Genealogy Corner

The society and its members are very fortunate to have resources at their disposal. Following the receipt of the grant from the NRF Community Chest that I recently acquired for the society, a lot of archive material was purchased at no cost at all to the society. As you probably realise over the last few years, since the society was formed, I have always managed to finance most projects.

The Family History Project will begin on Tuesday 4th September 2007. It will be a 15 week course and the course tutor is Gay Hill. The venue is to be Quinton Library from 10-30am till 12-30am.

The full archive (valued at about £650) now available to society members is as follows:-

Census:-
Staffordshire - 1841; 1851; 1861; 1871; 1891 and 1901
Warwickshire - 1841; 1851; 1861; 1871; 1891 and 1901
Worcestershire - 1841; 1851; 1861; 1871; 1891 and 1901
The complete 1881 Census for all counties

Directories:-
Kelly’s Birmingham 1855; 1868; 1913 and 1940
Kelly’s Birmingham & Suburbs 1855; 1878; 1879; 1908; 1933; 1943; 1956 and 1973/74
Kelly’s Staffordshire 1904 and 1940
Kelly’s Worcestershire 1870; 1924 and 1940
Littlebury’s Worcestershire 1873
Pigot’s 1818;1819;1820 and 1830

Sundries:-
Langford’s Century of Birmingham Life 1741/1841 and 1870
Langford’s Modern Birmingham Institutions 1841-1871
Return of Owners of Land-Worcestershire- 1873

British Census and National Index-1881
Birmingham in Worlds War I 1914-1919
Industrial History of Birmingham-1866
Hutton’s History of Birmingham 1871;1819-1835
Universal Directory of Great Britain 1791
Autocar 16th March 1923
Clent Illustrated - 1910

We are quite proud of the resources now available to our members and we hope to add to it when funding is available, or when a new Census is ready. The society are quite willing for society members to loan any of the above for research purposes, all you will need to do is enquire as to availability. The discs are of course copyrighted by the various companies we purchased them from so under no circumstances must they be copied. If the discs are found to be faulty when they are returned then a charge must be placed on the borrower to replace the disc.

The “Genealogy Corner” will be available at every society meeting. Under the supervision of Robert Hickman, just go and have a look at the next meeting. The basics to beginning your ‘Family Tree’ are set out in the following paragraphs supplied by Robert.

Getting Started with your Family Tree

  1. Make notes starting with yourself and working backwards – parents, grandparents and great grandparents until you can go no further. Always work in reverse order of life’s events (start with a death and then work your way back to find a marriage and finally a birth).
  2. Let everyone know you are researching your family tree, as someone in the family may have already done some research and started one.
  3. Question older relatives and note down what they remember, think about what you are going to ask them before starting, this will help you to get the desired information.
  4. Send out letters or questionnaires (with s.a.e.) to family members who you do not know very well.
  5. The information required is:- Names (including nicknames and maiden names) / Birth (date and place born) / Marriage (date and place) / Death (date and place and cause of death) / Occupation (often ran in the family) / Religion etc.
  6. Remember not everything you will be told will be accurate, stories passed down through families tend to be exaggerated sometimes.
  7. Collect all the old documents from the family that you can such as birth, marriage, death certificates, memorial cards, family bibles, photographs, letters, diaries, newspaper cuttings etc.
  8. Start to draw up a family tree - leaving plenty of space to add further information.
  9. You may wish to make a decision about which line of the family you are going to trace. Often we do not have much choice as available resources and materials govern our research. Some people like to trace the family surname – especially if it is unusual. If you are struggling, then try a different ‘branch’ of the family.
  10. You will be surprised how infectious the process is and how you learn to be patient !
  11. Finally and perhaps the most important thing to consider is to start it as soon as possible, whilst older relatives are still alive as they can be a vital source of information and archive material, such as family photographs and identification!

Sources of Information

  1. Civil Registration – births, deaths and marriages was established in 1837.
  2. Census Records – the first detailed national census was taken in 1841.
  3. Parish Registers – registration of births, deaths and marriages before 1837.
  4. International Genealogical Index – issued on microfilm by the Mormons.
  5. Monumental Inscriptions – tombstones in churchyards and cemeteries.
  6. Local Directories – a list of trades people in local areas.
  7. Electoral Registers – the registers show only those entitled to vote.
  8. The Internet – there are many useful sites on the Internet i.e. 1901 Census.
  9. There are many useful books and magazines available, e.g. Ancestors and Your Family Tree (both monthly).

Ed’s comment – If we have whetted your appetite please make sure you have your name down on the list quite early as we envisage a tremendous response.

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