The Dicksons Network, Sequitur ab Origine

Sequitur ab Origine

New to Family History in the British Isles?

Existing Topics

First steps.

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Planned topics

The concept for this page came from reading many e-mails sent to 'Lists' by fellow family history researchers seeking help on how to proceed in this complex world of family history.

Most people who become involved in family history are only to willing to share their expertise, and sometimes topics of discussion can get very involved. When confronted by such discussions, it can be very daunting to folks who would just like to know where to search in their next step.

Many times I read plaintive cries for assistance, and  sometimes these just seemed to repeat the same questions as new people passed through the 'lists'.

So for all of us who are searching the past, and need to find that elusive item of information, this section goes some of the way to providing the answers.


First Steps: Putting together a family history involves a lot of detective work that can involve asking your living relatives for information, and most certainly will involve some research into historical records of some kind. When you ask someone something, the academic terminology is 'oral research'

The major drawback of oral research is that you are relying upon the memory of that person, who may in turn be relying upon stories that they have heard. Consequently oral research can lead you down the garden path all too easily, so always verify oral research 'facts' by doing the detective work and finding some documentary evidence to support what you have been told. For example when researching my own family history I was told that my grandfather had been a Sergeant Major (1) in the Royal Artillery and (2) in the Black Watch.

Communication !
is the key to the sharing of information. In its simplest form it involves the writing down of records or information on paper. Now as we all use the WWW more and more, we find an outstanding medium for communication, so when you find something new which you think should be shared with the world ... send me an e-mail.

Now the Royal Artillery and the Black Watch as regiments are mutually exclusive, and in fact, after a lot of hard research I found that grandfather had been in the Prince of Wales Leinster Regiment, an Irish Regiment that was disbanded in 1922 when Ireland was divided into two separate regimes.

But some of the legend  was true because my grandfather had been a soldier, and he had been a Sergeant Major.

So you do need oral research, usually it is the best way to discover who some of your aunts, uncles and cousins are. You do need those family myths and legends. In family history most of the legends and tales have some element of truth in them, it's just that people's memories get cloudy and the facts become disassembled. Painstakingly you need to piece together those 'facts' cross referencing at every stage (academic term triangulate) with your ancestors records when they are discovered. The results are very rewarding.

As you discover more about your ancestors you will no doubt want to discover more about the period that they lived and worked in. This is when your family history research takes on a whole new aspect and you move into social & community history. You can see how this avenue becomes interesting by following the link to Kelsall from the banner at the top of this page at the end of the tutorial.

To continue with this tutorial select a topic from the contents index on the left side of the page. You may also return to the home page or choose any other alternative from the top of the page.


Census Returns

Birth Certificates in England, Scotland, & Wales


Parish Registers
British Service Records.
The LDS index
Genealogy on the Web
Tithe Maps
Hearth Tax
Other Churches
At Sea
Family History Societies
One name organisations

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Don Dickson 1999 The Dicksons Network. All Rights Reserved. This page was last edited August 18, 1999