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I have offered to make up a friend's family tree but I don't know where to start

(13 Posts)
MissStrawberry Wed 21-Aug-13 19:06:56

Can anyone advise please, and it also needs to be free searches.

NannyR Wed 21-Aug-13 23:38:19

Start by finding out everything you can from living relatives; dates of birth, marriages, maiden names etc. Hopefully you should find out enough to locate great grandparents on the 1911 census and from there work back through the previous censuses.

Both Ancestry and find my past offer free trials and the Mormon site Family search is free and I've found it useful for pre-1837 records.

If the family you are researching were local to where you live, you'll probably find lots of info at your local library or records office, for example, parish records of marriages and baptisms.

If you need to order birth, death or marriage certificates, use the freeBMD website to search, make a note of the registration details and then order from the GRO website. Still costs around £10 but much cheaper than ordering through ancestry.

Try googling unusual names or putting them into newspaper archive searches, you may find some interesting stories or find other people researching the same family.

Rootschat is a very helpful forum and they have plenty of info for beginners.

That's about all I can think of at the moment. Good luck with your searching and beware, it's addictive once you get started!!!

MissStrawberry Thu 22-Aug-13 14:17:55

I have about or six names and some dates. I found one census but turned out not to be the right person, just same name and age. Then I struggled to see another census.

Unfortunately I live over 200 miles away from the person I am researching.

Didn't even think of the newspaper searches so will try that.

Thank you very much.

duchesse Thu 22-Aug-13 14:26:08

Find out as much as you can straight from your friend- it's amazing how much people remember. Even a vague name like "Aunty June" and a rough set of dates can reap tremendous rewards. What you need mostly is the names and rough dates of anybody born before April 1911. Like that they will appear on the latest available Census data and you can quickly find out loads of stuff. Ancestry and FreeBMD are invaluable. Bear in mind that FreeBMD is uploaded by volunteers and is still very incomplete. Fascinating (and engulfing) hobby! Welcome to the twilight zone...

MissStrawberry Thu 22-Aug-13 17:35:09

Is 1911 the latest census to be put on line? And how do I get to be an inputting of census data volunteer? I would love to do that!

MissStrawberry Thu 22-Aug-13 18:06:52

I have just done my first newspaper search but it hasn't told me anything I didn't already know. I think it doesn't go back too far.

I have friend's name, all her siblings' names, her mother's DOB but that is all. I would like to find her grandparents and possibly their parents.

I have my family tree back to great grandparents I think and will investigate mine too I think.

MissStrawberry Sat 24-Aug-13 09:06:09

I have found some stuff on Genes Reunited but have to register and pay to see them. I am still debating if I want to spend more time trying to find stuff for free that will take ages or just pay. Anyone who has paid, which option would you recommend please?

NannyR Sat 24-Aug-13 10:43:13

What is it that you want to look at? I might be able to tell you if you can find it for free elsewhere.

MissStrawberry Sat 24-Aug-13 16:58:01

I am trying to find my friends grandparents names - they would be in their late 90's if they were still alive. My friend doesn't know who her birth father was but I was wondering if it is possible her mother had put the name on the birth certificate but never told her. I know her siblings names and her mother's name plus her adoptive father's.

NannyR Sat 24-Aug-13 18:14:17

She can apply for her own birth certificate to find out, I don't think that information would be available anywhere on the internet.

I'm not sure what dates you are looking at but if your friends mother was born after 1920(not sure of the actual year but around then) then if you put her birth details into freebmd I.e. name, area where you think she was born and a rough idea of date, the result you get will give you her mothers maiden name.

You could then use that info to track down the maternal grandparents marriage. If the grandparents would have been in their late 90's they prob wouldn't be included in the 1911 census, but you could look for their parents.

All the census records are free to look at this weekend on

If you feel happy to PM me the names and dates you know I can do a quick search and see if I can get you started. No problem if you'd rather keep it confidential!

mirry2 Sat 24-Aug-13 18:22:02

You might have more luck looking at It has some post 1911 census records and more. You can sign up for a free 14 day trial. I've used genesreunited for years but now moved over to ancestry as it's much more user friendly.

You could start by looking for relatives on your friend's mother's side. find out her grandfather's first name, surname and where he was born and take it from there.

actually you don't need to live anywhere near your friend. It can all be done online and there's masses of information out there once you can get to pre- 1911. If you friend has any information at all, like the names of her uncles and aunts or great uncles and aunts, cousins etc it can all help.

MissStrawberry Sun 25-Aug-13 10:08:30

Sorry not to reply sooner. It went a bit mad here last night.

I will PM you, NannyR. Thank you.

Thanks too to you, mirry2. I have to go to the vet in a few minutes but will take another look at ancestry.

NannyR Sun 25-Aug-13 11:37:00

Have done some research and PM'd you

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