Family Tree Forum's Reference Library

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This wiki is Family Tree Forum's Reference Library. A repository for reference information and research advice that has previously been stored within the threads in our forums.

We want this to be a safe, enjoyable and friendly environment for all of our members. We don’t pre-screen material contributed to the site and are reliant on our members to point out anything that doesn’t conform to the Terms and Conditions of the site.

To begin, please read the sections below. They should lead you in the right direction. You can click on any of the links below to take you to a section within The Reference Library.

Please ensure that you read our Terms and Conditions and the Copyright Guidelines.

Help using the Wiki

The Help Pages for Users will help you find your way around the Wiki.

To start exploring an area of the site, you can click its link, or use the search function at the top of the screen.

Don't worry if you get lost, just click on the Family Tree Forum logo at the top of the screen to return to this page.

To return to our Forums, please click Here.

You may also find these quick guides useful:

Starting Out on Your Research


The County Records Office is the place where you will find your primary evidence - a myriad of documents which will be useful in your research. These Records Office Guides will explain what is likely to be found there and how it is going to be useful.


To be 99% sure that you are researching the correct people, you are going to have to get Birth, Marriage and/or Death Certificates. These pages will help you find out about All About Certificates and how to go about obtaining them.


Alongside the personal details of your families, one of the most useful sets of documents for you will be the Census Returns. The Census Search will give you more information on using these valuable sources of evidence for your research.

Creating your Family Tree

Before you can start constructing your tree, you need to find the branches and twigs to populate it. This page will give you advice on how to go about it and where to find the information, together with hints and tips on deciding whether they are "yours", using pages from The Reference Library and external links.

Online Research

These days, the advent of the Internet and digital resources has enabled family historians to carry out much of their initial research online. The Online Research pages give an outline of the main resources available and "Hints and Tips" based on how some of the members have carried out their own research online.

World Index Page

The World Index Page is a collection of hundreds of hyperlinks to websites which the members of the Family Tree Forum have found useful. They are categorised by Country and then by County. The recommendations range from official County Council websites to small privately run village sites which give you a flavour of the area where your ancestors lived.

The Surname Directory

One of the most exciting and enjoyable aids to genealogical research is making contact with others researching the same family as you. The Surname Directory is a selection of the surnames being researched by the members of Family Tree Forum.

General Reference

General History

The pages in the General History section of the Reference Library contain links to many websites which will not only help you place your ancestors in context historically, but may contain links to further your research.

The Big Book of Genealogy

The Big Book of Genealogy is a collection of the jargon and vocabulary which you may come across in the various sources you will encounter.

Maps and Photography

To enable you to place your ancestors in context geographically, you might like to explore the links in Maps and Photography These pages will lead you to links to sites with historical maps and photographs from all over the British Isles.

Adding Content to The Wiki

All Family Tree Forum members have the ability to add content to the Wiki.

These creations and amendments will be tracked to ensure conformity with layout as well as preventing undesirable content from appearing on the site.

If you wish to create content, please read the Help Page for Editors first to familiarise yourself.

You should also bear in mind that, unless otherwise specified, all content is published under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

Any content not formatted to the style of the rest of the site will be amended.

Further Info

The pages below should be considered as reference points for creating pages, any information held within them should not be considered as verified from a genealogical standpoint