ADVERTISEMENT Web Guide: Search Secrets

By David A. Fryxell Premium

 BMD Step-by-Step Search
1. The easiest way to start searching Findmypast is to enter a first and
last name in the search box on the
home page.
2. If you’re looking for a vital record, such as for a marriage, your initial results may seem overwhelming. Use other sources to narrow the date range and thus the number of indexes you’ll need to browse. Check the census, for example, for ages that can get you close on finding birth dates. For marriages, when does a man first appear with a wife on the census? Another “cheat” is to start by searching FamilySearch’s <> International Genealogical Index, which has information from many vital records from the British Isles.

3. Clicking on the number of pages takes you to a list showing the first and last names on each page, the year, and the quarter within that year. Click on View to open a new window with the image of the original registry, so you can look for an ancestor’s name.

 4. When you hit pay dirt—which may require viewing a lot of pages—the entry will show the surname, first name, district, volume and page. This page shows that Mary Chapman Apps was married in the third quarter of 1855 in Rye.
 5. Before you order the marriage certificate from the GRO (which should give the fathers of both bride and groom, the fathers’ occupations, the bride’s maiden name and the addresses where the bride and groom lived at the time of marriage), make sure you have the right index information. Indexes didn’t list spouses together until March 1912, so find the groom’s matching entry. In this case, because we know the year and quarter, checking groom Samuel Drawbridge’s marriage record is a snap.

6. Both Mary’s and Samuel’s entries show that they appear in the index for Rye, volume 2b, page 11, so you’ve got a match.
 Census Search
 1. You can search for census records through the basic search on the home page, or by selecting an individual census from the main census page.
2. Fill in as much or as little information as you like—you always can choose Redefine Current Search if you get too many hits. Every field in that particular census can be searched; for more choices, click the Advanced Search tab.

3. In the results list, click on the Name, Birth Year or Registration District columns to sort the data. (Keep in mind that the birth year is estimated from the age recorded on the form.)

 4. Click View in the Household Transcript column to see a handy transcription of data for each household. The Printer Friendly Version button gives you a printable page you can store with the image of the original record for quick reference.
Later, you can enter the Piece and Folio (and optionally Page) into the Census Reference Search to zoom right to this portion of the census. Also note the address details at the bottom: Do a place search in other censuses to see who lived in the residence in other years.

5. Click on View in the Original Census Image column on either the results page or the transcript page to open a new window showing the actual census page. Buttons at the top let you zoom, change your view, save or print this image.