Free Access to Ancestry Online

LBHF Library staff member, Karen Blackwell, explains how easy it is to use this free online resource

This is really something to get excited about! Ancestry (library edition), usually only available in our library buildings, is now accessible from home during the lockdown!

Anyone who’s ever tried looking into their family history will know it’s a lengthy project (although apart from asking your family where Great Uncle Alfred was buried, there’s no rush – the records aren’t going anywhere!). So it’s an ideal opportunity to dip your toe into the water and see if you get bitten by the genealogy bug! I’ve done a little research before, but a long time ago when many of the records here weren’t online or easily available.

Passenger lists, Liverpool to Saint John, New Brunswick, March 1912

Access is easy – just log in to your library account on the catalogue search page, click on the ancestry button on the top right of the page, and you’re ready to start! There are census records, birth marriage & death records, parish records, military records and more, in an easy to search format that gives you helpful links to other sources for the person you’re looking for.

William Morris with family and servants in the 1881 England Census

Most are downloadable – you can have them emailed to you when you’re searching in the library, or just save onto your computer. I’d recommend renaming the files when you’ve saved them, so you know which ones you’ve got, also to save the original document if you can – just in case there’s been a mistake when it was transcribed. The originals are beautiful in themselves – handwritten in copperplate – and give you a sense of the time they were written. Each document can give you a little bit more of the puzzle, you might even find photos in the lists of soldiers killed in the first world war.

Naval Record for John Gendall, WW1

Make sure you have a note of exact names and birth years as you go, as it’s easy to get carried away and find out lots about someone who doesn’t fit into your family tree! There are handy downloadable forms to store your family tree and document where your information came from so you can check back if you need to.

Newgate prison calendar, 1798

Try it now at:

Karen Blackwell
** All images courtesy of The National Archives, licensed under The Open Government Licence v3.0


This entry was posted in Ancestry, Archives & local studies, local history, Online Resources, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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