Monday, 19 April 2021

Free Family History Mini-Class 2021 : Lesson 3


Once you’ve identified the repository that holds the records you need to search, you can start to make preparations for your visit there.

Here are my suggestions for ensuring nothing gets forgotten:

      Contact the archive well in advance to make an appointment, where necessary, as well as to pre-order any materials that require notice to consult.  Make the most of archive staff's expertise in the records and the local area by asking them for advice regarding your search. 

      Make a list of all the records you want to see, alongside the names of the people you hope to find in them.  For instance: Sequestration records - Andrew Byrne, 1911 - and include the reference numbers from the catalogue, to avoid wasting time by having to look them up again

      Put together a file or database to take with you that contains details of all the relevant family groups that you will be researching

      Review the rules and visitor information on the repository’s website or in their literature to ensure you are properly prepared, for instance

  • Whether you can buy food there or need to take your own, and if there is somewhere on the premises you can eat
  • If change is required for lockers or cloakroom - you won't be permitted to take your coat, bags, or food and drink items into the search area. Many archives provide clear plastic carrier bags to allow you to bring essential research kit to your seat
  • ID requirements. You may not get into the archive without specific forms of identification, so be sure to take the correct paperwork with you on the day
  • If you'll be allowed to plug your laptop in to charge in the search room

      Practice some palaeography if you’re going to be consulting records with unfamiliar handwriting styles.  I’ve listed some websites to help with that. 

       Prepare a research log book or use pre-printed log sheets to keep track of what you find, what you don’t find and, most importantly, which records you’ve searched. This is a good safeguard against re-doing the same work.   Download and use this ready-made log sheet


In the next class I'll explore some of the 
options for organising your family information.

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