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This "Introduction to UK & Ireland Family History" course introduces the basic principles for good genealogical research, concentrating on sources in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. It provides links to a range of materials, including birth, death & marriage certificates, and also to other lesser known resources which can add interest to your family history.

The recording of baptisms, marriages and burials in English parish records began in 1538. The earliest surviving Old Parish Records in Scotland date from 1553, although few survive before 1600. Protestant Irish parish records began around the same time, although the fire in the Public Records Office in Dublin (1922) destroyed half the parish records. Few Catholic records in Ireland survive before the middle 19th century.

Civil registration (government birth, marriage and death certificates) began in England in 1837, Scotland in 1855 and Ireland in 1864. Northern Ireland civil registration began in 1922.

Of great value to family historians are the 19th century censuses, taken every 10 years from 1801 (except for 1941, during World War II). Individual family census details are available for England from 1841 to 1911, and currently for Scotland from 1841 to 1901. Many Irish census records were destroyed in the 1922 fire, although the 1911 and 1901 censuses survive. When a census does not survive for the time of interest, researchers need to use other lists of names.

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