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Over the next few months, we'll be releasing comprehensive new parish record collections for several key cities and counties around Britain. These historical church registers are the best resources for tracing births, marriages and deaths before 1837. Our aim is to help as many of you as possible to extend your family tree back to the 17th century and even earlier.
We kicked off our parish push this month with over 3 million records for the remarkable city of Liverpool. This was the ideal starting point, as Liverpool has been at the centre of global events for centuries. The city's docks have welcomed travellers from all over Britain and the wider world, so many of you will find links to the area.
Our Church of England registers reveal more than 300 years of Merseyside life, beginning as Liverpool was just starting trade with America's 'New World' in 1659. Build a timeline of your ancestors' lives and move back through the generations with records of baptisms, marriages, burials and even confirmations.
And that's not all — we also have Catholic registers for the many churches that sprung up over the centuries. These were built to cater for growing numbers of immigrants — especially from Ireland during the Great Famine of the 19th century. See if the records can fill in frustrating gaps in your family tree.
As you uncover your ancestors' lives in our new records, you can put them in their wider context with our exclusive Liverpool timeline. From the slave trade in the 17th century to the coming of railways 200 years later, see how world events have directly influenced your family.
Don't worry if you don't uncover any roots on Merseyside. We'll have plenty more parish releases to tell you about in the coming months — keep checking Updated for the latest news.
Our England & Wales Birth, Marriage & Death Indexes are among the most crucial records on our site. Together with the Victorian censuses, they're the essential building blocks that help you build your family's story. This month, we've been working hard to make the indexes even more effective and reduce the occasional errors we know some members find when searching.
First, we looked at the registration districts used in the indexes. Due to changing boundaries, many of these districts found themselves within different counties at different times. We've improved our lists to reflect these changes, so the places you see in your search results should now be more accurate.
We also went through all our transcriptions and removed or corrected any typing errors. At the same time, we checked that each transcription was linked to the correct record image. Hopefully our work will make sure you find the ancestors you're looking for each time you search.
Don't forget, once you've found a forebear in the indexes, you can buy their certificate to get more detailed information — about that person and other members of their family. Look for an 'Order certificate' option on the left of the record page, which will give you delivery and cost details.
Find out more about our official indexes.
We also have a brand new marriage record collection to tell you about. Crisp's Marriage Licence Index 1713-1892, helps you trace couples who wanted to keep their weddings under wraps ¯ whether they were hiding some huge scandal, or simply looking for a bit of privacy.
Traditionally, church weddings required banns to be read for three weeks before the event. A marriage licence allowed you to avoid this exposure and simply turn up on the day. Crisp's Index records over 25,000 couples that successfully applied for licences, mainly in parishes around London.
If the church registers were lost or stolen, a licence may even be the only surviving record of your ancestors' marriage. Each entry provides the spouses' names and addresses, their chosen church and the date the licence was issued.
Crisp's Index is available to Premium and Worldwide members. Find out more.
Kate Middleton may have married into the Royal Family, but she doesn't have any blue blood herself. Maybe you should be the one with your name in the papers and your face on a stamp? Find out if you have any links to the throne with our range of royal records.
If you fancy you may be descended from kings, we have several collections tracing the lineage of our former rulers. For example, Tudor Roll of the Blood Royal reveals the descendants of famous names such as Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, while a similar Plantagenet collection focuses on the blood of the likes of Henry V and Richard the Lionheart. Perhaps you'll find you have a claim to the throne yourself.
Those with less lofty aspirations can also uncover links to noble and aristocratic families throughout history. Start your search for earls and viscounts with Peerage of the United Kingdom and Ireland, Volumes I-IV and The county families of the United Kingdom. Unfortunately we can't promise they'll be any money or land left waiting for you!
Even if you've accepted that your pedigree is packed with farmers and labourers, it's fascinating to learn how the privileged classes lived. Life in a noble household, 1641-1700 provides a rare insight into this lavish existence, covering everything from travel to sport and leisure.
We've grouped all our royal collections together, so you can search them all at once. Search now.
The more eagle-eyed among you will have spotted a new feature on our site in recent weeks – Suggested Records. This is designed to save you time searching through our records and help you add more detail to your ancestors' stories.
When you find a forebear in one of our more popular collections, and click on their search result, you may find a Suggested Records box on the right of your screen. In this box, you'll see a list of other records from around our site that may also relate to that relative.
For example, if you find someone in the birth indexes, you might see their marriage and death entries listed, together with census records, a criminal register or even a military service record. Just click on a record to see the details it contains – as long as you have access to it as part of your chosen membership.
The idea is very similar to the 'other products you may like' suggestions at shopping websites such as Amazon.co.uk. We look for other members who have linked a particular record to relatives on their family tree. We then see what other records they've linked to the same relatives, and suggest these as possibilities for you to explore.
At the same time, our Hints system uses the details from that record to automatically search other collections around our site. Any results from that search are also added to your Suggested Records list, giving you even more options to try.
You do need to bear in mind that these are only suggestions – we're not saying all the records we bring up will relate to your family. If you prefer, you can ignore them altogether. However, it's a great way to work out where to look next in your attempts to discover more about your ancestors.
Search our records now.
Welcome to our Ask the experts section. This is where we answer your questions on all things genealogical, so if you have any pressing queries, send us your questions now*.
Thank you for all your questions so far. If your question doesn't appear here, you can email our Member Services team at email@example.com and they'll help you with your research.
This month's questions are answered by professional genealogist Chris Paton and resident family historian Russell James.
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