GENEALOGY (RESEARCHING FAMILY HISTORY)

Genealogy, also known as family history, is the study of families and the tracing of their lineages and history. Genealogists use oral interviews, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records to obtain information about a family and to demonstrate kinship and pedigrees of its members. The results are often displayed in charts or written as narratives.

Hobbyist genealogists typically pursue their own ancestry and that of their spouses. Professional genealogists may also conduct research for others, publish books on genealogical methods, teach, or produce their own databases. They may work for companies that provide software or produce materials of use to hobbyist and other professional genealogists. Both try to understand not just where and when people lived, but also their lifestyles, biographies, and motivations. This often requires—or leads to—knowledge of antiquated laws, old political boundaries, migration trends, and historical socioeconomic or religious conditions.

The use of the terms "genealogy" and "family history" are often used synonymously, but some offer a slight difference in definition. The Society of Genealogists, while also using the terms interchangeably, describe genealogy as an "Establishment of a Pedigree by extracting evidence, from valid sources, of how one generation is connected to the next" and family history as "A biographical study of a genealogically proven family and of the community and country in which they lived". Sometimes the term used is based on region, with societies in Europe often using the term "family history", and those in the United States more often using the term "genealogy".

from Wikipedia

Links:

Ancestry.co.uk
Ancestry.com
Free Births/Marriages/Deaths (UK)
UK Census Online
Family Search (Mormon Genealogy Sevice)
Society of Genealogists