or oath.
BANNS - Public announcement of intended marriage.
BENEFICIARY - One who receives benefit of trust or property.
BEQUEATH - To give personal property to a person in a will. Noun: bequest.
BOND - Written, signed, witnessed agreement requiring payment of a specified amount of money on or before a given date.
BOUNTY LAND WARRANT - A right to obtain land, specific number of acres of an allocated public land, granted for military service.
CENSUS - Official enumeration, listing or counting of citizens.
CERTIFIED COPY - A copy made and attested to by officers having charge of the original and authorized to give copies.
CHATTEL - Personal property which can include animate as well as inanimate properties.
CHRISTEN - To receive or initiate into the visible church by baptism; to name at baptism; to give a name to.
CIRCA - About, near, or approximate — usually referring to a date.
CIVIL WAR - War between the States; war between North and South, 1861-1865.
CODICIL - Addition to a will.
COLLATERAL ANCESTOR - Belong to the same ancestral stock but not in direct line of descent; opposed to lineal such as aunts, uncles & cousins.
COMMON ANCESTOR - Ancestor shared by any two people.
CONFEDERATE - Pertaining to the Southern states which seceded from the U.S. in 1860 - 1, government and citizens.
CONSANGUINITY - Blood relationship.
CONSORT - Usually, a wife whose husband is living
COUSIN - Relative descended from a common ancestor, but not a brother or sister.
DAUGHTER-IN-LAW - Wife of one’s son.
DECEDENT - A deceased person.
DECLARATION OF INTENTION - First paper, sworn to and filed in court, by an alien stating that he wants to be come a citizen.
DEED - A document by which title in real property is transferred from one party to another.
DEPOSITION - A testifying or testimony taken down in writing under oath of affirmation in reply to interrogatories, before a competent officer to replace to oral testimony of a witness.
DEVISE - Gift of real property by will.
DEVISEE - One to whom real property (land) is given in a will.
DEVISOR - One who gives real property in a will.
DISSENTER - One who did not belong to the established church, especially the Church of England in the American colonies.
DISTRICT LAND OFFICE PLAT BOOK - Books or rather maps which show the location of the land patentee.
DISTRICT LAND OFFICE TRACT BOOK - Books which list individual entries by range and township.
DOUBLE DATING - A system of double dating used in England and America from 1582-1752 because it was not clear as to whether the year commenced January 1 or March 25
DOWER - Legal right or share which a wife acquired by marriage in the real estate of her husband, allotted to her after his death for her lifetime.
EMIGRANT - One leaving a country and moving to another.
ENUMERATION - Listing or counting , such as a census.
EPITAPH - An inscription on or at a tomb or grave in memory of the one buried there.
ESCHEAT - The reversion of property to the state when there are no qualified heirs.
ESTATE - All property and debts belonging to a person.
ET AL - Latin for “and others”.
ET UX - Latin for “and wife”.
ET UXOR - And his wife. Sometimes written simply Et Ux.
EXECUTOR - One appointed in a will to carry out its provisions. Female=Executrix
FATHER-IN-LAW - Father of one’s spouse.
FEE - An estate of inheritance in land, being either fee simple or fee tail. An estate in land held of a feudal lord on condition of the performing of certain services.
FEE SIMPLE - An absolute ownership without restriction.
FEE TAIL - An estate of inheritance limited to lineal descendant heirs of a person to whom it was granted.
FRANKLIN, STATE OF - An area once known but never officially recognized and was under consideration from 1784 - 1788 from the western part of North Carolina.
FRATERNITY - Group of men (or women) sharing a common purpose or interest.
FREE HOLD - An estate in fee simple, in fee tail, or for life.
FRIEND - Member of the Religious Society of Friends; a Quaker.
FURLONG - See measurements.
GAZETTEER - A geographical dictionary; a book giving names and descriptions of places usually in alphabetical order.
GENEALOGY - Study of family history and descent.
GENTLEMAN - A man well born.
GIVEN NAME - Name given to a person at birth or baptism, one’s first and middle names.
GLEBE - Land belonging to a parish church.
GRANTEE - One who buys property or receives a grant.
GRANTOR - One who sells property or makes a grant.
GREAT-AUNT - Sister of one’s grandparent
GREAT-UNCLE - Brother of one’s grandparent.
GUARDIAN - Person appointed to care for and manage property of a minor orphan or an adult incompetent of managing his own affairs.
HALF BROTHER/HALF SISTER - Child by another marriage of one’s mother or father; the relationship of two people who have only one parent in common.
HEIRS - Those entitled by law or by the terms of a will to inherit property from another.
HOLOGRAPHIC WILL - One written entirely in the testator’s own handwriting.
HOMESTEAD ACT - Law passed by Congress in 1862 allowing a head of a family to obtain title to 160 acres of public land after clearing and improving it for 5 years.
HUGUENOT - A French Protestant in the 16th and 17th centuries. One of the reformed or calvinistic communion who were driven by the thousands into exile in England, Holland, Germany and America.
ILLEGITIMATE - Born to a mother who was not married to the child’s father.
IMMIGRANT - One moving into a country from another.
INDENTURE - Today it means a contract in 2 or more copies. Originally made in 2 parts by cutting or tearing a single sheet across the middle in a jagged line so the two parts may later be matched.
INDENTURED SERVANT - One who bound himself into service of another person for a specified number of years, often in return for transportation to this country.
INFANT - Any person not of full age; a minor.
INSTANT - Of or pertaining to the current month. (Abbreviated inst.)
INTESTATE - One who dies without a will or dying without a will.
INVENTORY - An account, catalog or schedule, made by an executor or administrator of all the goods and chattels and sometimes of the real estate of a deceased person.
ISSUE - Offspring; children; lineal descendants of a common ancestor.
LATE - Recently deceased.
LEASE - An agreement which creates a landlord - tenant situation.
LEGACY - Property or money left to someone in a will
LEGISLATURE - Lawmaking branch of state or national government; elected group of lawmakers.
LIEN - A claim against property as security for payment of a debt.
LINEAGE - Ancestry; direct descent from a specific ancestor.
LINEAL - Consisting of or being in as direct line of ancestry or descendants; descended in a direct line.
LIS PENDENS - Pending court action; usually applies to land title claims.
LODGE - A chapter or meeting hall of a fraternal organization.
LOYALIST - Tory, an American colonist who supported the British side during the American Revolution.
MAIDEN NAME - A girl’s last name or surname before she marries.
MANUSCRIPT - A composition written with the hand as an ancient book or an un-printed modern book or music.
MARRIAGE BOND - A financial guarantee that no impediment to the marriage existed, furnished by the intended bridegroom or by his friends.
MATERNAL - Related through one’s mother, such as a Maternal grandmother being the mother’s mother.
MEASUREMENTS - Link - 7.92 inches; Chain - 100 Links or 66 feet; Furlong - 1000 Links or 660 feet; Rod - 5 1/2 yds or 16 1/2 ft (also called a perch or pole); Rood - From 5 1/2 yards to 8 yards, depending on locality; Acre - 43,560 square ft or 160 square rods.
MESSUAGE - A dwelling house.
METES & BOUNDS - Property described by natural boundaries, such as 3 notches in a white oak tree, etc.
MICROFICHE - Sheet of microfilm with greatly reduced images of pages of documents.
MICROFILM - Reproduction of documents on film at reduced size.
MIGRANT - Person who moves from place to place, usually in search of work
MIGRATE - To move from one country or state or region to another. (Noun: migration)
MILITIA - Citizens of a state who are not part of the national military forces but who can be called into military service in an emergency; a citizen army, apart from the regular military forces.
MINOR - One who is under legal age; not yet a legal adult.
MISTER - In early times, a title of respect given only to those who held important civil officer or who were of gentle blood.
MOIETY - A half; an indefinite portion
MORTALITY - Death; death rate.
MORTALITY SCHEDULES - Enumeration of persons who died during the year prior to June 1 of 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 in each state of the United States, conducted by the bureau of census.
MORTGAGE - A conditional transfer of title to real property as security for payment of a debt.
MOTHER-IN-LAW - Mother of one’s spouse.
NAMESAKE - Person named after another person.
NECROLOGY - Listing or record of persons who have died recently
NEE - Used to identify a woman’s maiden name; born with the surname of.
NEPHEW - Son of one’s brother or sister.
NIECE - Daughter of one’s brother or sister.
NONCUPATIVE WILL - One declared or dictated by the testator, usually for persons in last sickness, sudden illness, or military.
ORPHAN - Child whose parents are dead; sometimes, a child who has lost one parent by death.
ORPHAN’S COURT - Orphans being recognized as wards of the states provisions were made for them in special courts.
PASSENGER LIST - A ships list of passengers, usually referring to those ships arriving in the from Europe.
PATENT - Grant of land from a government to an individual.
PATERNAL - Related to one’s father. Paternal grandmother is the father’s mother.
PATRIOT - One who loves his country and supports its interests.
PEDIGREE - Family tree; ancestry.
PENSION - Money paid regularly to an individual, especially by a government as reward for military service during wartime or upon retirement from government service.
PENSIONER - One who receives a pension.
PERCH - See measurements.
POLE - See measurements.
POLL - List or record of persons, especially for taxing or voting.
POST - Latin prefix meaning after, as in post-war economy.
POSTERITY - Descendants; those who come after.
POWER OF ATTORNEY - When a person in unable to act for himself, he appoints another to act in his behalf.
PRE - Latin prefix meaning before, as in pre-war military build-up.
PRE-EMOTION RIGHTS - Right given by the federal government to citizens to buy a quarter section of land or less.
PROBATE - Having to do with wills and the administration of estates.
PROGENITOR - A direct ancestor.
PROGENY - Descendants of a common ancestor; issue.
PROVED WILL - A will established as genuine by probate court.
PROVOST - A person appointed to superintend, or preside over something.
PROXIMO - In the following month, in the month after the present one.
PUBLIC DOMAIN - Land owned by the government.
QUAKER - Member of the Religious Society of Friends.
QUITCLAIM - A deed conveying the interest of the party at that time.
RECTOR - A clergyman; the ruler or governor of a country.
RELICT - Widow; surviving spouse when one has died, husband or wife.
REPUBLIC - Government in which supreme authority lies with the people or their elected representatives.
REVOLUTIONARY WAR - U.S. war for independence from Great Britain 1775-1783.
ROD - See measurements.
ROOD - See measurements.
SHAKER - Member of a religious group formed in 1747 which practiced communal living and celibacy.
SIBLING - Person having one or both parents in common with another; a brother or sister.
SIC - Latin meaning thus; copied exactly as the original reads. Often suggests a mistake or surprise in the original.
SON-IN-LAW - Husband of one’s daughter.
SPINSTER - A woman still unmarried; or one who spins.
SPONSOR - A bondsman; surety.
SPOUSE - Husband or wife.
STEP-BROTHER / STEP-SISTER - Child of one’s step-father or step-mother.
STEP-CHILD - Child of one’s husband or wife from a previous marriage.
STEP-FATHER - Husband of one’s mother by a later marriage.
STEP-MOTHER - Wife of one’s father by a later marriage.
SURNAME - Family name or last name.
TERRITORY - Area of land owned by the united States, not a state, but having its own legislature.
TESTAMENTARY - Pertaining to a will.
TESTATE - A person who dies leaving a valid will.
TESTATOR - A person who makes a valid will before his death.
TITHABLE - Taxable.
TITHE - Formerly, money due as a tax for support of the clergy or church.
TORY - Loyalist; one who supported the British side in the American Revolution.
TOWNSHIP - A division of U.S. public land that contained 36 sections, or 36 square miles. Also a subdivision of the county in many Northeastern and Midwestern states of the U.S.
TRADITION - The handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, genealogies, etc. from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth.
TRANSCRIBE - To make a copy in writing.
ULTIMO - In the month before this one.
UNION - The United States; also the North during the Civil War, the states which did not secede.
VERBATIM - Word for word; in the same words, verbally.
VITAL RECORDS - Records of birth, death, marriage or divorce.
VITAL STATISTICS - Data dealing with birth, death, marriage or divorce.
WAR BETWEEN THE STATES - U.S. Civil War, 1861 - 1865.
WARD - Chiefly the division of a city for election purposes.
WILL - Document declaring how a person wants his property divided after his death.
WITNESS - One who is present at a transaction, such as a sale of land or signing of a will, who can testify or affirm that it actually took place.
WPA HISTORICAL RECORDS SURVEY - A program undertaken by the US Government 1935 - 1936 in which inventories were compiled of historical material.
YEOMAN - A servant, an attendant or subordinate official in a royal household; a subordinate of a sheriff; an independent farmer.

Forms and Charts

The most commonly used types of forms & charts for recording information for your family history are the:-

Family Group Sheet Form
Family Pedigree or Ancestral Chart (usually 5 generations)
Census Forms
Source Forms

You will find all the Free Forms and Charts you will ever need at these websites. Have a look round each site first at their selection of charts, download a selection for yourself and then choose the ones you feel most comfortable with using.

Family Tree Magazine forms - lots of forms which can be downloaded in pdf or text

Genealogy Search: Free Genealogy Forms and Charts

1-Stop Free Shop: check out their Genealogy Resources page as well

Mary & Duane Baileys Website: lots of free genealogy charts to download

Your Family Tree: More great Free Genealogy Forms and Charts

Easy Genealogy Forms: includes Macintosh

also a site called Free Genealogy Forms has been recommended in a comment - looks very good and definitely worth visiting.

And of course the mummy & daddy of them all - Cyndi's List

PLEASE NOTE: You MUST have Adobe Acrobat Reader Plugin installed to print the documents from the sites listed below:-

Vertical Family Group Sheet
Vertical Pedigree Chart
5 Generation Ancestor Chart
Cemetery Log Sheet
Census Records
Illustrated Family Tree Charts
Marriage Log

Below are some examples of the two most important forms & charts you will need to begin your Family History.

Family Group Sheet

Pedigree/Ancestral Chart

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Beginning Your Family Tree: A Video Tutorial

To enlarge to full screen click on button at bottom, 2nd from right

Monday, 10 March 2008

How to collect your Family Information

1. Interview as many of your living relatives as possible e.g. parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Also find out about who the person married as well as death dates and places and occupations. Always begin with current dates and work backwards. If you get stuck, don't worry, just move to the next line or investigate the brothers or sisters of your ancestors. Sometimes they can reveal some of the best information for your research and break down a 'brick wall'.

2. Birth certificates of individuals almost always show the parents names and often other information, such as the mothers maiden name (her surname before marriage), the fathers occupation and their residence at the time of the birth.

3. Marriage certificates show each of the couples ages, occupations, residences and parents (usually just the fathers)names.

4. Death certificates show death dates, birth dates (or age at birth), parents and much more information including cause of death, residence, and who registered the death (usually a relative). Birth, marriage & death records are known as Vital Records or BMD's for short.

5. Your local newspaper office archive or library are good places to look up obituary notices which can provide a wealth of knowledge.

6. Sometimes Church Records (also known as OPR's or Old Parish Records)such as Baptismal, Marriage or Membership etc can reveal as much as vital records.

7. Cemeteries that you know your ancestors are buried in can provide useful information, with tombstones often listing other members of the family and relationships. Always write down as much as you can from a tombstone and try and take a photo and record its position for future reference if you can.

8. Family Photo Albums often provide a lot of information, as well as a visual record of relatives. See if you can get copies or scans made of any photos in your relatives possession.

9. Although Census records have been taken since 1790, it is only since 1841 they have been of any use to family historians. They are taken every 10 years and the last available is the 1901 in the UK and 1920 in the U.S. Begin with these and work backwards. These will help fill in missing pieces and find family members. Libraries and historical societies usually have copies on microfiche, but now there are many sources available on the internet.

10. Use the search engines on the internet, such as Google or Yahoo!. Enter the surname alone for a general search or the full name of an individual. Many connections can be made using this method. There are some good videos on YouTube available on how to search Google in depth for which I have links on the sidebar.

11. Make a sheet called a Family Group Sheet (or download from the internet) for each person in your family. Take the info you get on each ancestor and enter it on a seperate sheet.

12. Check Court House or Register Office records for your ancestors Deeds, Probate, (Wills, estate, intestate, inventories etc) Voters records etc.

13. Old Directories, such as Trade or Telephone can be a source of information and are now often available on websites such as Ancestry and other sites, as well as libraries.

Sunday, 9 March 2008


Genealogy, (which is the proper name for researching your ancestors, but we will be just be calling it 'family history' for most of the time)can be summed up in 3 steps:

1) Record what you know
2) Research what you want to know
3) Publish what you know

The most important thing to do when you begin to research your family history is to find out as much as you can from your existing relatives, particularly grandparents. Make copies of as many birth, marriage and death certificates as you can. There are forms available on the web that you can print off to make records of all the information you can find this way. It is better to start with a paper system as you can distribute copies around the family for them to fill in for you. Later you can download free family history programs to enable you to record your research on your PC.

Friday, 7 March 2008

The Troups of Scotland Records 1550 - 1955

Troup Births and Christenings 1553 to 1855 (Sorted by Name)

Troup Birth and Christenings 1553 to 1855 (Sorted by Place)

Male Troup Births 1855 to 1905

Female Troup Births 1855 to 1905

Troup Marriages 1553 to 1800

Troup Marriages 1800 to 1853

Male Troup Marriages 1854 to 1930

Female Troup Marriages 1854 to 1930

Troup Deaths 1855 to 1955

Troup Wills & Testaments

Troups in the 1841 Census

Troups in the 1851 Census

Troups in the 1861 Census

Troups in the 1871 Census

Troups in the 1881 Census (Sorted by Name - Includes Dwellings)

Troups in the 1881 Census (Sorted by Place - Includes Dwellings)

Troups in the 1891 Census

Troups in the 1901 Census