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Family Sources

Nature of Source

Family material such as documents and memorabilia including photos, family bibles, birthday books, letters, postcards, mourning rings, memorial cards, school reports, medals etc. Names, dates, places and occupations can be established from these sources but also a person's appearance, characteristics, and their family traditions. A person's oral history is an important element of family sources.

Beware that information could be recorded in error and should be verified by other sources. Birthday books were popular in the later 19th and early 20th centuries and record dates of births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials. Family bibles were popular in the Victorian times and were often produced with pages to record births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials. Look for memorial cards which were small cards with a black border printed in memory of a loved one.

The following items are the main sources of family material:

PERSONAL RECORDS

Adoption Record

Newspaper cuttings

Divorce papers

Birthday book

Family trees

Yearbooks

Journals / diaries

Back of pictures

Wedding book

Letters

Personal experiences

Scrap books

Obituary notice

Book inscriptions

Funeral/memorial card

Photograph legends

Baby book

Baptismal records

Burial papers

Copy of monument inscription

 

MEMBERSHIP FORMS & CARDS

Societies

Political Parties

Trade Unions

Friendly Societies

Professional bodies

Student Union

OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS

Passport

Identity card

Driving licence

Visas

Ration book

Birth, marriage & death certificates

Tax returns

Contracts

Mortgages

Car insurance

Medical records eg. Certificate of Vaccination, NHS medical card

Life insurance

Family Trust documents

Naturalization certificate

 

PERSONAL ITEMS

Engraved Jewellery

Engraved silverware/glassware

Miscellaneous engraved items

Tapestries

Quilts

Needlework

Furniture

 

 

CAREER & EDUCATION

Curriculum vitae

School papers

Military Records

Job applications

Apprenticeships

Pension Records

Where Found

Personal collections or at second-hand bookshops and market stalls.

Period Covered

1300 - Onwards

Genealogical Value

Dates of family births, baptisms, marriages, deaths, burials, names, family relationships.

Further References

Blanchard, Gill. Writing Your Family History: A Guide for Family Historians: Pen & Sword Books, 2014  

Amsden, Peter. Basic Approach to Making Contact with Relatives: Federation of Family History Societies, 1999


Foy, Karen. Ancestors in the Attic: Making Family Memorabilia into History: The History Press, 2013


King, Rena. The Family Bible: A Priceless Heirloom: Its history and Evolvement with Inscriptions of Family History Events: The Family History Partnership, 2014  Buy Now on Amazon
Levenick, Denise May. How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia and Genealogy Records: Family Tree Books, 2012 Buy Now on Amazon
Levenick, Denise May. How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia and Genealogy Records: Betterway Books, 2012 Buy Now on Amazon
Levenick, Denise May. How to Organize Inherited Items: A Step-by-Step Guide for Dealing with Boxes of Your Parents' Stuff: Family Tree Books, 2012 Buy Now on Amazon
Levenick, Denise May. How to Archive Family Photos: A Step-by-Step Guide to Organize and Share Your Photos Digitally: Family Tree Books, 2015 Buy Now on Amazon

McClure, Rhonda. Digitizing Your Family History: Easy Methods for Preserving Your Heirloom Documents, Photos, Home Movies and More in a Digital Format: Family Tree Books, 2004


McLaughlin, Eve. Interviewing Elderly Relatives: Federation of Family History Societies, 1985


Sassoon, Rosemary. Keeping Chronicles: Preserving History Through Written Memorabilia: A&C Black, 2010


Symes, Ruth A. Tracing Your Ancestors Through Letters and Personal Writings: A Guide For Family Historians: Pen and Sword Books, 2016

Wentzel, Larry. Scanning for Digitization Projects: Library Hi Tech News, 2006

 

Websites

www.searchforancestors.com/scrapbook/interview.html (Suggested questions for interviewing a family relative)
http://genealogy.about.com/cs/oralhistory/a/interview.htm (Fifty Questions for Family History Interviews, by Kimberly Powell)
www.ehow.com/how_4684893_interview-family-family-history.html (How to Interview Your Family about Your Family History)
http://genealogy.about.com/od/oral_history/Oral_Histories_Interviewing_Relatives_and_Collecting_Oral_History.htm (Links to interviewing relatives and suggested questions)
www.jewishgen.org/InfoFiles/Quest.html (Oral History Interview, Questions and Topics)
www.genealogy.com/95_carmack.html (Interviewing Mom and Grandma: Oral History Tips, by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack)
www.staffordshire.gov.uk/leisure/archives/services/InformationLeaflets/20caringforfamilypapers12.pdf
(Staffordshire Record Office: Caring For Your Family Papers: A Guide to Preserving Your Family's History)
www.cyndislist.com/bibles.htm (Cyndi's List: Family Bibles)