Genealogy research - a step-by-step guide to making the most of your family tree, part 3
In part 3 of our series, family history expert Mary Evans shares some great ideas on making the most of your research time.
In this eight-part expert series, Mary shares her advice on how to make the most of your time, maximise your research potential, and use the resources provided by record offices and genealogy websites effectively and efficiently.
If you have... half an hour
When did you last back up your family history files...?
If you have... a couple of hours
Each time we start following a new branch on the family tree we are researching yet another surname. But how many of us have checked to see whether any of our family surnames are the subject of a one-name study? The Guild of One-Name Studies has a register containing over 7,500 surnames so there’s always a chance of finding one of our own surnames there. You can enter a surname in the search on the website to see if anyone's researching the name, and if you have a fairly unusual surname in your tree then you might want to think about starting a one-name study yourself.
If you have... half a day or a whole day
Time spent poring over old maps can provide a fascinating glimpse of the areas where our ancestors lived and can throw light on why a particular move was made or how a young couple came to meet. Libraries and Archives will have local maps. If you need other areas old Ordnance Survey maps are available from Alan Godfrey Maps. The John Speed maps are beautiful and great for places in the 17th century and are available online. Second-hand bookshops are another potential source. There are many websites on which old maps can be browsed. Try Old World Maps for Ordnance Survey maps and Gen Maps for a very wide range of maps for each county. For Scotland have a look at National Library of Scotland.
(Image: Engraved map of Northumberland, from drawings of Christopher Saxton. Dedicated to Queen Elizabeth I. With annotations in the hand of Lord Burghley, 1579)