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If you are a newcomer to family history I can recommend the Really Useful Leaflet that the FFHS (Federation of Family History Societies) produce. It has a list of useful websites and gives a good view of just how much information is available. It is true to say that in the early stages of research, quite a bit of progress can be made by going it alone, however, there will be times when your research grinds to a halt, and that is where membership of a society can be of great benefit. The FFHS has over 180 member societies throughout the world and the names and web addresses are included in this leaflet. They will be happy to share their knowledge and come up with ideas for you to pursue. They may also have produced transcriptions of the more unusual records that as yet are unavailable on-line.