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Then again, you may be particularly fascinated by a particular ancestor, and devote your time to finding out as much as possible about him or her.Begin with what information you know all the dates and events you are certain of, concerning your immediate family – your birth date, your brothers’ and sisters’ birth dates, your parents’ names, marriage date and birth dates.You have lots of possible avenues to research, but at the outset you need to decide whether, for instance, you will begin by tracing your father’s line as far back as possible, or perhaps you will try to tackle your direct female line (your mother’s mother, her mother, and so on).Taking the second option will mean that the surname you are searching for will change with every generation.If there are copies of old birth, death and marriage certificates, this will save you spending money on getting further copies of them.Letters, wills, deeds and newspaper cuttings may all be found in cupboards or attics.Each index entry gives the individual’s name and surname, the name of the district in which the event was registered, and a reference number.

For many people, it is natural human curiosity, for others a need for some kind of escapism from the routine of everyday life, or perhaps a search for identity and a desire to learn more about our make-up, to discover who we are and where we have come from.

Family Bibles, ‘birthday books’, and other family memorabilia may all prove invaluable to your research.

Scour these records and make a note of any firm information you find, as well as where you found it.

Registrars all over the country recorded all the births, marriages and deaths which occurred in their own local districts and copies were forwarded to London, where they were indexed.

There are separate indexes for each event, and prior to 1984 they are arranged in quarterly volumes, with four books per year.

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