Genealogy SIG Newsletter: October 2013
What’s new on Ancestry

The 1901 and 1911 census for Ireland have been available for some time on the National Archives of Ireland website. The index for the census has been trancribed and added to Ancestry - which seems easier to search compared with the NA Ireland website.

New collection from Birmingham Library including:

Other new databases:

And an important one for anyone researching in Canada

What’s new on Findmypast
What’s new on Family Search

Three new/updated parish register collections:


Changes on Ancestry

Over the last few months there have been some changes and improvements in the search methods used on Ancestry. For those who for many years have been using what is known as the “old search method”, you will gradually find that this will be removed and combined with the “new search method”. Whether this is an improvement or not is debatable!

Ancestry have produced some guidelines on how to get the most out of your searches which I thought might be of interest to us all.

There is one important thing to consider when searching, and that is whether or not to tick the “exact matches only” box.

I find that results from a search using “exact matches only” are generally more accurate and relevant – but it is important that if you use this type of search then you don’t enter too much information in the search boxes. Start with the minimum but if you get too many results then add a little more.

If you do not use “exact matches only” then Ancestry recommends that to get the most out of your search, type in as much information as possible, and if you don’t know a date for example, then take an educated guess.

Don’t forget about using wildcards in your searches – very useful with names that can be spelt in different ways, or when trying to find something which may have been mistranscribed.

It’s all explained on the link above!


Ancestry blog

To keep up to date with happenings on Ancestry you may find it useful to sign up for the Ancestry blog email - click here
You can sign up by clicking on the email icon under the notifications heading (right hand column of the page)

One recent blog entry which makes interesting reading is about common research mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, it’s a learning curve, but by reading the blog hopefully you will avoid the errors mentioned.

Useful for all of us but I think the newer members of the group will find this of particular interest.


The National Archives (TNA)

The National Archives website has just undergone an update/modernisation which hopefully makes the site easier to use and navigate. Clicking on the MENU button (top centre) on the home page will show the six main sections of the site, namely:
About / Education / Records / Information Management / Archives Sector / More

For genealogy research purposes the section which will be of most help is RECORDS.

If you are new to the website, then the “start your research here” section will provide you with an idea of what is and isn’t available.

Other sections which I think you will find particularly useful are:

The National Archives holds many records which can help you find out about people's lives, deaths and careers. These sections provide you with detailed research guides on a variety of topics and will also direct you to useful records held in other achvies and organisations, as well as inforation as to which records are available online.

You can search the National Archives collection by using the Catalogue search page.

Unfortunately, out of the vast collection of records held at the National Archives, only 5% can be downloaded, the remaining 95% of records are in paper form only! For copies of records which are not available online, you can use the Record Copying service, with records either being copied on to paper and posted or prepared digitally and sent by email. For details of the service, click here.

It's never been an easy website to use but I think the new design makes it a lot easier to navigate, so if you haven't looked at it for a while then give it another try.

Until next month ..
Elaine


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