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Friday, 20 January 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy – Free Online Genealogy Tools


There is plenty of genealogical information and records online that you have to pay for, and sometimes there is no alternative. But before you part with your hard-earned, it makes sense to see what you can find out free of charge first.

FamilySearch is obviously the biggest and the best, as well as being the best-known. But there are many more free resources if you know where to look. I have written earlier posts about Digital Microfilm and Parish Registers Online which deal with free British, mainly English, resources.

Other major sites are FreeBMD for England and Wales birth, marriage and death indexes, and UKBMD for local indexes. The local indexes are better because they lead to original records, not the copies that are held by the GRO, but the coverage is limited. FreeCen  is a companion site of FreeBMD which can be very useful, although you will still need to use a commercial site or microfilm to see the images.

These are all reasonably well-know, but one of my favourite and under-used sites in the London Gazette. It is mainly used by genealogists looking for records of change of name, bankruptcy and gallantry awards, but it contains a lot more than that. You can find notices of the legal dissolution of business partnerships, sales of property following chancery cases and results of Civil Service examinations and appointments. I recorded a podcast The London Gazette: not just the brave and the bankrupt  that gives a lot more detail. This was in November 2010, and since then all of the printed indexes have been added to the site as pdf files. The portal site Gazettes Online also links to the Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes, which contain similar content.


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