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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

What to search & where to look for it!

Are you just starting your family history, or wishing to brush up on your online research know-how? Mike Bedford is on hand to help. Here he’ll take you on a whistle-stop tour of essential sites to search to find clues, collect records and grow your family tree


Never has it been easier to access information, yet this can bring its own problems for the genealogist. While family historians now have a wealth of data, software and services at their disposal, it’s all too easy to be overwhelmed by it all, especially if you’re just starting on your journey of discovery. Our aim here, therefore, is to guide you through the jungle to help you to more easily find the information you’re looking for.

If you’re just starting to delve into your family history, this will provide you with an ideal introduction to information sources. However, even if you consider yourself an old hand, we trust that some of the ideas presented here will provide you with some food for thought. By necessity, this is just the proverbial whistle-stop tour. You’d be well advised, therefore, to continue to read up further on some of these topics to expand your genealogy know-how further.

Explore to gain an idea of the historic collections available via the website. Home in on a collection via the ‘Card Catalogue’, browse popular collections, or jump in and search for an ancestor’s name. AncestryDNA tests are available via the site too. In 2016 AncestryDNA reached the record-setting milestone: 1 million people had tested with AncestryDNA. By 2018 this was over 10 million and today the figure stands at more than 15 million

MyHeritage has a distinctly international flavour, supporting more than 40 languages. There are approaching 10 billion records to search. And MyHeritageDNA is now providing health reports, in additional to ancestral insights tools – such as ethnicity mapping, chromosome matching, and auto-cluster (to group matches according to likely common ancestors)

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About Family Tree

The shops are piled high with ‘back to school’ preparations for the children. But these new beginnings, plans and dreams aren’t just for the kids. This autumn set yourself the goal to learn more too – to devote more time to your family history! In our latest issue we’ve got three cracking ways to make strides in your family history know-how: 1. New to family history? Check out our 8 page guide packed with info on the essential websites – where to search and what to look for. Follow our advice and watch your tree grow in no time! 2. Want to get organised? Already been doing family history a while? Learn new ways to organise the fruits of your family history labour. Check out professional researcher Susie Douglas’s flexible and affordable strategy for super-organised family history records. 3. Immerse yourself in family history From genning up on the latest DNA know-how, discovering the latest new books and events, learning sleuthing skills from our experts’ advice, and enjoying the reader stories – we have page after page to inspire you on your family history mission. Enjoy!