Visit my main HOME PAGE
HELP ?Email me


For complete newcomers to Family History here are just a few comments about the variety of sources which I used and are available.


Possibly the one to start with is the National Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths ( also known as St. Catherine's House Index), which is usually on Microfiche, and includes thse events occurring since July 1837. The records are arranged firstly in approximate chronological order i.e. Year, and Quarter; then Surname followed by Christian name(s); then Place of Registration; and finally the Reference Number. No details of parents are given (nor of the spouse in marriages). However if the entry can be found a Certificate can be ordered by post to obtain the vital details to take you on into the previous generation.

( Also see later for the Internet version)

The Library will usually have a number of films for the important 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881 and 1891 Censuses. These are in street order as walked by the Enumerator and can be browsed through for complete families. They will be limited to the Census Districts near to the area served by the library.
Often the Library has a Street Index to obtain the approximate position in the film. It should give the Enumeration District number and Folio number which can then be found at the top of the Census pages.

The other main source of information is the International Genealogical Index (IGI).This record of extracts from Parish Registers is particularly valuable for events before 1837. It is available on fiche in libraries and via the Internet.


Many towns and cities have Family History Centres of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints which are open to the general public. Here similar records to Libraries are available.

However these Centres also provide a further service in that they will obtain films for you on request, if they do not hold a copy. This enables you to research records of a Parish or Town from a distance, even from the other side of the world.


For viewers of these pages who may not be regular Internet users, this modern media contains unbelievable amounts of information and advice for Family History researchers and it is growing by the day.

One of the most valuable worldwide resource has to be the online version of the IGI, (, a huge database, which can be searched in a few minutes for records of Baptisms and Marriages up to about the 1870s, and can save a vast amount of time. Beginners should beware that the database covers only a proportion of the actual Parish records as many churches refused to let their registers be filmed. It is therefore too easy to jump to conclusions because you see no other records. Another recent problem is the considerable number of patrons own records (including guesses) and these should be checked against the actual Parish registers. The IGI should only be used as a helpful guide and NOT as a definitive database.
The web site also has several other large searchable databases and the 1881 Census. This web site has many pages of information on all aspects of family history research, including 1881 Census of GB and Canada.
Genesreunited Rapidly growing database of other Family History researchers. Very useful for finding distant relatives.
International Genealogy Index Search for Parish records (part of above site)
Search for Places and Film Numbers Find film numbers for ordering from LDS Family History Centres
Batch Numbers Find a film "Batch number" for extending a search on IGI
Access to Archives A2A allows you to search and browse for information about archives dating from the eighth century to the present day held in local record offices and libraries, universities, museums and national and specialist institutions across England and Wales, where they are made available to the public. .

Other large important searchable databases for British ancestors are the the following:

Free BMD Index of Births, Marriages and Deaths 1837- 1920 (part finished but still progressing)
1901 Census Full 1901 census of England and Wales

In addition there are hundreds of very useful web sites on the Internet giving advice. Some offer huge amounts of information on many aspects of the hobby.
It is fun to search around for occurrences of your NAMES by using a "Search Engine", of which there are several types each using different methods of searching. As this leads to widely differing results it is a good idea to use several of these tools. Also when using several search words to reduce irrelevant results try switching the order of the words as some are order specific. I often use the type which combines a collection of different methods ( other search engines actually) and find DOGPILE very good.
If your search produces too many confusing results I suggest that you use "Family History" (in the inverted commas) OR Genealogy (not both) in the search box to reduce the numbers plus, if you are sure, the place you expect to find the family.

(See list of web pages I have used set out below)


Another most valuable source of information is "other people". Access to the Internet gives you the facility of EMAIL.
Mailing Lists are available for most English counties (and many countries too), and every day thousands of subscribers read requests for help and advice, and some will do "look ups" using facilities which they have or can easily get to. Visit and follow your nose to Mailing Lists and the particular ones you need.


Somewhere in your area will be a Family History Society. Most likely its members will have done valuable and laborious work on Indexing records and films to enable future members to easily research their families. It will have numerous booklets, books, fiches to use or purchase. Try your telephone directory go to the web site mentioned below. If much of your research is in areas distant to where you live, it will often be an advantage to join the relevant society to take advantage of any research facilities they offer.


Genuki Find out about your Parish and General research advice.
Rootsweb General Family History Research site.
Batch Numbers Find batch numbers for IGI Searches, and shortcut your search.
Multimap Online place and map search
IGI Place Search Search facility for Place and Parish film numbers.
Find My Past Commercial databases of Births, Marriages and Deaths; Censuses and several other useful lists.
Scots Origins Scottish Public Record Office for Online searches
Dogpile A good search engine which uses a variety of methods by utilising other search engines.
Google Now one of the best search engines (of the crawler type).
Yahoo Yahoo is an excellent search directory to use.


Useful Coventry area addresses:

Coventry City Record Office: Bayley Lane, Coventry CV1 5RG
Tel: 02476 832418 holds Coventry’s archive collections and films of many local Parish registers, though the Warwickshire County Record Office hold the County parish registers.

Coventry City Library: Local Studies, Central Library, Smithford Way, Coventry, CV1 1FY
Telephone: 02476 832336     Fax: 02476 832440     Email:

There is also a web site at:

Coventry Family History Centre (LDS): Riverside Close, Coventry .Tel: 02476 303316

Warwickshire County Record Office: Priory Park, Cape Road, Warwick. CV34 4JS
Tel: 01926 412735     Fax: 01926 412509     Email:

There is a web site at

An index to Warwickshire burials 1813-1837 is complete, and one for the period up to 1813 is in progress. These are not available at the County Record Office but are administered by the Birmingham and Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry.

Rugby Library: Tel: 01788 542687 for Rugby and Parishes east of Coventry.

Nuneaton Library: Tel: 02476 384027 for Nuneaton and surrounding Parishes.

Bedworth Library: Tel; 02476 312267 for Bedworth, Exhall and Parishes north of Coventry.

Back to Top of Page