Family Records Resources

People Research

This page outlines the resources used in researching the generations of family history that make up the family pages. They are not meant as a experts guide, far from it, but the resources outlined below have so far proven valuable.

%document - coming soon%
Document resources - example to be added

See also the location resources page which similarly describes the mapping resources employed to locate family homes and associated places.


The census provides an excellent snapshot at a moment in time and is the place to start in most cases. It is possible to trace a family in a couple of hours
from an initial starting point.

The census has taken place in the UK every ten years from 1801 apart from 1941 (owing to World War II - although the population was registered in 1939).
There are three census: England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (from 1821 to 1911: Ireland). The 1931 Census was lost in a fire.

The census is undertaken by household. In terms of location this can be associated with an address. Though it is only from the late 19thC that house numbers appear - this may reflect local usage where numbering was unnecessary until the local poplulation grew beyond a certain size.

As time progresses the census becomes more legible and useful.

The table below outlines the census published to date.

Date Date Notes
1801 10 March Incomplete
1811 27 May Incomplete
1821 28 May Incomplete
1831 30 May Incomplete
1841 06 June
1851 30 March
1861 07 April
1871 02 April
1881 03 April
1891 05 April
1901 31 March
1911 02 April One page per household, no rooms, signed by "head"

The last Census to be published is the 1911 census.

Birth, Death & marriage Records

Civil registration began on 1 July 1837 and no central records of births, marriages or deaths exist before that date.” - The National Archives.

Prior to 1837

Before that date the main source is the parish records (see below).

1837 to 2006

The 1837 - 2006 registers differ in England and Wales from Scotland.

In England and Wales each district issues a list each quarter by surname with a corresponding certificate reference number.

In Scotland the register also supports a helpful array of reference information.

2006 onwards

From 2006 the change in responsibilities of the Office for National Statistics led to an issue where national collation of local Birth, Death and Marriage certificate publication has not been maintained. Therefore local enquiries are required to determine the reference numbers of certificates from this date. This is hardy convenient - especially when the local area may not be known e.g. in tracing a recent death of a distant relative.

Parish Records

Parish records are the primary record source prior to 1837 for births (baptisms), marriages and deaths. However they are far from complete and can vary in content and coverage from area to area. They are slowly being digitised by volunteers and made available online.

Where available, original records can be viewed in Scotland (Scotland’s People) website. This often demonstrates the variability of the material. For example Walter Murray baptised his first four children at the same same.

In Scotland is is common for the woman to retain her family name. This approach is also used in genealogy and on this website.

Family Records

Family documents provide a valuable source of evidence. Though not all these records may be seen as valuable initially.

These can include:

  • address books (older the better)
  • diaries (dating events)
  • photographs
  • house records e.g. purchase/sale

Software Tools

Family Historian is used to store the family genealogy. The database currently holds about 2,700 individuals from ca1700 to the current time.


Start: 01 01 2000
End: ongoing

References & Links:

People Information
Date Title
20140524 Census Dates [Wikipedia]
20140525 United Kingdom Census [Wikipedia]
20140524 Birth, Death & Marriage[Free to Use]
20140524 National Library of Scotland

Updated KJM 12 June 2014