Hall Genealogy Beginners Page
The Flag of St George & England
Updated Thu, 23-Mar-2017

A few pointers to start you off on your UK research:-

Common Genealogy Myths

Make sure you keep full records of all your research. Record and date your sources of information.

Original sources (birth, marriage certificates etc) are the most accurate. There are a lot of on-line resources available, which make life a lot easier nowadays, but they must always be followed up by obtaining the original documents for verification.

Remember that on-line resources are mostly indexes and are therefore very likely to include errors, so to repeat - check with the original source! Don't make assumptions - always verify.

Also remember that in the UK, civil registration was not introduced until 1837, so looking for certificates in the various Registry Offices (RO) before that date will be fruitless. For earlier events, you have to consult Parish Registers, which may not still be in the relevant church but in libraries or in the County Record Offices (CRO), or from Bishop's Transcripts (BT). In such cases, it is important you try to obtain the name of the Church and or Parish to help in your search.

Family legends and stories often have a lot of truth in them, but they should always be treated with caution and verified.

As you are using your computer, it's a good idea to use a genealogy program in which to keep all your data. See the Genealogy Applications page for guidance.


Start with your own birth, baptismal, marriage certificates etc. and those of your parents and work back from them. Wills and Probate records are some other useful resources. See Barbara's Registration Page for help with obtaining Certificates.

Make use of the Census Returns to help find family members. Finding one will often reveal other members in the same house. The Census was taken every 10 years since 1841, which is the earliest one of any use to Genealogists, although that one has limited information. In the UK, regulations restrict Census information to being published 100 years after the event, the last one available being 1901, which is fully on-line. This policy is currently under review. The dates of the Census can be found on the Genealogy Documents Page and On-line Census and other Resources can be found on the Resources Page.

You might like to look at this site for detailed advice on Research.

Join a Mailing List for the County you are researching from an index of English Mailing Lists where you can correspond with others researching in your area and maybe even the same families that you are looking for.

You will find various Birth Marriage and Death (BMD) websites on the Census Page.

Wherever possible, try to obtain your certificates from the appropriate Local Registrar, as they will be cheaper than from the GRO, but you must give them some detail.

Finally, you will find links on these pages to most of what is available on-line and a section on Old Occupations which you may come across in your research.

Further recommended reading can be found at Roy Stockdill's Newbie page and at Free Expert Genealogy Advice

You can also download this Word Document of further reading. Although it is not specifically for UK research, it is a useful guide.

A free online genealogy course can be had here and research strategies here and here.


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