Keys to the Kingdom

Keys to the Kingdom

Origins.net brings English, Scottish and Irish genealogy in tune.

The English, Scottish and Irish don’t have a historical reputation for harmony. But the threesome blends perfectly at Origins.net <www.origins.net>. It’s a collection of three research Web sites (English, Scots and Irish Origins), plus a genealogy-focused search engine to help you trace your roots in the old country. You can access all four sites from the home page or go directly to each.

The main site outlines what’s new on Origins.net and supplies basic research tips, genealogical resources, articles (chiefly on Irish research) and a mailing list, which announces additions and improvements. Here’s a tour through the rest of the network:

Origin Search <www.originsearch.com>: The network’s newest addition is a specialized, pay-to-use genealogical search engine. It lets you comb the entire Net by surname and given name — including a second surname and given name (as for a spouse) — keywords, a year range and page type (census records or family pages, for example). I did a comparison search on Google <www.google.com> and had mixed results: While Origin Search turned up some pages that Google didn’t and eliminated non-genealogical pages, Google generally produced more hits. Origin Search costs $5 for 24 hours or $15 for 14 days; the price covers only search results, not any fees charged by third-party data providers.

English Origins <www.englishorigins.com>: This is the best and most original of the four sites. It’s the only place online where you can tap record indexes from England’s Society of Genealogists (SOG) <www.sog.org.uk>. Most noteworthy is the Boyd’s Marriage Index, which holds more than 6 million names from 1538 to 1840. Others include the Vicar-General Marriage Licence Allegations Index (1694 to 1850), London Apprenticeships Abstracts (1442 to 1850) and the Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills Index (1750 to 1800). Access costs about $9 for 150 credits that you must use within 48 consecutive hours. You can order hard copies of Marriage Licence Allegations, Bank of England will abstracts and Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills for about $15 each.

Scots Origins <www.scotsorigins.com>: Origins.net’s roots trace back to this site: It launched in 1998 to provide online access to records from the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS). Unforninately, this connection ended last fall. In its place, Scots Origins now offers a Sighting Service and an improved search of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ (LDS) International Genealogical Index (IGI). The 1GI reportedly includes more than 90 percent of births and marriages from the Old Parish Registers.

Scots Origins allows you to search the IGI by parish — not an option on the LDS’ Family-Search Web site <www.familysearch.org>. Once you have a date and name, you can order a transcription from the Old Parish Registers and the Statutory Registers via the Sighting Service. This service has had problems since it began; to correct them, Scots Origins is adding a researcher and sending the data to London for processing. Ultimately, the service will take 10 days and cost roughly $12 per requested record. If researchers can’t find your record, you’ll receive a refund for half the fee.

Irish Origins <www.irishorigins.com>: This portion of the network is a narrower, free version of Origin Search — instead of the whole Web, it searches just Irish genealogy sites. Your search might produce hits from the Griffith’s Valuation tax census, ship lists, census data and many other online records. To supplement Irish Origins’ search features, Origins.net is working with Eneclann <www.eneclann.ie> and the National Library of Ireland <www.nli.ie> to post scanned images of the complete Griffith’s Valuation (1847 through 1864) online. The new fee-based resource will launch later this year.

From the April 2003 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

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