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How CuriousFox works

Quick Summary

CuriousFox lists every town and village in the UK, and most towns and villages in Ireland. Each village has a page where members can add entries about family and local history research.

You can also search for surnames in the whole of the British Isles, by county, by village or town, or within a set distance of any location.

Members make contact by logging on, clicking the envelope symbol next to an entry, and typing their message. The other person is sent an email asking them to log on to read the message and reply.

CuriousFox is not a forum where you reply on the pages.
All your messages and replies are private. No email addresses appear on the site. You do not have to share your email address or full name with anybody unless you choose to do so.

Researching family and local history at village and town level works really well, especially if you have a more common surname like Smith or Jones, or want to find details of the house where your ancestors lived etc. Amazing "coincidences" happen all the time. We also have many members who just like helping other people and may keep an eye on a particular village or surname.

Finding a Village or Town

Find a village, town, city or county by typing a few characters into the village search box at the top of the page.

Once you have typed a few letters, suggested placenames appear below the box. Keep typing and the suggestions will become more accurate.

If you don't know the name of the village your family came from search for the county page or the country page. For example search for Cornwall or Scotland.

Wildcard Searches (or Star Searches)

Placename spellings can vary over time, records may not be accurate, or even readable, so if you are having problems finding a particular place, try a wildcard search.

Use * to replace one or more characters.

New finds Newtown, Newton and New Town
Beck*m finds Beckham, Beckermet, Beckenham
W*x*l finds Wixhill, Whixall, Wraxall, Whixley

See also Frequently Asked Questions - Finding Places further down the page.

See nearby Villages and nearby Entries

Families often lived within a small cluster of villages. Use the drop down boxes on the village page to see what villages are nearby, or to see all the entries within a few miles.

The see nearby facility ignores county and country borders and is extremely useful as borders change over time and a family may well have lived in an area prone to border changes.

Searching for Surnames

Search for surnames in the Surname Geosearch Box in the right-hand column on most pages.

You can search for surname variations, first name and last name combinations, and other words. See Search Tips

You can search by county, by town or village, within X miles of a town or village, or the whole of the British Isles. See County and Geosearch

You can search for surname keywords that are also first names, common words, or placenames.See Text of Entries and Surname Keywords

Search Tips


A Searches are exact. Searching for Feather will not find Featherstone.

B You can search for variants by adding them to the search box eg Featherston Featherstone or Connell O'Connell MacConnell McConnell

C You can search for a first name and last name by putting "&" between the two names. This will restrict the search to entries where both names appear in the same entry but they may not be next to each other. Text of entries only.

D Searches for three letter surnames, eg Lee or Ley can only be done one name at a time, will search surname keywords only, and will be slower.

 

A

B

C

D
Look in
Text of Entries
Surname Keywords


County and Geosearch


You can restrict your search to a county by using the drop down menu, OR you can search within a given distance of any village or town.

To use Geosearch, type in the name of your target village or town and then select the distance around to be searched.

 
or

Text of Entries and Surname Keywords

You can search the text of the entries or surname keywords.

Text of Entries search the whole entry.

You can also search the text of entries for other words such as school, cricket, witch, convict or public.

Surname Keywords are lists of surnames only and are added by members when they post their entries.

If you want to find the surname Thomas but not the first name Thomas, search surname keywords. The same applies to surnames that are also common words or place names such as Barnes, Good, Best and West.

 

Look in
Text of Entries
Surname Keywords

Look in
Text of Entries
Surname Keywords


Sending and Receiving Messages

CuriousFox protects your privacy by allowing you to send and receive messages about your entries without giving your full name or email address. This not only protects your privacy until you decide to share more information, but avoids any problems with email spam filters rejecting emails from people you don't know.

We send you an email when there is a message or reply waiting for you so that you don't have to keep logging in and checking.

Just make sure your email filter is set to accept emails from info@curiousfox.com, and remember to keep your email address up to date.

Sending a Message

To send a message about an entry - join as a free or paid member - log on, and click the envelope symbol next to the entry.

On the next page you will find more information about the entry. Click the "Send a Message" button and on the following page type your message.

Before joining as a paid member to send a message about an older entry we recommend performing an email check. See Older Entries and Email Checks

We send an email to the person who added the entry asking them to log on to read the message, and reply. We also send you a confirmation copy of your message by email.

When somebody replies to one of your messages, a "conversation" is started and the message and all the replies are available from your members pages.

Please note that messages and replies are not available on your Member's Page until you receive a reply and a conversation is started.

Receiving and Replying to Messages

When you receive a message, or a reply to one of your messages, CuriousFox sends you an email asking you to log on to read and reply.

When you log on, your member's page will show a Read and Reply panel with a summary of recent activity. Click the button to read and reply.

If we have told you there is a message or reply for you and when you log on the "Read and Reply" panel does not show on your member's page, refresh/reload your members page.

Older Entries and Email Checks

CuriousFox is a long term archive of entries. If the entry you are interested in is an older entry click the link that says "Check Email Address."

If the member who added the entry has been active on CuriousFox recently we tell you no email check is necessary.

If the member has not been active recently, we show you an information panel with the option to run an email check. This sends an email to the email address we have on file and asks the person to confirm their email address is still in use. We email you the result.

More about Email Checks

If you want to join as a paid member just to make contact with the person who added an older entry we recommend you perform an email check first.

Orphan Entries

If we lose contact with somebody, or an email to them is returned as undeliverable, all their entries are moved to the orphans pages. We can't get in touch with the person who added the entry so you cannot send them a message but there could be information that helps you with your own research.

If you see an orphaned entry that is related to your own research you can add your own entry to the village page BUT any such entry must be an independent entry and must not be a reply to the orphaned entry. Any entry that appears to be a reply to another entry, including orphan entries, will be deleted by our abuse detection system.

If your entries have been moved to the orphan pages, update your account with a valid email address, or send us an email.

Privacy

Messages and replies are private and seen only by you and the other person involved.

Your full name and email address are not released by CuriousFox and our message system allows you to correspond with people you do not know without revealing any private information.

You can include your email address and full name within a message if you want to but that is entirely up to you.

Adding an Entry

Entries are always added from a village page.

Join as a free or paid member, make sure you are logged on, and then find your village. Click the "Add an Entry" button underneath the village heading. On the following page, type your entry.

You are not allowed to include any email or web site address, or any information that circumvents the messaging system.

CuriousFox is not a forum. You are not allowed to use entries to reply to another entry. To make contact about an entry use the messaging system.

See Frequently Asked Questions - Adding Entries

Surname Keywords

When you add an entry you will see a box called Surname Keywords. This is to help users search for surnames that are also common words, placenames, first names etc.

Type in the surnames mentioned in your entry BUT ONLY THE SURNAMES.
Do not include first names, dates or any other information - just the surname.

Just imagine how difficult it is to research surnames like GOOD, TEACHER, CARVER, KENT, RICH, JOHN, WEST, SMITH, PETER

Making Changes to your Entries

You can edit your entries while you are typing them in but once you have added the entry only paid members can edit their entries.

If you are a free member you will have to delete your entry and add a new one.
To delete your entry, log on and go to your members page. Select Your Entries and you will see a list of your entries with delete buttons.

If you are a paid member, select Your Entries on your members page and you will see a list of your entries with edit and delete buttons.

Tips for Adding Entries

Put surnames in capital letters
It helps other users if you type surnames in capital letters. They are much easier to spot in lists of entries.

Example:
Seeking information on John SMITH who married Elsie WRAGBY about 1750. They lived in Albemarle Cottage on Watling Street. John was a wood carver and is believed to have worked for Grinling GIBBONS in Deptford. They had three children, John, Mary and Elsie, dates of birth unknown. Elsie later married Peter GOOD and moved to Deal in Kent.

Remember to add the surnames to Surname Keywords as well, especially if a name is a word, trade, first name or placename and is difficult to search for.

Surnames from the example above
SMITH WRAGBY GOOD GIBBONS

Include dates if you know them
CuriousFox has many members who enjoy helping other people track down their family. Help them to help you by including dates.

Check your spelling and grammar
Ungrammatical and poorly spelt entries tend to get less help than entries where somebody has taken a bit of time and trouble.

ENTRIES WRITTEN IN CAPS are sometimes ignored as it is considered rude to use caps on the internet.

Include interesting details
Sometimes the name of a house, farm or street, details of a profession or trade, or perhaps the name of an employer, may prompt some interesting contacts that help you find out more about the family or where they lived.

Don't repeat the same entry, or nearly the same entry under numerous locations
It spoils the site for other users and duplicate or nearly duplicate entries will be removed by filters.

See Frequently Asked Questions - Adding Entries

Free and Paid Membership

You can join as a free or paid member but one side in any message transaction has to be a paid member.

Paid members have greenmail2 green envelopes next to their entries. All members can send them a message.
Free members have redmail2 red envelopes next to their entries. Only paid members can send them a message.

Paid members can also show a profile with additional information about their research, submit a link to their personal family history website (restrictions apply), and be emailed when new entries are added to a village.

You are far more likely to get a response if you are a paid member with a green envelope, especially if you are asking for help, but it is up to you.

Payment

Membership costs £5.50 a year and this keeps the site going without advertising and endless affiliate traps.

You cay online with most credit and debit cards, or with PayPal.

Our credit card transactions are handled by WorldPay, an independent payment processor owned by a major bank. The service is very secure and we do not see any card information. CuriousFox is only told that person XXX has paid.

You can also send a UK cheque for £5.50. Just follow the "Join" or "Upgrade" routes on the site and choose the pay by cheque option.

Other Currencies

You can use your credit or debit card to pay us £5.50 and your bank takes care of the currency conversion and charges you in your normal currency.

If you pay with PayPal you can also pay a fixed price in a range of popular currencies.

We cannot accept cheques for any other currencies except UK £.

If you can't pay by the above methods contact us and we'll sort something out for you.

Renewals

We don't do automatic renewals. We send you an email when renewal time approaches and invite you to renew your membership.

About a month before you need to renew a "Renew" button appears on your members page.

Storing Villages and Email Updates

Members can add a list of places to their member's page. Go to the village and use "Store this village". Paid members can opt to be emailed when a new entry is added to a village.


Frequently Asked Questions - Finding Places

There are too many villages with the same name. How do I know which is the right one?

Many villages and towns do have the same name, even within the same county. We are gradually adding "near" information to help distinguish them.

Check if you have the correct village by

a. Finding a known nearby town or village and using the "places within X miles" to locate the correct one
b. Going to the village page and using the map links to check the location
c. Emailing us and we'll sort it out for you

If you let us know you had a problem finding the correct location, we will add "near Xtown" to the village name.

Why have you got the wrong county showing for this village?

In common with most genealogy and history sites, we use traditional or ceremonial counties.
Most historical records were made, and are stored, on this basis.
Modern county boundaries were created for administrative convenience and change quite frequently.

If you have trouble finding a place, try searching for the name without choosing a county, or look for a nearby place and use our "places within X miles" tool.
For more information see the Association of British Counties
If you get really stuck, email us.

Where is Xxxx in London? I can only find Xxxx in Kent, Middlesex or Surrey

Historically, London was a city not a county. The City of London is tiny - just one square mile just north of the Thames. In time the city became a commercial centre and the population moved out into the surrounding villages in Kent, Middlesex and Surrey. The villages included places that many people regard as part of London such as Chelsea, Fulham, Woolwich and Crystal Palace.

The County of London was an adminstrative county created in 1889 and abolished in 1965. It covered the area generally known as "Inner London" taking territory from Middlesex, Surrey and Kent. CuriousFox, in common with other genealogy websites, archives, and historic documnets, uses the traditional or cermonial counties so the villages are listed under their traditional counties.

Why haven't you got my village?

Try searching for the village name without specifying a county. CuriousFox, in common with other genealogy websites, archives, and historic documnets, uses the traditional or cermonial counties rather than modern adminstrative counties so it might not be under the county you were expecting.

Spelling varied throughout history. Try searching for the first few characters only, or with * in the middle or replacing any suspect characters.
Try with and without punctuation.

If you have difficulty let us know so we can add some spelling variations.
If we really do not have the village, email us with as much information as possible and we will add it to the database.

Ireland and Townlands

If you can't find a place in Ireland, it may be that you are trying to find a townland. Townlands are historic units that were not "officially recognised places" but are widely used. Townlands can be quite large, one street, or even just a few houses. There is a campaign to bring back the widespread usage of townlands as an important part of Irish cultural heritage.

We research and add townlands on request, or we will tell you which parish or village to use instead.

Parishes

The names of the parishes are often used in historic records rather than the name of a village or town.

Parishes may cover a small part of a recognised community, or several villages. Parishes can be an ecclesiastical parish or an adminstrative parish. Parishes may even have detached areas which can be some distance from the main parish. The boundaries change frequently. Parishes are not shown on many modern maps but are shown on historical maps.

If you get stuck email us and we'll do our best to help. We will also add parishes on request.

I don't know the name of the village my family came from. What do I do?

Search for your surname on Surname Geosearch in the right hand column of most of our pages. You might find some clues.

Go to Family Search and search for your surname. This might tell you where the family name was clustered within a county or they might even have records of your family.

Find the county page by entering the county name in the search box and add your entry to this page. If you don't know a county, search for England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland and add your entry to the country page. These pages will become big and unwieldy but members will find your entry when they do surname searches.


Frequently Asked Questions - Finding Names

How do I search for surnames that are also first names, common words, or placenames?

If the surname you want to find is also a first name such as John or May, a common word such as Good or West, or a place name like Barnes or Richmond select Surname Keywords.

Surname Keywords are lists of surnames only and are added by members when they post their entries.


Frequently Asked Questions - Adding Entries

Several members of my family came from the same village. Do I add an entry for each one?

No. This is not a hard and fast rule as you may have specific questions to ask about an individual or you can add interesting details about them but we will combine, edit or remove entries if we think this helps to keep our pages interesting for users.

My family came from several villages in one area, should I add an entry to all the villages?

No. Most people interested in a village will check the nearby villages and towns with the tools provided so putting your entry on one village should be sufficient.
If you can add another entry that is about that particular village, for example a house or farm where your family lived, then you can use your discretion to add another entry.
Duplicate, or nearly duplicate entries will be removed.

Please remember users can search by surnames and for all entries within a set distance of any location. If one one person or family dominates the results it annoys other users.

My family moved from one area or county to another area or county. Can I add another entry?

With discretion. If your family moved around you can add an entry in different locations but each entry must be about their time in that location and unique.
Duplicate, or nearly duplicate entries will be removed.

Please remember users can search by surnames, for all entries within a set distance of any location, and by county. If one person or family dominates the results it annoys other users.

I'm doing a one name study. Can I add multiple entries?

No. People engaged in one name studies should note that we do not allow the addition of entries to multiple locations. One entry should be added to county page or a country page.
Duplicate, or nearly duplicate entries will be removed.

I'm looking for somebody who might still be living. Can I add an entry about them?

Yes. We do allow such entries but you must be very careful over the information you give to avoid potential embarrassment or putting somebody else's private information in the public domain.
We will remove or edit any entries that cross the line.

I've made a mistake. Can I edit my entry?

If you are a paid member you can edit your entry. Go to your members page and select "Edit or delete your entries". You will be shown a list of all your entries with edit and delete links.

If you are a free member you can only delete your entry and add a new one. Go to your members page and select "Check or delete your entries". You will be shown a list of all your entries with delete links.

I don't know the name of the village my family came from. What do I do?

Search for your surname on Surname Geosearch in the right hand column of most of our pages. You might find some clues.

Go to Family Search and search for your surname. This might tell you where the family name was clustered within a county or they might even have records of your family.

Find the county page by entering the county name in the search box and add your entry to this page. If you don't know a county, search for England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland and add your entry to the country page. These pages will become big and unwieldy but members will find your entry when they do surname searches.

Can I add my email address, phone number or street address to my entry?

No. All contacts have to be made through the messaging system and showing any information that could be used to contact you will result in the the entry being removed.
Repeat offenders will have their access blocked.

Can I include details of a website in an entry?

No. Any entry that includes details of a website will be removed. Repeat offenders will have their access blocked.

Paid members can submit a link to their own personal family history website. The website link shows when somebody clicks the envelope symbol beside an entry.
To submit a link go to your members page. Restrictions apply, see our terms and conditions.





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