Whether you are new to genealogy or have been researching your family tree for many years Ancestry.co.uk can be a very useful tool. It is true that there are many free resources out there for determining your roots, sometimes the family history will take you places you cannot easily access physically or you will run into a roadblock on the way.
Formerly known as The Generations Network, Ancestry.com is an online database containing 5 billion records. Since this is an American based company, the records begin with genealogical data for the United States, though records for other countries are constantly being uploaded to the site. For example, they now have indexes and images of every census from 1841-1911 for:
Other records on Ancestry.co.uk include but are not limited to:
- Military service- Draft, enlistment, awards, decorations, pensions, news, photos and much more
- Parish Records- baptism, birth, death, marriage and burial- these records are vital to anyone researching before 1837 when Civil Registration began.
- Variety of records added daily- such as Abstracts of wills 1658 Wooten etc…
As you prepare to use the databases at Ancestry.co.uk to fill in your family history, it is important that you compile some basic information ahead of time. There is a wealth of information in oral tradition among your current living relatives for example. Start by listing your family members, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and more. Include significant dates and locations to each name, such as where/ when they were born, married, gave birth, died and burial.
Follow your oral records up with as much physical data as possible. Many of these records are public and can be copied and kept in your own genealogical binders. When you begin searching through the archives at Ancestry.co.uk these records may help, you fill in the blanks or confirm that you are tracing the right family lines on the site. In some cases, especially for very old records, the copy will be degraded or missing words and sentences. Having your own copies will cut down on the possibility of errors.
Tracing all the roots of your family tree can be a fun and eye opening experience. Many times, you will find personal letters and anecdotes that add personality to your great-great-great-great grandmother twice removed! You may even find some surprising results such as Irish, Scottish or even American Indian heritage that you knew nothing about. Ancestry.co.uk is a valuable source for compiling your family history, wherever it may take you in the world.
Should you use a subscription bases service like Ancestry.co.uk for your family history? It is true that there are many free resources both online and off, but if you are like most people, your time may be severely limited. Being able to access the databases in your spare time (even at 2 am sometimes) can be a valuable asset.