Help and Guidance
Welcome to GENUKI, a virtual reference library of genealogical information relevant to the British Isles, i.e. Great Britain (England, Wales, Scotland), Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. It is both an index and a library. Most of the entries in the county and parish pages are the index, showing you where to find information, on the internet (we usually link directly to those) or in physical libraries and archives. We also hold directly a library of information - transcriptions etc - provided by volunteers.
This page is the general starting point for the help and guidance on GENUKI. You will also find links throughout GENUKI to help topics particularly relevant to what you are looking at or doing.
Using Help and Guidance
You can dip in and out. There is a simplified contents page. You can search using our general search facility.There will be links at the bottom of each page to get you back to the various starting points.
The guidance was extensively rewritten following the upgrade to Drupal 8 in 2020 and now takes account of the further upgrades to Drupal 9 in 2021 and Drupal 10 in October 2023. Some minor corrections are being made.
There is more background on the revision process and the progress here.
Here are the key points to help you get the best out of GENUKI:
- GENUKI covers GENealogical information for the United Kingdom and Ireland: Hence the name GEN - UK - I.
- The information is organised by geography and topic. The geography uses the historic counties and ancient parishes and the topics are based on a well established system for genealogists.
- It is a "virtual reference library". In practice that means it is both an index and a library. Most of the entries in the county and parish pages are the index, showing you where to find information, much of which is found on other places on the internet (we usually link directly to those) but also printed and other material that you will find in physical libraries and archives. A significant part of the information has been created by volunteers and is made available directly through GENUKI as part of our internal library. We have clear standards for our indexing and transcription.
- The virtual reference library is supported by two specialised sets of information: Churches and a Gazetteer. These are also useful tools in their own right.
- Maps are used both to help navigation and, in much more detail, to help investigate connections in localities.
- It is free and delivered by a team of volunteers who collate the information and manage the presentation and the system.
Each of these aspects is explained in more detail in the Background on GENUKI's approach.
What GENUKI does not do
We are sorry but we cannot answer queries about any searches for genealogical information about individuals either within GENUKI or more generally. We do not have the volunteer capacity to do so. But if you use our search facilities you should be able to check whether any name does appear in any of the documents within GENUKI.
Feedback and Engagement
We welcome feedback and engagement from all visitors to GENUKI. You can:
- help us improve the content by clicking on the blue button on any page to report errors or offer new information;
- join in the tasks of maintaining, improving and expanding GENUKI. You can see more about the roles involved in volunteering in the Who does What section ;
- contact us to raise any problems with GENUKI such as copyright etc
Help and Guidance is tailored around the needs of different users: visitors and volunteers/maintainers.
- Help for visitors focuses on navigating the site, explaining what you can expect to find and where, and making good use of that information. There is:
Volunteers and Maintainers
- Guidance for the volunteers who maintain GENUKI focuses on adding information to the site, ensuring the consistency of presentation, developing new approaches and underpinning the operation of the system. There is more detail on:
- getting started as a maintainer
- overall guidance for maintainers covering the main issues;
- general advice on maintaining the site and developing the content;
- more detailed technical guidance on the tasks and tools.
None of this guidance is private to either group so visitors may sometimes find it helpful to look at more detailed information for maintainers. Certainly do so if you are interested in helping with GENUKI to get a flavour of what is required. However maintainers will need to login to see some of the internal functions (eg lists of the items for which they are responsible) and to edit content.
GENUKI is a non-commercial service, provided by a group of volunteers in some case in cooperation with family history societies. It is a charitable trust with a Trust Deed. There is a board of Trustees and an Executive Team responsible for day-to-day operations. There is a formal statement of the roles of the Trustees and the Executive team. Some other aspects of how we work are explained here.
The costs of GENUKI are met by donations, mainly from individuals. You can contribute to the work by making a donation.
GENUKI was conceived and implemented in 1995 in the very early stages of the world wide web becoming available. It has grown enormously in content since then and has taken advantage of a number of advances in web software. The background and purpose is more fully explained in this section with articles from 1995 on the origins, progress reports, later articles and information about the change to using Drupal in 2015, the major upgrade in 2020 and further upgrades in 2021 and 2023.
Genuki is always under development. There are some pointers to our current approach to future developments.
For convenience we have brought together key documents on organisation and process including legal requirements here. The documents are also linked from appropriate places through out the guide.
Recently GENUKI has been through two significant technical transitions: in 2015 from the individually prepared webpages to the Drupal Content Management System (CMS) and in 2020 from version 7 of Drupal to version 8. A further upgrade to Drupal 9 took place in early 2021 and to Drupal 10 in 2023 but with less significance for the apparent operation of the site.
We have removed almost all the previous guidance or modified it heavily into the new structure. Some pages where there is historic material (articles about GENUKI etc) are included in this guidance.