by Gareth Hicks
The UK and Ireland Genealogical Information Service [GENUKI] web pages are one of the most important starting points for anyone using the Internet as an aid to their genealogical research. Supported by the Universities of Manchester and Newcastle among others, they provide an invaluable guide to the now truly vast amount of genealogical information available on the Word Wide Web.
The aim of GENUKI is to serve as a "virtual reference library" of genealogical information that is of particular relevance to the UK & Ireland. It is a non commercial service, provided by an ever-growing group of volunteers in co-operation with the Federation of Family History Societies and a number of its member societies. Its name is a little misleading since it actually covers the British Isles and Ireland and thus includes information about the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man as well as England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
In the main, the information that is provided in GENUKI relates to primary historical material, rather than material resulting from genealogists' ongoing research, such as GEDCOM files.
The GENUKI home page explains what the service offers, how it's organised and how to go about finding information on particular subjects.
Apart from the geographical structure i.e. Country/County/Parish, with separate pages for each, the GENUKI pages are standardised into categories such as Archives and Libraries; Cemeteries ; Census ; Church Records ; Civil Registration ; Description and Travel ; Genealogy ; History ; Occupations ; Societies , to name but a few.
One of the most useful aspects of the GENUKI structure of linked pages is its search engine. This enables you to search by keyword[s] and , hopefully, be quickly presented with a selection of sites with material relevant to your enquiry. By the time you read this article there will be a new search engine in existence which will include all the GENUKI servers (about 22,000 pages), plus the sites of the Public Records Office [PRO], Society of Genealogists [SoG], Federation of Family History Societies [FFHS] and the Guild of One Name Studies [GoONS] and all the FHS sites referenced from the Genuki pages together with all the Surname lists so referenced , which all adds up to about 48,600 pages of searchable data.
I hope that gives you an idea of the "big picture", but what about the our own county ?
Well, I maintain the GENUKI pages for Cardiganshire[CGN] and Carmarthenshire. I started CGN from scratch just over a year ago and although I know that I will never be to say "I've finished" I think that if you visit the CGN pages on /big/wal/CGN/ you will be surprised at just how much information is there already. When you have digested the main county page, don't forget to click on the link at the top of the page which will take you to an index with links to the separate pages of each parish in the county.
I have been greatly helped by the fact that your chairman, John Rowlands, some time ago agreed to my request to be allowed to use material appearing in the Society's journal on the GENUKI CGN pages, I am most grateful to him for this. That accreditation is noted on each parish page where it occurs. There has been a wealth of high quality CGN related material included in this journal since it began and it gives me considerable personal pleasure to be able to make it available to the wider world of genealogy through the GENUKI system.
As I write this in October 2000, I have just finished adding details of much the material included in the journal relating to the Society's Research Service to each parish page. The details of the Burial Indexes fiche for sale were already included. I should mention that I also maintain the South/West Wales Lookup Exchange and there are similar links now on those pages for CGN as well. It is fair to say that Cardiganshire FHS gets a fair amount of world-wide exposure between GENUKI and the Lookup Exchange!
On a slightly different note, I would also like to mention that I have been running a book Indexing Project on the Dyfed and Glamorgan mailing lists for almost 2 years now and at this moment there are 70 completed indexes available for online searching. Of these 10 are geared to CGN, and there are 5 more CGN books in course of indexing. The books themselves are entered on the Lookup Exchange, and the relevant index is linked from there. I mention this because, for CGN, and CMN, I also introduce an index into the GENUKI structure, so it is covered by the search engine I mentioned earlier. I have been very fortunate in my own research in finding several references to my ancestors in various local history type books, which are ideal for online indexing, and for that reason am a totally committed book indexer.
If anybody would like to know more about GENUKI, book indexing or the Lookup Exchange, then please contact me or have a look at the various web sites mentioned. What I would really like is for CGN FHS members reading this article to check their particular parish pages of interest on GENUKI and mail me with details of any resource you feel should be itemised there which isn't already. Or correct any of my errors naturally !
Member # 161