Our first panelist was Audrey Elcomb, speaking on researching English records. Audrey recommends using the freeBMD website to access the indexes of births, marriages, and deaths. She states that it is important to know the county that your ancestors came from, and she provided a map showing the counties in England. Audrey also recommends becoming a member of the Family History Society in the parish where your ancestors resided. This will allow you access to the Society's newsletters as well as to the names that other members are interested in and you may find a link through them.
In addition to Family History Societies, there are also Name Societies. These two can provide a wealth of information for your research.
Next up, I spoke on researching the Scottish Records. The place to research the Scottish Records is the website for the General Registrar: http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/ Statutory Records were not kept until 1855. Before that, you will need to look at the Parish Records. Birth and Census records are available after 100 years, marriage records after 75 years and death records after 50 years. This is a pay per view site. To do a search is free. To view each page of the index is one credit. To see the digital record is another 5 credits. 6 credits is about 35¢. Always start with a census record to get Parish information as well as approximate ages, names of siblings and parents. Then you can look for birth records, marriage records etc.
A great book for searching your Scottish Ancestors is Dr Bruce Durie's book "Scottish Genealogy"
This book can be purchased in the Brant OGS Bookstore
Audrey O'Reagan and Marnie Freeborn spoke on researching Irish Records. Again, it is important to know the area where your ancestors came from. This can be village, townland, city, county and province. There are a couple of websites for Irish genealogy research. One is http://www.proni.gov.uk/ another is http://www.irishorigins.com/ and a third is: http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/index/information-and-services/leisure-home-and-community/history-heritage-and-museums/archive-for-family-and-local-history.html
Marnie talked about a book that provided really useful social history information. It is called Ireland: history, culture, people. It can be ordered through Amazon.
Our final panelist was Barbara Parry who spoke on the difficulty of researching your Welsh ancestors. Barbara spoke about the importance of understanding the Welsh language, and attempted to give us a short lesson. Barbara's talk was very informative and left most of us thrilled that our ancestors are NOT from Wales!!
After the panelists had spoken, our next guest took the lectern. Tom Timon from our local Family History Centre spoke on the changes to the FamilySearch website. There are currently two websites but these will slowly be amalgamated over to the new site as changes and upgrades continue to be added. The new site is http://new.familysearch.org/
Another website for FamilySearch is the new portal to FamilySearch http://fhc.familysearch.org/ where you can find just about anything you might want to know about FamilySearch. Take time to play with the various links. You will be amazed at what you find.
The morning was packed full of information and provided a lot of hands on instruction. Take a few moments to check out the websites provided at this morning's talk. You may even manage to break down your brickwall!