GENUKI: The UK and Ireland Genealogical Information Service
Without question the most important website of general use to UK researchers, GENUKI is a 'virtual reference library' of genealogical data. It is important to understand that this is a library of primary source material, drawn from historical documentation, and is not secondary (or tertiary - see Introduction) material such as GEDCOM files assembled by individuals. To get an immediate idea of its massive scope, click on the logo in the central box. It hosts an enourmous number of pages on the GENUKI server and provides links to many more, elsewhere.
Guidance for First-Time Users is the best place to start. Under the heading 'How this Information Service is organised', the second paragraph contains a link to 'standards observed by each of the providers', and it is these that earn GENUKI its high reliability rating. Further down the page is Published Papers about this service which, if you still need convincing, should demonstrate why this website is held in such high regard worldwide.
Getting Started in Genealogy is located in the yellow boxes in the middle of the home page, and comprises an article and a bibliography to inform those researching family history for the first time. Read this before asking obvious questions on message boards - nothing is more likely to alienate those who can help, if you clearly haven't helped yourself.
FAQs is exceptionally useful, and possibly a more immediately informative place to start exploring the site than through Contents at top right of the homepage, which leads mainly to a list of British and Irish counties.
World Genealogy, Newsgroups and Bulletin Boards leads you to a number of newsgroups devoted to various topics ad regions, worldwide. This is where internet genealogy comes into its own, harnessing the knowledge, experience and problem-solving abilities of an international community.
Contents and Search has been replaced by a good new page, illustrating GENUKI's own 'family tree', showing clearly how the researcher can track down through successive layers to more and more locally relevant information. Below this are quick links to the two critical GENUKI seach facilities, the Search Engine itself and the Gazetteer.
GENEVA is the list of forthcoming or, as they put it with a gentle nod to American users, 'upcoming' events which appears in the last of the yellow boxes.