Filling in a draft pedigree chart

Image of pedigree chart

Filling in a pedigree chart can help keep your research focused.

It can seem really daunting if you want to start researching your family history but don’t know how to get started.

The best place to start is with yourself, and a pen(cil) and paper! Click on the image above to see a summary of how to fill in the pedigree chart.

Even though lots of family history records are now available on the internet, it’s still a good idea to write down what you already know before jumping in and searching websites. Otherwise, you may easily end up barking up the wrong family tree! It’s worth taking time at the beginning to get your tree as accurate as possible, otherwise you may spend a long time researching someone else’s family and then having to unpick it all later.

I’ve previously posted a template for you to add your direct ancestors, if you prefer to type in the information  rather than writing it.

Either way, start with yourself and fill in as much information as you know. Women are always referred to in family history by their maiden names so, if you don’t know a woman’s maiden name, just add her first name(s) to start with and leave the surname blank.

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Family Search and the IGI

In the pre-Internet days of family history, transcripts of baptism, marriage and burial entries in early parish registers were invaluable. For many people, short of trawling through registers of church after church, there was no easily available source of pre-1837 vital records other than transcripts of registers from individual churches, published by family history societies, and the IGI (International Genealogical Index) on microfiche.

Since the 1930s, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), often known as Mormons, have been microfilming parish registers. These have then been indexed, and listed by county, with variant surnames being grouped together. The lists were published as the IGI on vast quantities of sheets of microfiche at intervals between 1973 and 1992.


Image of IGI

IGI on microfiche

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DNA talk at Solihull Central Library

DNA talk at Solihull Central Library

The Jamaican Family Roots Group, which meets at Solihull Central Library, has a talk on Saturday 5th April 2014 by Dr Maurice Gleeson on how DNA can help in family history research.

Everyone is welcome (whether or not you have Caribbean ancestry) – booking details are on the attached poster. There is no charge, although the group would welcome donations to help purchase more microfilms of Caribbean records for the collection at Solihull Central Library.

Solihull in 1954

On Solihull’s Charter Day, 11th March 1954, Princess Margaret visited Solihull to present the Urban District with a Royal Charter of Incorporation as a Borough.

A group of local photographers and film-makers put together a film of the day’s events. The following is an extract showing some of the preparations.

The full video is on show until 5th April in the Heritage Gallery on the first floor of Solihull Central Library.

Heritage & Local Studies Librarian