Earlier today, I thought I would start a list that highlights some of the sites I like to use best in my genealogy work. As I got into this list it quickly became evident that one list was going to be too cumbersome. So I am chopping it up by country, or country/district or area, that I work in.
As we all know, genealogy and family history is far from a singular effort. We have family helping us, ancestors there to guide us, and the future to offer our stories to. We don’t do this alone … ever! Even if we are sitting alone and punching the computer keys in what would look to others as isolation. But we know better! We know that we have generations of helpers on our shoulder watching, guiding, hinting, and helping! So as we go about our efforts, we find our leads and assistance where ever we can …. hence ‘A List’ to help you along in several locations: Cornwall, Kent, Bohemia, Italy and the US of A.
What do you say? Let’s get started!
I hope these will serve to be as helpful to you as the sites have been for me.
First stop: Kernow — more commonly known as Cornwall over in the United Kingdom. Many believe that Kernow should be classified as a separate country of the UK as opposed to a county as it is now. I am in the separate country camp with both feet! The history, language, and background, I believe, supports such a view. Cornwall and the Cornish should be an equal with Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. They certainly are not a county of England! But I digress as this is a totally separate issue from the one I am focused on here.
Cornwall with all her Parishes listed.
I am lucky in that I subscribe to http://www.ancestry.com. I naturally use this service a lot in the early stages of my research, but it is not my first nor my only stop by any means.
My first stop in Kernow always is the OPC! OPC stands for Online Parish Clerks and they are awesome! There are several, but I happen to have most of my ancestors back in Cornwall, so I use the OPC there more than the others. You can see a list of all of them here: http://www.onlineparishclerks.org.uk. I hope you read the interview I published here with the volunteer head of the OPC, Ms. Myra Cordray, which I published here: http://onwardtoourpast.com/blog/onward-to-our-past-exclusive-genealogy-interview-with-myra-cordrey-of-the-online-parish-clerks/. You can find all of the Cornwall OPC help at this site — http://www.cornwall-opc.org. Their search engine feature is nothing short of AWESOME!
What I find at the OPC site often leads me to want to visit the 1911 UK Census! I love this option when I get it and my favorite site is http://www.1911census.co.uk. This is a good, pay-as-you-use it site and I like it as an alternative to for folks who don’t pay for ancestry.com. Nice to see the forms done up in your ancestors handwriting too! Take a look at this one for my grandfather. I love that he filled it out!
I love this document for a hundred reasons, but most of all that it is in my Gramps’ own handwriting.
When I am lucky enough to get a solid hit on the OPC site my next stop is frequently the BDM Index at GRO UK. This one can be found at http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/. By the way, GRO stands for Government Records Office for the entire United Kingdom. This is a super site if you ask me and has, as I think on it, possibly has helped me the most! This is where you can order the document to go along with your find of the information regarding births, deaths, and marriages. I have consistently been pleased with the service and quality I get from the GRO-UK. I have even received a refund when they felt the quality was not up to snuff! Nice! Very nice!
Of course if your ancestor fought in one of the Wars of the United Kingdom, then the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is a must stop for you. I have been totally pleased and amazed at this site and the work done by this very classy group of folks! You can access their site at http://www.cwgc.org/. Their search function and back-end help if you need it is second to none. They are wonderful folks doing wonderful work! This can lead you to some excellent information and even a photo if you are lucky.
I was amazed and pleased to find his wife’s name inscribed on my great-Uncle’s gravestone, in Houyet, Belgium.
As us you know by now, I am a big proponent of local genealogical and history societies and certainly Cornwall is no exception. Early in my work on my Kernowyon folk, I came across the Cornwall Family History Society at http://www.cornwallfhs.com/. Not only will you find great resources and ideas here, but the volunteers have been steeped in Cornwall history for their lives and know a phenomenal amount! They have been nothing short of terrific for me!
If your Cornish ancestors emigrated, do not forget a quick ‘stop’ at the Cornish Global Migration Programme at http://www.cornishmigration.com. Give them a check to just see if they have your surname in their database. Their database covers more than 50,700 names, so it just might get you a lead or connection! Great folks at this all volunteer organization.
Another beautiful thing about Cornwall is that there are a multitude of museums that can offer specialized help in areas such as maritime, shipwrecks, military units, and many more!
I am sure as soon as I read this after I post it I will recall several items I missed, so watch for V2.0 in the future! In the meantime, don’t forget the Cry-the-Neck and other Cornish traditions.
I hope this will be of help to some of you!
Onward To Our Past,