Explore the basic genealogical documents

This guide was last updated in 2009

Gather as many relevant certificates and census returns as you can. It may be that you were alerted to the existence of the business in the first place through an entry on a birth or marriage certificate, or on the census, but there is always scope to find out more.

By looking at successive censuses, and successive generations, you might be able to discover how long your ancestor was involved in their particular business, whether they always operated from the same place, how many generations of the family worked in the same industry and how their fortunes grew or declined.

You may discover from census returns whether the family lived at the business premises – for example, above a pub or shop, and whether all of their neighbours were also involved in trade.

You can find the basic genealogical documents, or indexes to them, at several websites, including:



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