Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Site for British Sources - Tuesday's Tip

Do you have ancestors from England, Ireland, Scotland, or Wales? If so, you may find Chris Paton's blog, British GENES (British Genealogy News and Events), helpful. I am amazed at his prolific energy: he's published over 400 posts this year and it's only March! He alerts his readers to new databases, information about genealogy societies and libraries, meetings, presentations, and genealogy news in general. As the subheading for his blog says, "The top stories and events concerning British Isles ancestral research from Irish born Scottish based blogger and family historian Chris Paton." Exactly. His posts also sometimes spill over to New Zealand, Australia, the Channel Islands, India, and various other Commonwealth countries.

Though British GENES does not have a search box, there is a long and detailed "labels" list on the right sidebar. On the left sidebar, posts are archived monthly which means that you can see the titles of a whole month's worth of posts by scrolling down.

One other aspect of British GENES that I really appreciate is the tab Essential genie links. Its categories include: national archives/libraries; local archives/libraries; family history societies; online genealogy records suppliers; UK and Ireland genealogy magazines; podcasts/vodcasts; gateway sites; and genealogy courses. Under each are lists of sources with links.

England, United Kingdom, or Great Britain?

On a slightly different topic though closely associated with Chris's blog.... I had trouble deciding whether to use "United Kingdom," "Great Britain," or "England " for the title of this post. I decided to do a little research before choosing and found information at infoplease. They're not the same. (If you already know the differences just skip over this part.)
  • Great Britain is the island that includes England, Scotland, and Wales. (On the map at right, if you drew a slightly curved line between Liverpool and Bristol, Wales would be on the left side of the line. If you drew a diagonally horizontal line about where the "K" in "Kingdom" is, above that line would be Scotland.")
  • The United Kingdom is a country that includes England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" is its official name. England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales are often thought of as countries but are part of the country of the United Kingdom.
  • The British Isles includes Great Britain, the island of Ireland, plus some other smaller islands such as the Isle of Man. Infoplease states, "The Isle of Man is not a part of the United Kingdom or the European Union, even though its Lord is the Monarch of the United Kingdom."
  • The Commonwealth of Nations is an association of countries that at one time were British colonies. Members of the Commonwealth of Nations accept the United Kingdom Monarch as their own king or queen but each remains politically independent. Some members of the Commonwealth of Nations are Canada, India, Kenya, Malta, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tonga, United Kingdom, Jamaica, Ghana, Belize, Australia, New Zealand, Tanzania, Solomon Islands, and Bahamas. There are 54 member countries.
There's the geography lesson (that you may or may not have needed!) and a recommendation for genealogy resources if you have ancestors from the United Kingdom and some of the Commonwealth Nations. Enjoy!


  1. This is really helpful, Nancy. I hadn't seen Chris' blog before, but agree it's a fountain of information. I also appreciate the geography lesson. Thank you!

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  3. I had looked into the relationship among he British Isles before. I feel better after reading your post because I realize the whole issue is complicated and I am not the only one who needs help! My great grandfather came from Wales and I hope to visit there someday.


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