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Local and Family History

Local and Family History

You can use Ancestry Library Edition free-of-charge in any Poole library (but not from home). It gives you access to all the UK censuses from 1841 to 1901 (and 1911 Summary Books), to births, marriages and deaths records, plus a wealth of other information from around the world. (Tip: the easiest way to begin searching is to click the "Search" button, then go to either "Browse by location" or "Browse records"). It does not currently include the 1911 census or burial records.

If you need help getting started, have a look at the these Quick Tips.

1911 census

The latest news is that the 1911 Census for England and Wales is now available in Ancestry. As yet the indexing is not complete (you can only the Summary Books - the same as with the other censuses, but facsimile pages are available - see this announcement). It is the original handwritten documents (one per household) which will arrive gradually on the site over the next few months. See the Ancestry.co.uk blog for the latest news.

You can also view the complete 1911 census for free at seven locations in the UK. The nearest of these to Poole is the Devon Record Office. You can search the 1911 census site for free anywhere, but you have to pay for detailed information, for example through www.findmypast.co.uk.

To access the information through the Findmypast site, you need to purchase one or more Findmypast vouchers. These cost £5 for 40 units (a full facsimile page in full colour costs 30 units, a transcription 10 units). If you use the Genes Reunited site, you will need to purchase credits online through their site.

It has also been integrated into other sites. To find out more, go to www.1911census.co.ukwww.findmypast.com or www.genesreunited.co.uk

Local history

All Poole Libraries have books for loan about the local area. For detailed research, the Local History Centre (in a separate building at the Quay) has an extensive archive, and expert staff who can help you find out what you need.

Family history on the internet

You should start by using the free resources that are available, such as Familysearch (which includes free access to the 1881 UK census) or Freebmd.

There is a wealth of useful information on the National Archives and BBC sites. 

Pay-per-view vouchers

Poole Central Library sells £5 pay-per-view vouchers for findmypast.com (which includes burial records).

Vouchers cost £5 each and enable you to carry out online searches from any computer. If you want to buy vouchers at a branch library, they can be ordered for you to arrive within a day or two.

You can order vouchers for Findmypast from the Guild of One-Name Studies website - even a full 3-month or 12-month subscription with unlimited use.

NB: Ancestry vouchers have been discontinued. If you wish to use Ancestry.co.uk, you must sign up for a monthly or annual membership, or for pay-as-you-go you must purchase credits online. You can find details on this page.

If you have Scottish ancestors you can purchase vouchers through the Scotland's people website.

Other ways of finding out about family history

You can borrow books from your local library to find out how to search. To see what we have, look at our catalogue. You can also visit the library to browse through Family History magazines (check with your local library what they have).

Poole Register Office can supply local birth, marriage and death certificates.

If your ancestors lived locally you should use the resources of the Dorset Family History Society and the Somerset and Dorset Family History Society.

The Times Digital Archive is a unique online resource which you can access for free with your library card number. It is a fully searchable facsimile of The Times from 1785 to 1985. 

Local History Centre

You should visit the Poole Local History Centre to research local families. It has an extensive collection of information on microfilm, such as parish registers for the Borough of Poole, the complete Dorset  census for 1841, 1891, 1901, the Poole and Eastern Dorset Census for  1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, and archived local newspapers.

There are street directories listing residents and tradesmen, electoral registers and poll books. You can use 'Mentor', a large and growing database of Poole information containing thousands of references to people, places and events.

There are also files of information generously donated by local people.