Welcome, fellow genealogists! My blog will teach you about U.S. land records and United Kingdom research. My family has roots in Niagara County, New York; Norfolk, England; and northeast Germany.

Monday, November 14, 2011

www.ffhs.org.uk = Useful Website

The Federation of Family History Societies website is a ‘must’ visit for all UK researchers. Known as ‘the Federation,’ this organization has about 160 member groups, including national, state and one-name societies in England, Wales and Ireland. Scotland has a similar group called the Scottish Association of Family History Societies. (www.safhs.org.uk)

The Federation assists and supports its member societies by giving awards for newsletter and websites and by organizing educational opportunities. They sponsor cooperative projects, one of which resulted in the National Burial Index CD-ROM that is for sale on the site.  They also present a unified voice for genealogists to such allied groups as the Society of Archivists.

If you are new to UK research, this site is immediately helpful for two reasons. On the right hand side, you can sign up for their free FFHS ezine and/or FFHS news.  Now you will be in touch with a major force in genealogy on the other side of the Atlantic.
For example, the FFHS News recently reminded me that the least expensive way to obtain a Birth, Marriage or Death certificate is to order from the General Register Office (GRO) at http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/.  This was really a warning against the high prices charged by commercial sites. Remember civil registration in Britain started in 1837, and that is what is available from the GRO.

On the left side of the FFHS home page, there are many choices, but the most helpful first step is to click on “Find a Society.” I am a huge advocate of joining the family history society in the county where your ancestors lived. A friend whose ancestors lived near the border of two counties looked at the websites for both and chose to join the group that seemed most active and was very happy with the resulting contacts. The FFHS listings give the contact information for their member groups.

I am such a big fan of the county societies because I am thrilled with the Norfolk Family History Society. All the societies have about the same services. I have been a happy, satisfied member for fifteen years or more and have used the Society for all of the following purposes:

-reasonable dues.
             -newsletters and/or small journals with a wealth of information. These often have a section  where you can submit queries about your ancestors.

             -volunteers at their libraries or archives to do free lookups for you.

             -opportunities to give back to the genealogy community by submitting your family tree or write an article for the newsletter.

-a website that may have members only content.
             -your dues support local research such as recording the inscriptions on town monuments, gravestones or plaques on church interiors.

Also on the left side of the FFHS website’s homepage are buttons to click for educational opportunities,   a calendar of events and a list of new books and CDs. The ‘Research Tips’ section has questions and answers for new and experienced UK researchers alike. You cannot help but find useful information here.

©2011, Susan Lewis Well

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