Reference Centre, Genealogy 101

Answers to Genealogy FAQs - Finding Information on CityArk

First, the website address of CityArk is

http://cityark.medway.gov.uk/

As I know that quite a number of people have great difficulty finding any records on the CityArk website, I am including here a set of instructions for successful searching.

On CityArk, the first thing one has to be aware of is that its' search facility only searches the metadata of its' archival file inventory. For instance, you might be able to find some reference to an ancestor who didn't pay their taxes but you will not find a reference to a baptism, marriage or burial for that ancestor through that search facility. Nor will you be able to locate a link through to a parish register from that search. One has to go through the procedure that I will set out below.

A.  On the home page for CityArk, go to the link in the second left-hand blue navigation pane, titled 'Cityark - Searching'. Close to the bottom of that section you will find a link to the 'Parish Records Online'. Click on that link. You will then be delivered to a page where all of the registers are listed and linked to their respective images.

B.  On that register listing page, scroll down until you get to the applicable listings. All of Cityark's records are image based. Except for marriages there is no index to the parish registers. So, you will have to go through multiple images one-by-one until you find what it is you are after. To learn about the marriage index please see the FAQ that deals with CityArk marriage index.

C.  Click on the link next to the parish that you wish to search. None of the registers are indexed online and one has to slog through each image file until a sought after entry is found. But next I will walk you through getting to the registers.

D.  Clicking on the parish link will take you to a third page on which multiple sections of the register are broken down by event type and span of years. Each little section is separated by a very faint blue line. In each section you will either see a button that says "View Images" or simply a description of that particular section of the register. If there is a "View Images" button then you can view the registers online for that section.

E.  Presuming that the section that you want does have a "View Images" button, click on that button, which will take you to yet another page.

F.  Now you will be greeted with a page that has nothing but a list of jpg files and sizes. Each of those jpg files contains the images of one or two pages of the registers. You will have to click through each jpg file in order to find the requisite entry. However, an educated guess can be made as to a narrow selection of files to view by dividing the number of years covered by that group of files into the number of jpg files listed. For instance, if a register selection contains 50 jpg files and covers events over a 20-year period and you are looking for an event that occurred within the fifth year of that 20-year period, then you would want to start viewing the tenth, eleventh or twelfth jpg file (50 ÷ 20 × 5 = 12) and work back and forth between the files until you find the entry.

In summary, except for the marriage index (see related FAQ), there is no index! There is no rapid method by which one can determine what are baptisms, marriages or burials, unless the register selections have been broken down by those individual events. One will have to go through multiple image files until an entry is found. There are no shortcuts!

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