This is Part 4 of David Boughton's Genealogy Pages

There are two A4 pages in this part so far.

Searchable online documents

There are many UK sources to be looked at if you have the time, if you know where they are, if you are willing to travel some way to see them, if you are willing to book a time and a seat in a record office or local studies library, if you are willing to search through unindexed/partly indexed documents, if you are then willing to write it all down longhand before you finally use the one surname and date in your family tree, family data base or your book.

When searching for information before 1837 you must be resigned to doing the above, unless you are very lucky. But slowly and hopefully very surely, data is being transferred onto something readable and searchable, that is easy to access and won't cost you too much.

The idea behind these few pages was to list those sources that I have used with some examples of what I have found, how to access them, some comments on their value and when and where to use them.

Having said all that, I will take each source in no particular order and let you see what there is (at the time of writing this).

Source 1 - Civil Registration Indexes for England - BMD Project

Before you jump straight to this site, don't expect miracles. The task of doing this is enormous and having started in 1998 using voluntary help, it will be some time before they cover the current authorized time period. Yes, it is legal and above board and hopefully will remain free. They started with January - March, 1849. Well, every large project has to start somewhere.

Here's the site of the Free BMD provided by ROOTSWEB. It already has done many records, but it is not yet finished.

If you do access it then the least you can do is to offer to help by doing some transcribing for them. That's the only way in which the project will move forward as it still has some way to go.

But I also suggest you read the article in the March 99 Issue of "Family Tree Magazine" Pg.9-10 entitled "A Comedy of Errors" which will dampen your enthusiam for any use of the GRO Indexes. It also says that the efforts by the Free BMD group are "futile and absurd" because of all the errors made in the original indexing. While this may be true in part, any search could prove to be much more difficult or even impossible. Not all events were registered in the early years and family details are often incorrectly remembered so that your searches are based on incorrect information. But we all knew that anyway, didn't we.
Pause here to reflect on some of those things we were told in our early information gathering days...........Did we double check?

Just to quote one example. An aunt of mine, Nellie, was baptised Ellen Marion, but never known under either name due to sharing them with at least two others in her close family. I eventually found this out, but not her year of birth, so needed to search the GRO's over a 5 year period. This was unsuccessful even at the second attempt since I ignored several entries giving an unexpected registration district. Then, eliminating all but one, I assumed that the GRO Index had mixed up the district for the birth with that of the next name on the list! Only on the receipt of the certified copy did I prove that the family had moved 100 miles away to a new job and then returned to their home town later on.

Of course if you use a pay-per-view site such as Ancestry.com you can access a lot of the printed index since it uses FreeBMD, as well as showing the index pages, but the comments above on the accuracy stil hold.
Rumour has it that all of the entries are to be re-indexed and will then provide much more useful information.

Source 2 - Searchable UK Parish Registers

These were originally listed as I came across them by county and place. But so many of them have been given new url's or the sites closed, that it's best if you google or go to the larger sites.
However the FreeREG project has been under way for some time as a companion project to the FreeBMD project and may be worth a look.

Source 3 - Census Indexes

There are now widely available from commercial sites so I don't need to advertise them.

Source 4 - Ships Passenger Lists

Again, these are easily found via Google and only involve signing up to what you want.

Source 5 - Parish Location

Starting from your basic information, you will begin to build up a picture of where families were living at a particular point in time. This should direct you to specific Parish Registers. Try www.familysearch.org to see if they have it. But you may find that there are gaps or brick walls. This could be due to a birth or marriage taking place some way away from their usual place of residence. The most frequent example of this is the second marriage soon after the early death of a husband or wife. Or perhaps the baptism of a child some distance from where the other children were taken.
Just trying to find them by searching online Parish Registers has no guarantee of success. Even the legwork in going to the nearest County Record Office is likely to prove very frustrating since most are not indexed. The solution is to build up a picture of what might have happened by putting together information from as many other sources as possible. So, it's the online Census Index, online Directories (more and more are being issued as searcheable CD-ROMs), GRO Indexes and even historical documents. These are now being indexed as local authorities open up more of their archives and make searching via the internet for clues a possibility. Court records, transportation details, fines, taxes, are all possible sources of location details.

Source 6 - Other Vital Records Indexes

Different countries, different sources should not be overlooked if the possibility of foreign travel existed. Bear in mind that at any time in the last 200 years soldiers and sailors travelled far and wide in the UK and to many different countries. So search sources in a different country if there is any chance that your relative could have gone there. Many countries are now included in the IGI. Many census records of European countries are now online. Don't forget the overseas GRO BMD's.

Source 7 - Memorials and War Graves Information

This is a resource that is growing fast and very informative.
The first source that I used online, the Commonwealth War Graves Commision complements the microfiche indexes of the GRO Overseas Events for the UK War Deaths for 1914-1918 and 1939-1948 and the CD-ROM for the Soldiers who Died in the Great War. It also includes the list of 60,000 civilians who died in WW2 in the U.K.

I have included the information listed for the Boughton surname here, together with additional information on the birthplace and age at death. It now totals some 70 Boughtons, mostly UK, but I have also listed those from Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Index to the other parts of this site

Index to Genealogy pages.
Part 1...Where and how did the name originate?
Part 2...The earliest mention of the name.
Part 3...Birth's, marriages and deaths before 1837.
This is Part 4.
Part 5...The IGI and other comprehensive sources.
Part 6...Links to Surname Lists.
Part 7...Loose Ends.
Part 8...Trees and Tables. (First tree added 28/4/02).
Part 9...Useful References.

Latest update: 24th April 2013