As no two investigations are ever the same, treeSEARCH will always discuss your requirements prior to commencing any research and work within any budgetary constraints.
The most important criterium when researching a family tree is accuracy. For this reason, no person is included unless it can be shown through existing records that the correct individual has been identified.
Copies of birth, marriage and death certificates are not normally obtained unless specifically requested, primarily to help keep the overall costs down as such documents must be paid for. Occasionally, a certificate may need to be ordered (to discover the names of parents on a marriage certificate, for example), but authorisation will always be obtained before incurring additional costs.
The following are some of the record types that may be accessed during the research process:
Censuses have been recorded in the UK since 1841. These records, up to and including the 1911 census (they are taken every 10 years) are available on line. The 1939 census of England and Wales is also now available on line. The first New Zealand census was taken in 1851 (Australia in 1911). However, these latter records were not retained and are not available to research.
The following information was recorded in UK censuses from 1851 onwards:
- City, Town or Parish;
- Names of all persons present at each address;
- Age, gender and marital status of each person;
- Relationship of each person to the head of the household;
- Place of birth.
Census records were hand written and as the census taker recorded the spoken word, mis-spelling of names was common. As well, errors were often made when the forms were subsequently transcribed, so care needs to be taken when reviewing these records. The family head did not start completing the census form until 1911.
Copies of Census records can usually be obtained at no additional cost, and will provide more detailed information for each family.
Electoral Rolls can provide occupation and address details.
New Zealand electoral records are available from 1853 up to 1981. Australian records are available from 1903 up to 1980.
Birth, Marriage and Death Records
These have been maintained by the state in the UK since about 1838 (although it only became a legal requirement to register a birth in 1875). Records for New Zealand began in 1848 (marriages in 1854); Australia in 1787 (death) and 1788 (birth and marriage).
Marriage records are often the only way to discover the maiden names of wives and they will usually also include the couple’s father’s names and occupations.
Service records and medal rolls up to the time of WWI are also available for on line research. Although limited, they can be a valuable information source, as they tend to be very detailed – as you might expect from the military!
The traditional method of recording births, marriages and deaths within an area administered by the local church (the parish), but superseded when record management was assumed by the state (see above). Most surviving parish records have been transcribed, but online records are not complete.
Detailed lists are available for more recent movements (20th century), particularly to and from the United Kingdom. More limited records are available for older voyages (18th and 19th centuries). The names of passengers in steerage were often not recorded at all.