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Top Tips for when researching family history


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After you have made one post don't disappear and expect the world to come to you.

Engage with our readers, give as much detail about the history of your family and their connections to Warrington.

Don't forget most posts will disappear after 30 days unless they are "bumped" to keep them fresh.

Good luck.

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  • 3 years later...

I have been researching my families for about 10 years. It is so much quicker and easier nowadays via the internet, but not as much fun as ploughing through volumes of stuff at your local library or research centre.

May I offer the following tips, based on hard experience.


. Make sure everything is eventually set down in ink. Pencil fades and paper ages over time. If you are researching two sides of the family, use separate books.


2. Have an index of all the things you note down. I currently have 10 higgledy piggledy books and finding things is a nightmare.


3. Write your findings down in full. The abbreviation you use today will be forgotten in a years time, and will mean nothing should anyone eventually continue your research.


4 Try to cross check every discovery you make where possible. Co-incidences abound - e.g., nearly every village will have two people of the same name, particularly so if you have a reasonably common surname.


5. Prior to 1837 births did not have to be registered. By no means all children were christened. Those that were, often had to wait until another child came along, to save expense. I had a four christening event, the eldest being 7.


6. Again, mainly appertaining to older records, most people couldn't write so the record will show what the recorder heard, or thought he heard. I have found 10 variations on the name Hayes. Even today people say"is that Haze".


7. Use the internet as much as possible. For anything pre 1837 the free Latter Day Saints Family Search site is best, but unfortunately it is by no means comprehensive. You will find very few deaths on that site. Hugh Wallis IGI batch numbers is a sister to LDS. Google Warrington OPC for local records - particularly useful for older St Elphins records. (also Cheshire BMD). Free BMD is excellent for more modern national records.


8 There is a lot more to be said, but don't struggle alone. There are sites a'plenty full of people who are perhaps house-bound and are waiting to answer cries for help. Genes Re-united is excellent for starters. People on there have learned the hard way and some will have access to books full of information. Your questions will be answered in a very short time.


9. Most importantly. Speak to members of your families, particularly the older ones, and take down everything they know. It won't turn out to be absolutely correct, but true enough to save you a lot of time and expense.


Best wishes Happy days

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