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nigele2
15-03-09, 08:06
Hi all

After making a start with census data, family knowledge, a few free points on findmypast, etc. I have a good 5 generations in my four grand parents directions.

Now I know to go further will cost but am wondering how to control costs and get the best value for money.

My family are all England based (hopefully a good start). The direct family name lines I can chase well by census. But I think I need BMDs to get more and chase down maiden names. And now to the rub:

In BMD I seem to get only a reference. Occassionally I get a maiden name but not always. I don't even get a fixed date (within a 3 month range).

So I look at ordering certs and they are £7 each. That could cost a fortune especially if I guess the wrong reference from the list.

Just wondered if anyone could say if I have missed a better route or if it simply "will cost a fortune:eek:".

Many tx Nigel

Jessbowbag
15-03-09, 08:09
it will cost a fortune!

all you ever get in the index is the qtr,

it was only later that the maiden name was added to the index, 1914?

The IGI can be helpful.

Harrys mum
15-03-09, 08:43
It will cost a fortune and it's better to look on it as a hobby such as golf, craft, etc where you also have to pay.

There are some cost cutting ideas.....

If you happen to have non-conformists, I've found The Genealogist site the cheapest way to get records. I paid 39.95 pounds for 6 months, but they were 2.50 pounds each elsewhere and I have at least 50 to get.

Always use the free trials, but make sure you have free time for the 1 or 2 weeks trial you get.

Also..............ask other family members....you'd be surprised how many have certs already.

I can only get a very few certs from England as most of mine came here before or shortly after 1837........and our certs are dearer still.

I've also got over feeling odd when I ask for death certs for birthday pressies....lol

nigele2
15-03-09, 09:29
I've also got over feeling odd when I ask for death certs for birthday pressies....lol

Sounds so morbid but atleast finding you a present is easy :)

Tx jess and Harry's mum; that's what I thought would be the reply.

Well for a couple of months it has been interesting and I've enjoyed the experience, especially finding my Great, Great, Great grandad who was a cobbler, but with a budget requirement of over £200, and as I have no kids to whom I can leave the tree, I think I'll call it a day.

I'll keep an eye on freebies (like the 1881 census at the mo) and who knows maybe soon we will be able to get at BMDs images online and it will be cheaper.

Cheers one and all, your a great friendly bunch. Enjoy the digging, Nigel

Harrys mum
15-03-09, 10:42
Hey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We didn't say "Give up."

As long as the people are no longer alive, put what you have here and we'll all help.

Most of us get to a point where it's more fun for a while helping someone else than bashing our heads on our own brickwalls.....lol

I've had so much help here and everyone is very friendly.

I still have a lot of certs to buy, but some will have to wait until I strike a major lottery win.

Lindsay
15-03-09, 11:13
Nigel, there are the baptism/marriage/burial records available at the local records office if you can reach it. A lot of the info you'd get from certificates is on there.

Don't forget other online sources - some parish records have been transcribed online and can be looked at for free. And some family history societies sell CDs of church records - I've got most of one one branch of my family from a couple of CDs from the local FHS.

Then there are sites like the Old Bailey online (free again) - I'm sure the Wiki has lots of free sites.

Don't give up!

Merry Monty Montgomery
15-03-09, 11:33
Hi - you were saying about the potential for wasting money buying wrong certs........

I have probably 400 certs - not all bought and paid for (a lot shared and swapped with other researchers and quite a few originals saved by my family) but I expect I've bought half of them over 20 years. I have only once bought a wrong certificate and a fair section of my tree is called Smith, so it's not because everyone has an uncommon name.

If you are just starting, I would suggest you ask on this forum about any cert where you are wondering if you have picked out the right reference and there will always be a few people around to give you their opinions!

The maim thing to do is, if you look at a possible cert ref, consider, "if this isn't the right cert who else might it belong to?" and try and find alternative families - it is often possible to work out which certificate belongs to which family from census information, the IGI and other registrations for the same families etc.

Janet
15-03-09, 11:35
Nigel

You have not said where your folk are from but whichever county you home in on, in the UK look on a County Record Office visit as a way of finding one's way around your own country! I go to Northants CRO not as frequently as I would like, but we always go for several days, so a couple of days in the CRO, staying at a country B&B with lots of atmosphere and nice meals out, followed by a couple of days just touring the area and finding all the hamlets my folk lived in, maybe the bonus of a gravestone or two as well as beautiful country walks and finding hidden gems of manor houses and estates, National Trust properties and sampling the local food and drink!

Don't give up. but you do have to be realistic. It is a hobby for life, not just a five minute wonder, just like fishing/walking/golf/and will have its cost the same as going out for a pub drink somewhere. I have had more than 30 happy years with family history and at present have two children without any interest, and two grandchildren, one of 3 years and one of 6 monhs so I have an uphill struggle as to who to pass it on to, more important I love every minute of what I am doing as it gives me so much satisfaction.

I have also bought a few wrong certs but it is possible to whittle down gaps to find the correct one. I have one at present where I have about six contenders for a death cert but am waiting to see 1911 census which should whittle the gap further for me. However, just as life itself would be boring without some leaps in the dark, so too would Family History without the leaps, and some leaps in the dark have left me with some interesting genealogical pots of gold.

Janet

Merry Monty Montgomery
15-03-09, 11:36
One thing that's free that has added a lot of meat to the bones in my tree are online newspaper records. My local library offers home online access (via my library card number) to The Times online digital archive 1785-1985 and also a group of non-national papers 1800-1900. I have found a wealth of info via these. Check if your local library gives access. If not, or if you are not in the UK, I think there maybe still one library that gives access to anyone, but I'm not sure if that's still the case.

Olde Crone Holden
15-03-09, 12:32
The other point - you don't have to buy EVERY certificate immediately - just buy them as your budget allows. As Merry says, you may find family members/other contacts who already have some relevant certs and are willing to let you have them, or copy them.

You can sometimes cut the cost of a marriage cert, if the couple married in church, by finding the relevant church register and photocopying the entry for the price of a photocopy. The information will be exactly the same as a certificate.

It IS an expensive hobby, no denying that, but it is so rewarding. None of my family are the least bit interested but that doesn't stop me doing this for nearly 40 years.

OC

KiteRunner
15-03-09, 13:48
I would pick one particular line of your tree to work on at a time so that costs are spread over a longer time. Also it is worth knowing that if you order a cert online from the GRO specifying the references, you can also specify a "checking point" (e.g. father's name or whatever) and if the cert doesn't match that checking point, they will not issue the cert and will only charge you £3 for the order instead of £7.

nigele2
15-03-09, 16:14
You're all very very kind. I'll take the sources you offer on board and see what happens.

I certainly have enjoyed the process so far. One great aspect is looking at where some ancients lived by way of google earth.

I do tend to naturally have a bull in a china shop approach and saving up and buying certificates every now and then does not go well with my mentality. I had thought to take out 6 months "findmypast" general access for about £65 but clearly getting to the maiden names is not easy by way of census data. And still £7 seems a bit steep for a cert:(.

But - OK you've convinced me - I'll try to do some more but when I'm in the poor house I'll remember you all ;)

jackdaw
15-03-09, 19:56
Hi Nigel,
If you give us some more details we might be able to help you out, I subscribe to Ancestry and FMP ( both Xmas presents ) and can look up some entries for you.
Jack

Margaret in Burton
15-03-09, 20:51
You're all very very kind. I'll take the sources you offer on board and see what happens.

I certainly have enjoyed the process so far. One great aspect is looking at where some ancients lived by way of google earth.

I do tend to naturally have a bull in a china shop approach and saving up and buying certificates every now and then does not go well with my mentality. I had thought to take out 6 months "findmypast" general access for about £65 but clearly getting to the maiden names is not easy by way of census data. And still £7 seems a bit steep for a cert:(.

But - OK you've convinced me - I'll try to do some more but when I'm in the poor house I'll remember you all ;)

£7 may seem steep but it's what we all have to pay.

Put your problems on these boards. You will be amazed how much we can help.

Kath nr the Crooked Spire
15-03-09, 21:14
I've spent very little on certificates up to now, I expect I am lucky in one respect that my grandfather wrote down his family birthdates/marriages back to 1810 so I haven't had a need to. I can easily travel to each counties RO so I get my marriages and baptisms from there.

I have bought a couple of death certificates out of curiosity.
I'm presently stuck at 1810 with this side of my family as I can't find the baptisms and marriage certificates of this date didn't give fathers name.

However I do enjoy filling in on their lives and write a story about each ancestor.
I subscribe to Ancestry, seek out relatives that I haven't seen for years (this is one of the good bits) I use many online resources and have met some very good contacts, the library and most important, my memory about my relatives and what is happening now.
So don't give up

Darksecretz
15-03-09, 23:34
dont give up giving up!!

nigele2
16-03-09, 07:49
Thank you et al again.

I have noticed people requesting certain info here and kind souls responding with not only a response but also an expansion on the subject. But I certainly don't want to be a parasite and feel a bit guilty just asking for free access to your subscription - which is not the same as asking if you get stuck.

but ...............;)

there is a special one upon whom I am stuck that interests my mother. I'll post a new thread "Missing Miss Dunt". As much as data it would be nice to know I haven't missed any obvious freebies.

Tx Nigel x (the kiss just for the ladies of course).

stuart Penny
17-03-09, 08:04
Hi Nigel,

I just wanted to say that I am in a similar position to you, when it comes to reaching a point where you have exhausted your research without spending loads of money.

I don't have loads of spare money to spend on my hobby. Young family, bills often greater than income etc etc.

I have gone from finding loads of info everyday to getting excited when a member on here gave me details of my Gt Grandfathers death. (can't afford the cert yet though - wanna know what killed him at 35 years)

I really enjoy the history. The fact that these people had lives...similar to or much harder than mine. I have even traced addresses through census and then google mapped them to see sat pictures of cottages where my Gt Gt Grandfather lived! One day I will go there and take a proper look.

Things have got a lot slower but I am in for the long haul. My little girl is only 5 weeks old and I said that I was doing this for her, but now I am doing it for me. Guess I am hooked now!

I recently posted a query regarding paying churches for info and it stirred up a debate. Not because I dont want to pay. But because I, like you need to find the most in-expensive way of doing things.

I am staying (groans are heard across the net) I will continue to try to find more info as cheaply as possible and try not to offend other members as I do so.

Sorry about the ramble.

Stu

nigele2
19-03-09, 14:25
Stu thanks, it may have been a ramble but an interesting ramble. But sums up how I feel.

Well with all the encouragment here I've decided that I probably need a 6 month subscription somewhere and there seems little between the main contenders.

But rightly or wrongly I want to get back further in time so wondered if anyone had any thoughts on if findmypast or ancest or ?? would be best.

My folks are all England based and the four I want to go backwards with are:

HOATH - Henry (b1805 Tonbridge, Kent) and Ann (b1828 Lingfield, Sy).
DUNT - Joshua (b1819, Halstead, Essex) and Susan (b 1819, Sudbury, Sufflk)

Q: Would I be better spending my £120 budget on certificates, newspaper references, pay-as-you-go bits and pieces, a bottle of wine for merry, etc. rather than the lions share on a subscription?

Any thoughts welcome and thanks for all the help so far.

KiteRunner
19-03-09, 14:42
If you want to trace these people backwards, then I can't see that findmypast or ancestry is going to be much help unless they happen to have the parish register transcriptions for those particular places. You can do free searches to find out whether they do before deciding to pay to view, and anyway if you only have a few things to view you can buy pay-as-you-go credits for either site. I'm not sure if they do 6-month subs, by the way.

If the people you mention got married after 1837 then you would be best to start by ordering copies of their marriage certificates from the GRO or local register office to get their fathers' names etc. and then you would need to start looking at parish registers for their baptisms.

Lindsay
19-03-09, 14:51
Nigel,

Before you go for a subscription to Ancestry, does your library offer free access to it? Some do. You might be able to save some pennies that way.

Olde Crone Holden
19-03-09, 14:52
nigele2

I speak as one with vast experience of family history research over many years....much of that time (and money) enthusiastically pursuing the wrong people because I omitted to get certs in the beginning.

If I were starting my research again, I would ALWAYS get the certs. Certificates have a surprising way sometimes of undermining your "known facts".

Census records are good, but only as far as they go. They are not a primary source and record only the transcription of what someone said on one given day in 10 years.

Certificates often have lies on them too, of course, but at least with a certificate you know that you have YOUR liar, and not some one else's liar!

Until you have firmed up your findings back to 1837 with certs, there is not much point in spending any money before that. Believe me, it is uniquely infuriating to have to tear up several years of research and records all because you followed the wrong family by census.

Incidentally, in my opinion, the best value for money in FH research is a Will, costing between £3.50 and £5. My best one ever gave me 35 names, most of whom I already knew, but only speculatively, and several marriage partners I didn't know at all.

Wills have also thrown up the unexpected gems like "and to my natural son" - something you will probably not ever find on a census record.

OC

Rosie Knees
19-03-09, 19:36
My folks are all England based and the four I want to go backwards with are:

HOATH - Henry (b1805 Tonbridge, Kent) and Ann (b1828 Lingfield, Sy).
DUNT - Joshua (b1819, Halstead, Essex) and Susan (b 1819, Sudbury, Sufflk)

Any thoughts welcome and thanks for all the help so far.

Welcome to FTF Nigel, nice to 'meet' you :).

Sorry to labour the point, but are you positive these people are yours if you haven't got the certs between you and them? Not sure if it has been said already, but if you look in the Wiki you may find someone who is willing to do record office look ups. For marriages in particular you will find the bride's maiden name there for free (or the price of a photocopy if you want to see it for yourself, you would need to reimburse the person though). It will have the happy couple's signatures (or marks) and also the names and signatures of the witnesses. Someone will need to remind me if the fathers' names are listed?

You really do need to go back one generation at a time (nag nag nag lol)

Oh, and don't ever think you are a parasite! If you ask for a look-up the person/people who do it will do it more than willingly.

Happy hunting :D

Janet in Yorkshire
19-03-09, 20:56
[QUOTE=nigele2;
"My folks are all England based and the four I want to go backwards with are:

HOATH - Henry (b1805 Tonbridge, Kent) and Ann (b1828 Lingfield, Sy).
DUNT - Joshua (b1819, Halstead, Essex) and Susan (b 1819, Sudbury, Sufflk) "
[/QUOTE]
Hi,

As you only have forenames for the 2 ladies above, sounds like you need a couple of marriage certs at least. :)

Save you subs at present and look into the location of your nearest LDS family history centre. (Haven't used them myself, but I know lots of forum members have and will give you advice on ordering films.)

You will be able to look at a LOT of films of PR for the price of a sub to Ancestry etc, AND to spread the cost out over the year.

Jay

nigele2
19-03-09, 21:20
Thanks once again folks. I'm making my first steps guided buy you all and I think with my £120 I can do a couple of months Ancest. a few certs and odd other bits - and make good progress and have some fun.

The four people I mentioned above I am confident about due to numerous cross checks and a lucky consistancy on addresses.

I have today started a 14 day trial of Ancest (impetuous as ever) and already I have surprised myself. Looking at original census docs I found the mother of my great grandmother living next door - and all because I got so excited I didn't notice the house number had moved on. With luck like that what can go wrong ;)

Well I'm opening the wine and settling in for a long night. You never know maybe I can look something up for someone else - that would be good. Sleep well:)

Rosie Knees
20-03-09, 12:27
Pleeeaase! Make a note of your sources. This will prevent you racking your brains later wondering where you got the info from lol. And print off your census pages if you can.

You sound very excited!

margaretmarch
20-03-09, 16:21
Nigele2,
Having read through this I wasn't sure if you knew how to find a maiden name from looking at the page number of a possible marriage for the husband, always providing it occurred after 1837. If you haven't tried this all you have to do on ancestry is look at the record for the man then click on the page number quoted and you will get 4 or 6 names 2/3 men and 2/3 women, if you're lucky your female name will be the only one and voilà! you have her maiden name BUT you would still be best advised to get a certificate if you can't find any other corroborating evidence from censuses.
I hope this isn't 'teaching granny to suck eggs' but thought I'd say it in case you didn't know.
Margaret

nigele2
20-03-09, 17:34
Rosie yes I am. What fun this all is. Must remember that I need to work for a living every now and again :)

Margaret forget the eggs and give me everything. I didn't know that so cheers.

Nigel

KiteRunner
20-03-09, 18:03
Margaret, sorry to say this but I know a lot of people who have gone wrong with their trees by using your method. Quite often people will come up with a name like that and later it turns out not to be the right person at all.

Guy
20-03-09, 20:27
Oh no, here he goes again.
It has never been cheaper and never been easier to research one’s family history than it is today.
Not only are there so many online resources a number of them are totally free, others may be used free as a trial or at a library or family history center.
There are vast libraries of e-books free online and a growing number of CD producers are submitting their CD to organisations that give free trials.

In addition there are thousands of enthusiastic individuals who have either compiled their own websites containing free transcripts or assist on mailing lists and forums.

In addition if you happen to live near to the relevant archive tons of useful material is stored away just waiting for the researcher to breathe life into it again.

Some cost is always involved but family history need not cost the earth.
Cheers
Guy

Olde Crone Holden
20-03-09, 20:31
I agree with most of what you say Guy - but certs are still £7 each and when you are starting your research, that can be a daunting amount of money.

Once you have the backbone of your tree though, there are many free or nearly free resources to pad it out.

OC

Merry Monty Montgomery
20-03-09, 20:41
The other problem is that for many people doing the bones of their family history is a lot quicker than before, so a large expense hits all at once.

I'm still buying my direct line certs after 20 plus years......!

Janet in Yorkshire
20-03-09, 22:20
I'm still buying my direct line certs after 20 plus years......!

So am I Merry - especially deaths

jay

Olde Crone Holden
20-03-09, 22:45
And I'm still LOOKING for some certs!

OC

margaretmarch
20-03-09, 22:49
Margaret, sorry to say this but I know a lot of people who have gone wrong with their trees by using your method. Quite often people will come up with a name like that and later it turns out not to be the right person at all.

Kiterunner,
I accept that, but it can be helpful if you use the information carefully and in context to everything else you know. I would not advocate using information obtained this way without thinking around all the possibilities of it not being your relative.
It is true though that depending on the whole picture this method is a reasonable alternative to getting a certificate.
Margaret

nigele2
20-03-09, 23:33
Guy, I think we are entitled to think about value for money. The information is largely in the public domain so we are talking about paying for storage, retrieval and delivery. On that basis £7 per cert without prior vision or system of return seems expensive. Vast profits are being made by organisations and these are quite happy to milk the efforts of volunteers and good natured individuals. Don't get me wrong I know it is the way of the world and some organisations like certain universities have made good contributions as side benefits of research projects, but the commercial world will take what it can get and have no thoughts of value.

Rant over :D , now two or three more look ups and off to bed. Goodnight one and all.

KiteRunner
20-03-09, 23:38
I don't think that £7 makes the GRO a profit, Nigel, just covers their costs. (Sorry, I know it isn't actually the GRO any more, but I can't remember what they're called now). If your "organisations milking the efforts of volunteers" refers to ancestry, findmypast etc asking for volunteers to do transcriptions or indexes for them, then you will find that usually those transcriptions or indexes are made available for free searching so that the company is not actually making a profit from that but providing their resources to benefit people. If any particular website is charging what you consider to be too much then you are best not to subscribe to it, but they do have high costs of computers etc and of course we want new content added all the time.

Olde Crone Holden
20-03-09, 23:38
nigele2

Just a teeny correction - the GRO barely breaks even, no vast profits being made there!

OC

nigele2
21-03-09, 12:23
nigele2

Just a teeny correction - the GRO barely breaks even, no vast profits being made there!

OC

You're right but I'm referring to the suppliers to the GRO, IT companies and the like, who reap big rewards. Grrrrr don't get me started but I work alongside dozens of such organisations and the wastage grrrrrrrrrrr - Now look what you have done :rolleyes:

Anyway I've decided to go Ancestry for a while, my mum, her attic, kind friends here, and all free resources. When my tree is a mighty oak I will consider validating it with certs when better times come along.

Yes I take heed of the danger of researching the wrong people but I think with cross references and avoiding the temptation to drop in names based on one fact (; the danger is limited, and in any case just discovering how they lived is great fun.

Only now do I realise the bleak start to life my Devonshire frenchies had. Many away from home working as maids and servants before they were 14. And after that the girls gave birth until they died. We really have never had it so good. :D

Prediction England 38 Scotland 14.

Janet
21-03-09, 12:52
If you do not want to waste either money or time then the last thing I would do as a newcomer to family history is join Ancestry!! I do not even belong now to Ancestry after 30+ years doing family history though I have made use of the past Ancestry freebies plus library usage.

First I would get my certs to establish I have the correct tree, and until correct tree is established then census will get you nowhere. To save money I would use Ancestry at my local library. Your births, marriages and deaths (BMD) are the START of a Family History journey and you can obtain usage through Free BMD up to 1930's and then use free fiche for the rest at any major library, although yes you will have to purchase the actual certs once you have the references. There is no other way to do the job properly. If you do not start the job properly then nobody will be very interested in your haphazard research, anymore than you would try to build a table without using some carpentry tools.

Incidentally, I am still purchasing certs and each time I purchase one I am sent off on another trail, but I am happy to consider this FH as a hobby for life, not just a five minute wonder.

It is your solid base of built up BMD which will lead you then into the Census returns, which is where Ancesty or FMP come into the equation, with possible siblings/nephews,grandparents/stepchildren etc leading to city/town/village/hamlet interest leading you back to pre 1837 parish records through a CRO/Family History Societies and CD's Free Reg etc.

Believe me Family History/Genealogy is a lot easier now than it used to be! Cheap no, never has been, but then what can you get for free?? I was very much brought up on the old saying: "There's no such thing as a free lunch!"

Janet

kylejustin
24-03-09, 09:15
stop complaining about paying 7 pounds. if our certs were 7 pounds, i would have saved hundred's. though an english cert equals the same i pay for certs with a ref here in victoria. we pay $17.50 with a ref and $25.80 without.

in new south wales, you have to pay $15 for a transcription, and $27 for the cert. in south australia, certs are $47. you guys have it easy!!

but i guess ours are worth the price, as ours have all the info of a census on the certs, plus more!!