Increasing numbers of local people, it appears, are becoming keen to explore their family histories. In which case, it may be timely to mention how easy – and how inexpensive – it is to pursue one’s research interests through Settle Library. This short piece explains how.
First and foremost, all NYCC libraries offer free of charge access to the two most comprehensive and most used on-line family research applications, namely Ancestry.com and findmypast.co.uk. If you subscribe privately to either of these, you will pay upwards of £100 per annum, and over £120 if you want access to overseas records. So free access to both from the library is a bargain! For users there is not much to choose between them. In my view Ancestry is slightly better in relation to military records, while findmypast offers the 1939 Register – a survey of the population on the eve of World War Two, and intriguing for its later handwritten updates. Given that both Ancestry and findmypast are available free to library users, there is no reason why you should not use both – as I do.
The library also offers free access to the British Newspaper Archive, an on-line collection of British newspapers spanning the years from roughly 1700 to the present day. Although there are some local areas where the newspapers have not yet been digitised, BNA’s coverage of titles is increasing all the time.
And of course, library internet access gives you other free of charge websites including, particularly, the General Register Office, which is the sole UK source of official certificates of births, marriages and deaths. You can reach numerous other family research websites too, many (though not all) free of charge. In the library’s reference section, you can find The Family History Web Directory, which identifies hundreds of websites that guide your research before you even touch a keyboard.