1. Free trials
There’s almost always a 14-day free trial available for Ancestry.co.uk. Just make sure you have a nice clear fortnight available when you can make the most of every free day, and read my article Top 10 hacks for using Ancestry.co.uk like a Pro.
This is a free website hosted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Search through the ‘Records’ section rather than the ‘Genealogies’, which are submitted by the general public and are unchecked.
3. Pick up the phone
Seriously, older relatives can be a mine of useful information about your family. Give them a call and find out what they know. Or set up an interview – see How to Interview Your Relatives Parts I, II and III.
4. Your Local Archives
Most useful if your family has stayed in the same place for a few generations. You should be able to find electoral registers, maps, newspapers and parish records as well as lots of other books and directories, which might be helpful.
5. The National Archives, Kew
Contrary to popular belief, the National Archives don’t hold many documents about ordinary individuals, such as birth, marriage and death certificates. They do have free access to the census records, though, as well as information on people who served in the armed forces, and some criminals. It’s definitely worth looking at their website before you go, to see what they have available to view on-line and on-site: National Archives
6. Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Another free website which records a little information about those who died during the World Wars. Access it here: CWGC
A bit hit-and-miss of course, but it’s always worth entering a few combinations of names to see who else is researching your family line. I usually enter marriage names, for example: ‘John Smith married Elsie Jones’ to see what comes up. Sometimes you get lucky and hit the jackpot!
There you go – 7 ways to dig for genealogical treasure when you’re a bit skint! I hope this helps. If you can think of any other freebie methods, please drop them in the comments.