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
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
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
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