Starting your family history
- do your homework - collect as much information from relatives, family papers and old photos as you can so that you have a name, place and approximate date to start from.
- don't worry if you can't find out much - often we can help you to get started. You can also spend time with one of our Searchroom Buddies - Contact us to make an appointment.
- decide what you want to do - do you want to trace the male line or both sides of your family? It is better to concentrate on one branch of the family at a time.
- bring details of all the information you have - it can include a clue you hadn't realized.
- read a book - there are many guides to tracing family history that will give you basic information about sources to help you, and show you how to organize your work.
- get organized - you can find information in a wide variety of sources so you need to keep careful notes of what you find and where you found it. It is important to make a note of all the sources you check, even if you don't find any useful information in them.
- check the Online catalogue - this shows the sources available for your area. Most of our parish registers (baptisms, marriages and burials) are available on self-service microform so you can use them immediately. If you find references to original documents you would like to see you can pre-order them so they are ready for you when you arrive.