Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Cornish Family History for Free

Occasionally I get emails asking for advice on researching Cornish family history. Sometimes the writer seems to be asking me to conduct family history research - to which I say no thank you. However, I do have advice on how to carry it out online - and for free.

The first port of call should be the Cornish pages of GENUKI. Not only is there lots of information about Cornwall in general, there is a page for each parish. Numerous sources of information are linked to these pages.

Then you might check out the Cornish OPC scheme web site. Here again, each parish has its own page and there is much information, both in general and in particular. The Online Parish Clerks are committed to helping FH researchers and you should write to them asking for help. At the very least, they should be able to give advice on where to look.

A daughter project of the OPC scheme is C-PROP. Originally intended to carry parish register transcripts (which it still does), it has expanded its scope to include other sorts of data. It is a FREE online searchable database. No other county has one.

All of the Cornish 19th century census returns have been transcribed and posted online at the COCP web site. You can search them as texts or you can use the accompanying search engine. All of the 2.25 million records have also been uploaded to the FREECEN database.

You should join the CON-GEN Rootsweb mailing list. Post your questions there remembering to give as much detail as you can. List your surnames of interest in the subject line in BLOCK capitals. You can search the mailing list archives for these names, hopefully other people have included your names in their subject lines. In any case, an archival search will also search the texts.

On the wider national front, you can search for free the index of certificates for the UK on FreeBMD. Over 16 million census records are available on FREECEN and about 5 million parish register entries on FREEREG. Not all of these are Cornish obviously.

Finally, there is on the international scene, the LDS, the Mormons. Their database, which is free, contains hundreds of millions of entries and is constantly enlarging itself.

There are other avenues open to you, such as the Cornish FHS, but these are not free.

By the way, I have attended a number of “granny hunts” at Wadebridge. I usually ask beginners (and others) if they have taken the time to type their names and places of interest into Google. It is surprising how many haven’t, almost as surprising as what turns up. My brother-in-law, who is in the film business, had about ten thousand hits!

I haven’t listed any URLs (lazy) but Google will find them for you.

1 comment:

Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont said...

Family history, and Cornwall, are clearly your specialities, Michael; you certainly know your way around them. I enjoyed having a look. :-)