Genealogy Contacts

Another way to find information on particular individuals is to find someone else who is already researching them. Joining a Family History Society for the area in which your subject lived will often lead to such contacts.

The Federation of Family History Societies

Here you will find links to all the FHS that are federation members, including MLFHS at this site

Guild of One-Name Studies

This is probably a society to consult, rather than to join (at least until you are much more experienced). Their members research particular surnames wherever they occur in the world, and are under an obligation to respond to reasonable queries about their research. Guidance is given on the website on what constitutes a reasonable query. If you ask "What can you tell me about my ancestors" you will probably get a dusty answer.

Search Engines

There are an enormous number of sites devoted to particular names or places by other genealogists. For example, if you type into Google "Smith +Genealogy" you get nearly half a million hits. You can reduce this to a more workable number by using the advanced option, and specifying other variables such as place and date. If you specify, in addition to the above, "Manchester, UK, 1800-1900", you get a mere 147 hits even for Smith.

Surname Lists and Message Boards

Another useful way to contact others who are already researching your family is to use those sites that offer Surname Lists or Message Boards.
There are many of these, but the ones with which I am familiar, and have had some success are as follows:

Genealogical Surname Interests for Lancashire, England
Lancashire GenWeb

Many of the large commercial sites, like some of those above, have a wide range of search facilities, which claim to give you access to all sorts of genealogy data - some free, some at a price. In my experience, they often claim more than they deliver, but other people have found them useful, so go ahead and see for yourself.


This is a messaging forum for anyone researching their family or local history, in the British Isles or Ireland.

With RootsChat, you can post your message within your County (or other subject group), and choose to receive emails on replies to only your message, or on any other topics that you may choose to watch. You can also search all old messages, under whatever category you wish. You can choose to exchange information in the form of document images, Gedcoms or text files. Registration and use of the site, is free.

Curious Fox

The village by village contact site for anyone researching family and local history in the UK and Ireland. Every UK county, town and village has a page for family history, local history, and surname enquiries. Use the search box to find your village or town.


LostCousins finds other people who share the same ancestors! Matches are based on census information. Presently LostCousins links only those who had ancestors recorded in the 1881 British Census, but expansion is planned in the near future.

UK Genealogy Interests Directory

This site aims to bring together people who are researching the same families. It is bound to take a while to grow into a really useful resource, but the potential is considerable. Registration is free.