Miscellaneous tips

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A collection of miscellaneous tips and tricks not covered in other articles that might help you with your research.

Access some subscription websites with a Library Card

  • In England, a Borough or County Library Card may enable you to access The Times remotely[1] but probably not other historical newspaper sites. However, enquire what is available to you both from your local library and the libraries of surrounding boroughs as what is on offer can differ widely and membership requirements are usually easily met. Popular choices available online include The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and Who's Who & Who Was Who. Other subscription sites may be available from terminals in the library itself e.g. Ancestry - this may sound restrictive but, if you already subscribe at a base level, may be useful for consultation when you want to look up a source restricted to premium subscribers.
As an example, Suffolk Libraries shows the databases available to the users of the more than 40 local libraries of Suffolk County Council. Ancestry and findmypast are available but must be accessed in a local library, while other databases are available on home computers.
Many larger local libraries in Australia provide access for residents, to websites such as Ancestry and findmypast.
  • Card holders of the State Library of Victoria, Australia are able to access digitised records from The National Archives, Kew, on their home computers, without charge. This service only applies to residents of Victoria.
  • The libraries of many genealogical societies provide free member access to websites such as Ancestry and findmypast. Enquire what other services are offered. As an example, the Society of Australian Genealogists in Sydney, NSW Australia, provides access in its library, to downloads free of charge of digitised records from The National Archives, Kew.[2]

Access some articles in the JSTOR subscription website for free

JSTOR is a not-for-profit organisation which provides access to scholarly journals, primary sources, and books. In addition to access through the British Library, or through some library cards, (such as those issued by the National Libraries of Scotland, Wales and Australia) some items may be accessed for free, on your home computer, up to three items from the archive every two weeks. More details are in the article JSTOR Register & Read—Free Reading of Historical Scholarship.

Browse the titles of the Journals and books available in the JSTOR website. Includes a Search facility. Note however, not all articles are available under the free scheme. An example of an article available is "Real Incomes of the British Middle Class, 1760-1850: The Experience of Clerks at the East India Company" by H. M. Boot The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol. 52, No. 4 (Nov., 1999), pp. 638-668

Access an obsolete website in archive.org

Capture a web page in archive.org

  • Perhaps you may want to “capture a web page as it appears now for use as a trusted citation in the future”. For example, you may want to save a web page which has a family history reference. Use this archive.org link and select Save Page Now
Does not apply to all websites. Read the FAQs: Wayback Machine for more details of the types of webites which cannot be archived.

Find the meaning of words used in India

The Anglo-Hindoostanee Handbook; or, Stranger’s Self-Interpreter and Guide to Colloquial and General Intercourse with the Natives of India1850 Google Books. Contents Includes Vocabulary, Monetary System, Weights, Linear Measures etc.
Also see Merchant

Convert a date which has used the Bengali Calendar

Convert prices to present day values

Find an exchange rate

Indian currency to British currency.

  • Prior to 1871, 1 rupee was equal to two shillings (24 pence), so there were 10 rupees to the pound.
  • An old page from Wikipedia History of the rupee, accessed 30 August 2013 contains the following data
Rupee exchange rate in pence
1871–1872: 23 ⅛
1875–1876: 21⅝
1879–1880: 20
1883–1884: 19½
1887–1888: 18⅞
1890–1891: 18⅛
1891–1892: 16¾
1892–1893: 15
Source: B.E. Dadachanji. History of Indian Currency and Exchange, 3rd enlarged ed. (Bombay: D.B. Taraporevala Sons & Co, 1934), p. 15.
Note: This book is available Archive.org version, together with the 1927 edition Archive.org version, both mirrors from Digital Library of India.

Translate from another language into English

Baptismal, Marriage and Burial records


  • Perhaps you have found a webpage which is not in English. You can obtain a computer produced translation of non English wording using Google Translate, or some browsers such as Google Chrome have an automatic option to translate webpages. If you don't use Chrome, you can also enter a website URL (link) to Google Translate, and the entire webpage will be translated (although there may be errors).

Find out the meaning of an archaic medical term

Useful for interpreting the cause of death on a burial record or the medical conditions on a soldier's service record.

Find out the meaning of an archaic occupation

Interpret personal name abbreviations used in records

Read old handwriting

See Fibiwiki article Reading old handwriting

Date family photographs

  • Findmypast has a series of blogs about how to date family photographs by Jayne Shrimpton. Also browse using the various categories of tags such as jayne shrimpton, ask the photo expert, family photos etc. However, the articles currently available appear limited. Archived versions of the webpage contain many additional posts. Select different dates archived for possible additional entries. Some posts can be navigated through this archived link, clicking where appropriate on "older posts".
"30 Tips for Using Family Photos for Genealogy" by Jane Shrimpton 05 May 2017. Findmypast.


Google Search tips

Use transcription aids

Use Speech Recognition or Dictation applications

Speech (or voice) recognition or dictation applications/software may be an aid if you are transcribing a document, or recording other information.
You may need to ensure the microphone option is turned on.[4] These mobile applications perhaps could be useful for recording information for cemetery transcriptions.
Your computer may contain a "Dictation" or similar option. As an example, for Apple Macs, choose Apple () , then System Preferences, click Keyboard, then click Dictation.[5] Note however the Apple Mac option does not recognise some voices and will not work at all in these cases.

Scan and edit a document using OCR (Optical Character Recognition)

  • OCR anything with OneNote 2007 and 2010. howtogeek.com. OneNote 2010 is included with all edition of Microsoft Office 2010 except for Starter edition. OneNote 2007 is included with Office 2007 Home and Student, Enterprise, and Ultimate.

Search for a Library which holds a book you want to read

Search for books on a particular topic

Copy Information from Full View Google Books

Refer Google Books

Use the Virtual Magnifying Glass

You may find this Virtual Magnifying Glass is useful.

For Fibiwiki editors


  1. Acknown et al. The Times On-Line Great War Forum 17 January 2018. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  2. Descent, Journal of the Society of Australian Genealogists March 2019, page 17
  3. RealMac. Translation needed 17 February 2018. FamilySearch Forum hosted on GetSatisfaction. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  4. Great War Forum thread Dragon Dictation - IPad, iPhone (retrieved 8 December 2018.) Note Dragon Dictation is no longer available free.
  5. Use your voice to enter text on your Mac support.apple.com (retrieved 8 December 2018.)