Free and Open Genealogy Resources (UK & International)

We requested, you prompt…

Lately, by way of the facility of free knowledge sources, some valuable images, letters and paperwork belonging to a flight engineer who died in World Conflict 2 discovered a brand new residence and function with a blood relative.  

In November 1942, the flight engineer was a part of a crew who perished when their airplane was hit by flak. He was 25 and had been married to his childhood sweetheart for simply six months.

Some 60 years later, a distant cousin researching the household tree discovered the flight engineer’s particulars on the Commonwealth War Graves web site. His widow was nonetheless listed within the BT Telephone Directory, so the cousin wrote a letter hoping to be taught extra, however acquired no reply.   

Six years later, nevertheless, the widow’s nephew and executor of her will wrote to say he had discovered the cousin’s letter in his aunt’s recordsdata. He confirmed the household connection and provided to share copies of images, letters and extra. Later, on reflection, he determined to go the entire assortment to the cousin, since his was the direct household line. 

Now the cousin – who occurs to be a historical past instructor – is the custodian of the gadgets, and he makes use of them as an example his classes. So, the flight engineer’s story lives on – all because of a few free searches.

Picture of the flight engineer’s burial web site – Oldebroek General Cemetery, NL (CWWG)

Open sources, galore

That is a robust little story that illustrates the advantages of Free UK Family tree’s imaginative and prescient of creating knowledge extra accessible, extra usable, and free, ceaselessly (see our previous blog).

This week, we requested you (by way of Social Media) on your suggestions for FREE websites that YOU use in your analysis – and also you got here up with the products. In actual fact, there have been so many ideas, we plan to share them over two blogs!

Under, we are going to cowl the nationwide and worldwide sources you might have really helpful. Then, subsequent time, we are going to share your native gems.

“Free to All”

Excessive on the record is FamilySearch, which has the tagline “Free to All”. Supplied by The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, FamilySearch is devoted to preserving necessary household information and making them freely accessible on-line. Initially supposed for Church members, the FamilySearch assets are actually open to everybody to find their heritage and join with relations.

A number of of you might have cited the Online Genealogical Index (OGI) – a free software that saves researchers hours of time by discovering the precise web site they want. The OGI started as a spreadsheet in January 2012 and at the moment has over 407,000 hyperlinks to very important file knowledge (start, baptism, marriage, dying, burial), in addition to faculty information, graveyard headstones, conflict memorials and household pedigrees. The software’s creator is a genealogist himself who was pissed off with subscription websites promoting entry to assets that have been free elsewhere.

A extremely really helpful supply: UKBMD. In 2000, the county of Cheshire revolutionised public entry to start, marriage and dying (BMD) information courting again to 1837 when a joint undertaking between the county’s registration companies and household historical past societies resulted in CheshireBMD. Different counties adopted their lead, and UKBMD was began as a easy web site to allow the principle county BMD websites to be discovered by way of one handy place to begin. Many extra BMD-related websites have since been added, overlaying parish information and Bishops Transcripts.

Now, you would possibly suppose that UKBMD is a rival to FreeBMD. However there’s a refined distinction that’s of distinctive worth to genealogists. The place FreeBMD transcribes the GRO indexes, UKBMD has transcribed the unique indexes created by the native registrars. For that reason, our databases can differ barely. For instance, within the occasion that pages are lacking in a single index, they’d doubtless be current within the different. Each are volunteer-led tasks and so have comparable commitments to high quality of provision and there may be truly potential for us to mix our efforts sooner or later, to reinforce wider entry to BMD information.

Once more, in the identical vein as FreeBMD, you talked about the GRO website. As Howard, a FreeBMD volunteer defined:

The GRO web site (England and Wales BMD certificates) might be identified to [many genealogists], however some might not understand that it is free to look its indexes (which give somewhat extra data than the paper indexes which different web sites have transcribed.

Staying with the BMD certificates theme, the BMD Certificate Exchange Facebook group was amongst your prompt assets. The group is a highly regarded one, with over 10,000 members, and is “a way to share start, dying, marriage, burial, and different certificates with fellow genealogists who might have an curiosity in them”. You by no means know, it’s possible you’ll discover a certificates in there you’ll in any other case need to buy!

One other favorite you might have really helpful is GENUKI which offers a digital reference library of main sources of genealogical data related to the UK and Eire. The content material is offered by a gaggle of volunteers, and the location is maintained by a charitable belief. Established in 1995, it now incorporates greater than 110,000 pages of knowledge.

On an identical theme, Dustydocs is a ‘web-linking web site’ of English Baptisms, Marriages and Burials information for the years 1538 to 1900. Their data is sourced from freely obtainable church and BMD information, and validated consumer contributions.

Eire, US and Canada

For these researching Irish ancestors, you might have really helpful two nationwide websites. The primary is the National Archives Genealogy Website the place you possibly can achieve free entry (by way of searchable databases and linked photos of related pages) to an entire host of genealogical materials within the custody of Eire’s nationwide archives. This contains the Census of Ireland 1901/1911 and Census fragments and substitutes, 1821-51.

The second advice is, a authorities web site the place you possibly can search and freely entry information from a variety of on-line sources together with the historic registers and indexes to the BMD registers, some church information, and others such because the census knowledge and troopers’ wills.

For these with American ancestors, you instructed us about The USGenWeb Project. Established in 1996 by a gaggle of genealogists who shared a need to create free on-line assets, it started with itemizing on-line directories of text-based assets. The positioning has since grown right into a community of over 3,000 linked web sites, all individually created and maintained by a neighborhood of volunteers. It contains a wide range of distinctive county and state assets comparable to images, maps, transcriptions, historic paperwork, and useful hyperlinks.

And for Canadian ancestors, you prompt the location for the Royal British Columbia (BC) Museum and Archives, which provides a variety of knowledge in three searchable databases. These embody textual information, images, sound recordings, transferring photos, and maps; descriptions of publications held within the library comparable to books, directories and authorities studies; and BMD registrations.

Are you aware of some other UK and worldwide assets?

Put them within the kind on the backside of the web page and we’ll add them to the record


So, again to the free sources utilized in our flight engineer’s story, the Commonwealth Conflict Graves web site was additionally amongst your suggestions (as you would possibly count on) – and, though phone directories weren’t talked about, maybe they’re a useful resource value contemplating.  
That stated, whereas the present phone listing is freely obtainable on-line, evidently previous points are solely accessible by way of a paid-for web site, which appears a disgrace.  

If you’re keen on OPEN, GLOBAL GENEALOGY, please do register your curiosity to participate on this yr’s on-line annual conference to be held on-line on twenty second and twenty ninth Could.

And look out for our subsequent weblog in your FREE native and different web site suggestions.