5 things every genealogist needs

5 things every genealogist needs

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I took a break from researching my family history for 3.5 years.  It was much needed time away because coming back, I’m seeing things from a different angle.  In the past 2 weeks I’ve broken down 2 brick walls and I have the feeling there are more to follow.

Breaking down my genealogical brick walls always leaves me with a sense of accomplishment… I enjoy it!  But what does every family historian need in order to find their ancestors?

Access to records

While most family historians start with information gleaned from living relatives; to go any further back that a few generations access to records is a must.  There are plenty of ways to gain access to records…  Whether it’s the local record office or an online subscription it’s a necessity


Sometimes genealogy is like one of those logic square puzzles… you have to match up the groom to the bride to the date to the location.  Okay, so that may be a bit of an exaggeration because all four of those are on the marriage certificate but you get my drift… A fair amount of separating one William Williams from the next William Williams requires logic.


The 19th Century gives us the census… From 1841-1911 (and now including 1939) you can see your ancestors – where they were, what they did and who was with them on 1 night.  The 10 year gap between census returns could have made all the difference… on one Bob Davies could be a farmer but on the next he could be a labourer… What happened to him in the 10 years in between… You need a little imagination to fill in these blanks… keep in mind though, that it is all purely speculation on your part.  You can make up some wonderfully wistful stories about your ancestors though…

Pen & Paper

Where would any genealogist be without pen & paper?  I do everything on my laptop now because I’ve developed a system.  But for years I used pen and paper to make notes; create rough family trees and generally keep my goals in place.


Sorry… this is a complete necessity.  Whether it’s for a subscription, travel to a cemetery or record office or for certificates.  Family History research costs me a small fortune…

This is not a definitive list… nor should it be taken too seriously…  I do daydream about great uncle Jack’s fall from grace; the feud that tore apart a family and the bigamous great grandfather but I tend to stick with recording the facts in my tree and the stories on the blog.