When it comes to family, there are few things in life that are more important. And if you’ve ever wondered who your ancestors were, then you’re certainly not alone! No matter how big or small your family is, finding out about your past ancestors is not only a fascinating business but could also be crucial to helping you understand yourself as a person.
In fact, genealogy has taken off in Britain in recent years, particularly as recent legislation has helped in the release of census documents from hundreds of years ago. Programmes like the BBC’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ have popularised the importance of finding out your family history, with famous TV stars and personalities – including Barbara Windsor, Jeremy Paxman and David Tennant, among others – all portraying their search for their ancestors.
In today’s world, where people are perpetually online, there are hundreds of websites that allow you to search for your family history. Genealogy search is becoming ever-more important as more and more look towards their past to find answers for the present and the future. If you’re a novice at family tree research, then it’s important to explore a variety of family search tools in order to familiarise yourself with techniques and tips that will help you find what you’re looking for.
For instance, if you’re looking for an ancestor that was born prior to 1875, bear in mind that an estimated 6 to 10 per cent of births were not registered in this period and it was only in 1875 that compulsory registration of both births and deaths was implemented. What’s more, searching for births, deaths and marriages further back than this proves even more difficult, since the introduction of General Civil Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths only occurred in 1837 in England and Wales.
Novice genealogy searchers, however, should also bear in mind census inaccuracies when trying to compile their family trees. Census records are an invaluable resource for people who are tracing their family history; in fact, census returns are crucial because they can not only tell people who their ancestors were and what they did, but also where they lived and whether or not they had brothers and sisters. This can help reunite families as people exploring their family past may discover they have uncles, aunts or cousins they didn’t know existed.
Many websites and resources that allow people to make genealogy searches will offer excellent tips and techniques in order for you to make the most effective search for your family tree. So, wherever you choose to search for your ancestors, you can rest assured you’ll find something that will afford you a glimpse into your family past!