Free Online Ancestry Search – Understanding Records Found in Free Online Ancestry Searches
A free online ancestry search can be a very effective tool in helping you to trace your ancestry. Everyday, more and more ancestry records are being transcribed and made available to users of the internet. But it’s very important to know exactly who and what you’re looking for when searching ancestors. We’ll show you how to prepare, and what to consider if tracing ancestors through a free online ancestry search.
Finding Ancestors with a Free Online Ancestry Search
It’s important when conducting a free online ancestry search, to have a good idea about the person you seek, and what ancestry records will reveal the most information about them. The more data you can obtain about your family member before even beginning an online search the better. It certainly helps if you have a full name – first and surname – and a bigger bonus if you know their middle or nickname. Having this kind of information before you begin a free online ancestry search can save you a lot of time and effort during the course of your genealogy project.
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Understanding the Abbreviations You’ll Uncover During Your Free Online Ancestry Search
The information contained in the data you’ll find during your free online ancestry search can be confusing at times, especially for beginners. Many things are abbreviated so to better help you understand genealogical terminology, we’ll first look at some of those abbreviations.
The most common abbreviations you’ll encounter during a free online ancestry search will be on BDM (Birth, Death and Marriage) certificates. These will include:
- b – usually stands for born, but can mean birth, bachelor or brother
- d - can mean died, death or daughter
- m – married, marriage, mother, month
- c – circa or cousin
- ca. – circa
Some other basic abbreviations you may come across are:
- anc. – ancestry, ancestor, ancient
- ba. – bachelor, baptized
- bapt. – baptism, baptized
- bpl. – birthplace
- cem. – cemetery
- chr or chrs. – christened
- da. – daughter
- dec. – deceased
- mat. – maternal
- pat. – paternal
- unm. – unmarried
- v.r – vital records
- wit. – witness
- ww. – widow
Free Online Ancestry Search of Census Reports
You’ll come across these quite often during a free online ancestry search, and they will reveal information on your ancestor such as:
- Name and Surname
- Relationship to Head of Family
- Marital Status
- Profession or Occupation
- Any Illness or Infirmity
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Free Online Ancestry Search of Vital Records (BDM certificates):
- Birth certificates will of course reveal a person’s birth date, but other data they will contain is: the full name of the person, their sex, the name of their father, and the mother’s maiden name.
- Death certificates reveal a little less information that can help you to find ancestors, but they can be useful in tracking down birth certificates. They usually reveal; where the person died, how they died, when they died, and sometimes what their occupation was.
- Marriage Certificates on the other hand, can unveil a plethora of ancestral data. They will tell you the date of the marriage, where it was held (geographical location), the name of the church it was held in, the full names and ages of the couple, their addresses before they were married, the names of witnesses, and the names of the couple’s fathers.
It’s important to have a keen sense of direction when conducting a free online ancestry search, as well as an understanding of what you may find. Hopefully the information we’ve shared will help you to prepare well, and; armed with a good understanding of record data, conduct a successful free online ancestry search.