Question: My grandfather was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, on July 16, 1842. How can I obtain a copy of his birth certificate?
Answer: Write to General Register Office, St. Catherine's House, 100 Kingsway, London WC2B 6JP England. It has civil registrations of births, marriages and deaths since July 1, 1837, for England and Wales. Be sure to ask for the full certificate. It will cost more but is usually worth it. Fees constantly change and these records are expensive. It may cost 10 pounds for this one certificate.
You must give as many details as possible to identify your ancestor. Often there are many persons with the same name, born on the same day in the same locale.
A more economical method to obtain this information would be to use the International Genealogical Index (IGI) available at all LDS (Mormon) Branch Genealogical Libraries. Many of the Leeds (West Riding) records have been entered on this microfiche.
If your family was still in England in 1851 consult the 1851 English census records which would show your grandfather as a 9-year-old, probably living with his parents. These records are available through interlibrary loan from Salt Lake City's famous genealogical library.
English Family Research, available for $5 postpaid from Summit Publications, Box 222, Munroe Falls, Ohio 44262, is an excellent booklet for beginning researchers whose roots are in England.
Q: I read that life insurance companies can be a genealogical source. How could I find these records that might have information pertaining to my great-grandfather?
A: Most of the records are in corporation archives, and a brief letter to the home office will usually enable you to locate the records. A current agent of the company might help you gain access to these old records. However, you may have to search the files yourself and usually have to show proof of descent.
About 16 major life insurance companies began between 1843 and 1852 with 19 more founded by 1875. The names and addresses of these companies who started business prior to 1872 and were still active as late as 1942 can be found on page 343 of "The Source," by Eakle and Cerny.
Q: I am at a loss to find information about my ancestor, Jasper Newton Lacy. He was from Georgia, but the courthouse burned down and I can't locate any records.
A: Had you provided the county's name and some dates, I could help more.
While burned courthouses are great hindrances to genealogical research, very few of them have had all their records destroyed.
You should check for post-fire records. Deeds are often recorded many years after the original transaction. When records were burned the court often asked residents to bring in their originals for re-recording.
Genealogists, DAR members and county historians frequently have copied many records and these may be available in libraries and archives. Many DAR records, including family Bible and cemetery records, are available on microfilm through the LDS (Mormon) Libraries.
Georgia State Archives may have genealogical information about your Lacy family. Other sources to check would be old newspapers, county histories, federal censuses and military records.