For complete newcomers to Family History here are just a
few comments about the variety of sources which I used and are
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
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
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.
FAMILY HISTORY CENTRES
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
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, (www.familysearch.org), 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
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.
||Rapidly growing database of other Family
History researchers. Very useful for finding distant relatives.
|International Genealogy Index
||Search for Parish records (part of above
|Search for Places and Film Numbers
||Find film numbers for ordering from LDS
Family History Centres
||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:
||Index of Births, Marriages and Deaths
1837- 1920 (part finished but still progressing)
||Full 1901 census of England and
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.
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
www.rootsweb.com 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
||Find out about your Parish and General
||General Family History Research
||Find batch numbers for IGI Searches, and
shortcut your search.
||Online place and map search
|IGI Place Search
||Search facility for Place and Parish film
|Find My Past
||Commercial databases of Births, Marriages
and Deaths; Censuses and several other useful lists.
||Scottish Public Record Office for Online
||A good search engine which uses a variety
of methods by utilising other search engines.
||Now one of the best search engines (of
the crawler type).
||Yahoo is an excellent search directory to
Useful Coventry area addresses:
Coventry City Record Office: Bayley Lane, Coventry
Tel: 02476 832418 holds Coventrys 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.