In order to help MHM readers further their genealogical searches, we have approached five of the top family history specialists looking for advice. In the hope that their answers would provide helpful information for the eager genealogist, we asked each of them the same question: In light of genealogy’s recent surge in popularity, how would you advise someone keen to trace their own family’s history and what services would you be able offer them?  Here are their responses.

Jersey Archive

Researching your own family history is like embarking on a journey of discovery with twists, turns, puzzles, and surprises along the way. If you think that your family or military ancestors spent time in Jersey, Jersey Archive is the best place to start your research. Established as part of Jersey Heritage in 1993, Jersey Archive is the Island’s national repository holding archival material from public institutions as well as private businesses and individuals.  Jersey Archive can help you uncover your Jersey genealogy, either by visiting Jersey Archive or online.

Before you visit us at the Archive, write down everything you know about your family – start with your own details and then move on to your parents and grandparents. Collate full names, dates of birth, marriage, and death if possible, and any other relevant details such as military service.

Once you have gathered all the information you can from family members and family documents you can then visit the Jersey Heritage online catalogue which contains details of over 200,000 documents held at the Jersey Archive.


Exploring your family’s past has never been easier, or more rewarding. is the world’s largest online family history resource, with over 10 billion records to help you discover your ancestors’ lives.

It’s simple to get started – just create your family tree at Start by adding anything you know about yourself and close relatives like your parents and grandparents.

Your tree can then help you make new discoveries. You’ll quickly start to notice green ‘Hint’ leaves next to your relatives’ names. These mean the site has more information about those people – and perhaps even earlier generations.

You’ll find all kinds of fascinating family stories in census, occupation, immigration and military records, plus millions more historical documents. You can then learn more through the huge network of members – some of whom will share your ancestors.

Anyone can start their discoveries with a 14-day free trial. Claim yours and get started today at

Families in British India Society

Families in British India Society (FIBIS) was established fourteen years ago, its purpose to help people with ancestors who served in British India to discover the details of those ancestors and of the background to the lives which they led.

The vast majority of resources available to family researchers are to be found in the India Office Records maintained by the British Library. So, apart from offering advice to family historians on how to access these records, FIBIS publishes data extracted from them, details on how to interpret them, and offers individual searches for its worldwide members. Additionally, FIBIS publishes specialist books on the many aspects of British India family history research and holds regular ‘surgeries’ and open meetings at which advice is provided.

Foremost among the help provided is a freely accessible award-winning website including a searchable database, currently containing genealogical and biographical data on up to a million individuals. Details are provided of the many regiments formed together with wars, campaigns and battles in which they fought. Also provided is information on ships taking ancestors to India, churches where children were christened, civil engineering undertakings that they made and gravestones under which they lie at rest.

The Society of Genealogists

The Society of Genealogists (SoG) is the UK’s largest family history society and the National Family History Centre. Its library in Clerkenwell contains all that a genealogist would expect to help them with their research – with free access to major commercial online genealogy sites and printed and published reference materials. The Society’s library is rich in local sources with transcripts and copies of parish registers, poll books, monumental inscriptions, and local histories.

Having recently celebrated its centenary, the SoG holds an unrivalled collection of family histories and unique manuscript research notes and pedigrees. The reference collections relating to military history and our soldier ancestors are excellent – with extensive runs of army lists, regimental histories, medal rolls and biographies as well as numerous family history and biographical research notes on military men.

Online, as part of the SoG’s website for members, is a database of information relating primarily to commissioned officers in the British Army and the pre-1947 Indian Army which is particularly useful for locating articles on military men that have appeared in some of the journals we hold.

Forces War Records

Military service is often the missing key to a family’s course through history itself; all the drama of the real life and death struggle that is war can be brought to life by finding your ancestors records with us.

Forces war records are a dedicated professional UK company specialising only in military records with a wealth of experience, expanding content and adding new data day after day with factual information from 1350 to the present.

A lively community of researchers and professional staff with a wide range of in depth knowledge is here to help, we have a friendly support team who can answer queries quickly and get those stuck with their search, back on their way again in a trice!

We don’t just cover recent conflicts either: there is an extensive 18th and 19th century knowledge base.

Forces war records has it all: not a jack-of-all-trades, but master of the military.

Click here to see the feature as it appeared in issue 22 of the magazine.

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