Reference Centre, Genealogy 101

Answers to Genealogy FAQs - Ancestry.com

Before you spend your money on a subscription, consider that there is now quite a lot of free information available on the web and the following points:

1.  All Family History Centres that have Internet access also have a free subscription to portions of Ancestry.com, which may encompass data from its' sister sites such as Ancestry.co.uk, and genealogy.com.  The centre is not permitted to charge its' patrons a fee to access the Internet or any of the paid subscription websites.  You will have to enquire at your local LDS Family History Centre to learn what data is available via their own Ancestry.com connection.

2.  Many public libraries now have library licences to access portions of Ancestry.com which, again, may encompass data from its' sister sites such as Ancestry.co.uk, and genealogy.com.  Generally, one has to attend at that public library to access the site from its' computers.  No charge is made for the use of the computer but more than likely you will have to schedule an appointment which may be limited to one hour for one sitting.  Enquire at your local public library to learn the details of their licence with Ancestry.com.

3.  There are now 11 new county projects underway, with more coming, that offer free transcripts of church records, tax lists, voters' rolls, directors, census returns and many other records.  If a transcription is not available, a look-up service may be offered.  The projects are referred to as the "OPC" scheme or Online Parish Clerks.  Current OPC projects exist for Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, West Somerset, Sussex, Warwickshire, and Wiltshire

4.  Big projects are underway to bring to the web transcriptions and indices to major record collections such as the birth, marriage and death civil registrations, census and parish registers.  In some cases, Ancestry.com actually pulls its' data from those big project sites, particularly FreeBMD.  Accordingly, until Ancestry.com completes its' routine update of its' records, the records posted to FreeBMD will always be more current.  Projects to search are FreeBMD, FreeCen and FreeReg.

5.  Other major transcription projects have been generated by the Federation of Family History Societies and the Society of Genealogists ("SOG").  Although these projects are not free to access, there is access to limited free searching and search results.  My personal favourite had been Family History Online, the site of the FFHS.  However, that site has now been absorbed by FindmyPast. The Origins web network was also a project of the SOG, but, it too, has now been absorbed into the FindmyPast website.

6.  Chat forums for genealogy are plentiful.  Much assistance can be gained by registering with a forum in the area that you are researching.  For British genealogy, I suggest joining RootsChat at www.rootschat.com.  I have no affiliation with the site or any of its' moderators or organizers but do contribute to it under a nom de plume.  Also check Genealogy.com's Genforum, which takes queries from researchers concerning ancestors in North America and Britain and contains over 14,000 online forums devoted to genealogy, including surnames, U.S. states, countries, and general topics.

I hope this information helps answer your question.

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