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Finding Aids
Once you have traced all your ancestors in the civil registrations as far as possible, your next option is to try the baptism, marriage and burial registers of the Church of England or in one of the various Nonconformist sects. By using the church records and the 1841 to 1891 census records where they exist, you will find ample clues for putting together the entire family. But to bring the family to life, it is important that your search of civil registrations be accompanied by a good map. An essential map guide to England, Wales, and Scotland is The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers edited by Cecil Humphery-Smith. The Genealogical Publishing Company has printed An Index to the Townlands and Towns, Parishes and Baronies of Ireland. Samuel Lewisís Topographical Dictionary of Ireland contains an excellent map of each county with a history and a list of its major landowners.

Elusive ancestors are often found by moving out in circles away from the last place the individual was known to have lived. It is very valuable to study the history of the area in gazetteers and local history books. By learning about the whole neighborhood, you will learn which groups of people journeyed to which areas and for what reason. By then searching the records in those places, you may find your missing ancestors. Since most people walked, they might be located within a forty-mile radius of the last place you found them.

Letís look closely at a civil registration for other clues it might contain. Notice the occupation of the father on birth records as well as on many marriage records. If the occupation is unique, a study of that subject would also be useful.

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