The Website that provides free guidance and documentation to help you start and continue ‘Family History Research’, with links to many useful research sources.

Hello, and welcome to the FreeGen Start Page

We invite you to follow the 3 STEPS listed below.
We offer you this free advice to start you on the road of discovering your ancestors.

Most people have more information than they realize.
Organizing this information will make researching your family history a lot easier.

  1. Draw a brief pedigree of your family.
    You can download a basic pedigree chart here
  2. Talk to family members; the greatest source of information is family members.

    Visit them, and talk to them about their families. Take a notepad, pen and pencil, and perhaps a tape recorder if you have one, and a camera also if you have one. Let them know the purpose of your visit. Call as soon as you can. Memories fade with time. Take your pedigree chart with you.
  3. Collect all the information you can. Obtain photocopies of certificates from family members, photos, letters and Family Bibles. Keep an address book of all relatives present, past and gone.
  1. Old addresses often bring back memories and also may give you a clue where to start searching. Importantly, write down what you remember about your relatives.
  2. If you have a computer, use a family history program to record and keep your collected information.
    Download a FREE Family History Programme here
  3. Have files, file dividers, paper and pens to hand.
  4. A place to keep all these safe; for example a portable steel case.
  5. Never take original documents with you when are out researching. Just take photocopies.
  6. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offers free research facilities at its many Family History Centres throughout the UK. Find a centre near you

Seeking and Gathering BIRTH, MARRIAGE and DEATH information

When you need information such as the dates and places, and other circumstantial evidence, of an ancestor’s birth marriage or death; do the following.

  • Use online databases for statutory birth, marriage and death information, from September quarter 1837 onwards, as well as parish records of many areas often going back much further, and the UK census’ from 1841 to 1911 – plus many more useful sources of data.
  • Apply to local or to the central registration offices for certificates of births, marriages, or deaths, for original accurate data, which you can also use as source verifications.

Firstly search online at ,which provides free information, registering with the Website allows you to download copies of original images associated with the names being researched.

Secondly you can use which is a non-profit Website, offering a very easy interface for finding births, marriages and deaths from the statutory records – September quarter 1837 to 1983.

Thirdly ,having located a record of your ancestor, apply for the appropriate certificate from either a local or the General Records Office. You can either visit or write to these offices or apply online on the GRO Order Certificates Webpage ,the latter being the most economical way of purchasing certificates, which take about a week to arrive by post.

Births, marriages and deaths have been registered in England and Wales since September quarter 1837, for Scotland since 1855 and for Ireland since 1845. These lists are called the General Record Index.

If you want to acquire the most complete information for your research, then you need to acquire the appropriate certificates which record the original qualified information.

If your ancestor lived and died in your local registration office area, you can obtain a certificate over the counter at this local office but this is more expensive and requires you to travel from home.

You may not know the place of an event for you ancestor and occasionally records offices have amalgamated so obtaining a certificate locally is not possible. You should therefore apply to the General Records Office.

Keep a log of all the records you acquire, so you don’t repeat this work.

Add all the correct information from your acquired certificates to your computer’s family history programme. Update your pedigree chart and discard previous versions. Do the same for printed family group sheets.

A BIRTH certificate gives you an address birth a full birth date, the father’s name and occupation and the mother’s maiden name and occupation, and their normal address.

You can use this address to check which churches in the local area might have been used for the performing of Christenings. Often siblings were christened in the same church. See if the parish records for these churches are available online, and search accordingly. You can also try searching the electoral register to find who else was living in the household. If a child was born before a census, search for the census record accordingly.

A MARRIAGE certificate may give you age, occupations, addresses – of both groom and bride, their fathers’ names and occupations, and sometimes if their fathers are deceased, which make for easier searching of their fathers’ deaths.

Witnesses to the marriage were often relatives. Try searching the electoral register for anyone else who lived in the household; they may be related and if married before a census, those living in the household.

A DEATH certificate may give you the person’s normal residence, age, date of birth, date and place of death and the informant, who may be a relative.

This information can be used by you to search for a place of burial. This will help research, as families often had a common burial plot or were buried in the same grave yard. Also search local burial registers for other possible relatives and try searching electoral registers to see who else was living at the person’s residence and search a census if a person died before census.

Searching the census records

The UK CENSUS can be searched with 10 year intervals starting with the year 1841 and forwards to the year 1911

If you know when a birth marriage or death happened you can search the census records

For example, if a person was born in 1898 you would search the 1901 and the 1911 census for their family

Again, if a person was married 1898, you would search the 1901 and 1911 for their married name and family, then search the 1891 backwards through each other census as far as their year of birth, for information of them and their parents and siblings

Continuing: if a person died in 1898 you would search all the census backward to an approximate year of birth for their family

Using the census this way can provide you, with information about everyone who was living in their household which can yield vasts amounts of information, such as for their relatives who you know nothing about

Remember to record this information onto your pedigree chart and your computer and to reprint and throw away old pedigree charts