Using Curious Fox contact message boards for UK genealogy and local history.

How CuriousFox works

Quick Summary
Finding your village
More About Villages
Adding Entries
Sending a Message

Quick Summary
Use the search box to find any village.
Use "County > Villages A-Z" to find only villages with entries.
Try the map links and "Nearby" pop ups.

To search for surnames, add an entry or send a message, join as a free or paid member. Make sure you are logged on.

To add an entry, go to a village page and use "Add an Entry".

To send a message, click the mailbox beside an entry. Free members have red mailboxes. Paid members have green mailboxes. Paid members can send messages to all mailboxes, free members can only send messages to green mailboxes - one side in any message has to be a paid member. Paid members (£5) can show a profile, submit an url and be emailed when entries are added to a village.

You are not allowed to include in your entries any email or web site addresses, or any information that circumvents the messaging system. Paid members can submit an url. You are not allowed to use entries to chat. This site is a self supporting facility and uses the membership system to avoid banners or affiliate links so please don't abuse the system.



You can join as a free or paid member.

Entries added by paid members have greenmail green mailboxes and all members can send them messages. Entries with redmail red mailboxes are made by free members and only paid members can send them messages. One side in any message transaction has to be a paid member.

You are far more likely to get a response if you are a paid member with a green mailbox, especially if you are asking for help, but it is up to you. The important thing is to add entries so that shared interests can be discovered.

Membership costs £5 for up to a year and keeps the site going without banners and endless affiliate traps.

The site works well because people doing research in the same small area often have information which would help others even if they are not from the same family. Making contact at village level also has advantages for the more common family names.


You can pay online with Stripe and Paypal. Both take most major credit and debit cards plus Switch and Solo.


Find a village or town.
You can search, browse by county and see nearby villages.

Searching You do not need to type the whole name in the village search box, just the first few characters will do. You can also substitute * for any characters you are not sure about. Use this to avoid hyphens, apostrophes, spelling and two word name problems. (Star* searches temporarily suspended due to abuse)

Browsing Use the browsing links on the top right of the pages. With 50,000 villages hopping around looking for an interesting read can be frustrating. To counter this, the browsing system shows only villages where people have added entries. Members can browse county>surnames as well.

See Nearby Villages Go to any village and use the "see nearby" pop ups. One generates nearby entries, the other nearby villages. This system ignores county borders and is extremely useful as families often lived in clusters of villages, and with little regard for county borders.

W*x*l > Whixall (Star* searches temporarily suspended due to abuse)
Prat > Pratt's Bottom
Bottom > Bottom End, Pratt's Bottom, Bottomley
Mark > St Mark, Markham


About Villages

Umpteen villages with the same name?
1. Go to a known nearby town or village and use the "see nearby villages" tool to locate the correct one.
2. Go to the village pages and use the map links to check the location.
3. Email us and we'll sort it out for you.

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

Right village, wrong county?
Curiousfox uses traditional counties as these are more likely to be on historic records. This can cause confusion as county borders do change. In particular places you think are part of London might be in Middlesex, Kent or Surrey. For more information see the Association of British Counties

You haven't got my village
It's usually a spelling or punctuation error - try searching with a * in place of the middle or suspect characters. If this is the reason, let us know so we can add some variations to the keywords. (Star* searches temporarily suspended due to abuse)

If we really do not have the village, email us with as much information as possible and we will add it to the database. Note: We have not added Irish villages yet but have recently added the Isle of Man.

Don't know a village name?
Go to Family Search and search for the surname. This might tell you where the family name was clustered within a county. Adding an entry on a village where the name was particularly strong could produce results.

Still don't know a village name?
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 or Wales 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.

Storing villages and email updates
Members can add a list of villages 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.


Adding Entries

To add an entry, find the village page and use "Add an Entry". Feel free to add a few interesting details rather than just names and dates. You can ask or offer information on related topics such as books, paintings, notable locals, houses and buildings. Reasonable commercial use is allowed. See about Villages

You are not allowed to show email addresses, web site addresses or any information that circumvents the messaging system (paid members can submit an url). You are not allowed to use entries to chat. This site is a self supporting facility and exists without banners or affiliate links so please don't abuse the system.

My family came from several villages, should I make entries on all of the village pages?
Use your discretion. Most people interested in a village will check the nearby hamlets and villages with the tools provided so putting your entry on one village may be sufficient. If the villages are not nearby then we recommend making more than one entry.

People engaged in one name studies should note that we do not allow the addition of entries to multiple villages. Entries should be limited to about three per county and ten in total. Anything over and above this limit dominates search results and spoils the site for other users. There are circumstances in which we will allow more entries, for example if a family had several branches in different areas of the country, but this will need to be approved on a case by case basis.

Several members of my family came from the same village
Please use your discretion and don't add individual entries for each family member. This is not a hard and fast rule as you may have specific questions to ask about somebody or you can add interesting details but we will combine entries if we think this helps to keep a page interesting and fast for users.


Sending a Message
Each entry has a red or green mailbox beside it. Members can click the mailbox, type a message and it is forwarded to the person who made the entry.

Free members can send messages to paid members' green mailboxes but not to free members' red mailboxes. Paid members can send messages to all mailboxes.

No email addresses appear on the site and all initial contacts are made via the messaging system. This protects users from spam and the membership system finances the site without banners and endless affiliate traps.

If you are a free member and want to send a message to a red mailbox, you need to upgrade.

This does lead to the occasional frustration when you are a free member and can help somebody who has only added a free entry. We suggest you add a free entry saying you have information on such and such and hope the other person spots it and upgrades to get in touch with you. You are not allowed to chat via the entries.

If you have added a free "I can help" entry and it's going to a real breakthrough for the other person, send us an email and we might tell the other person there is an entry that will be of interest to them. We only do this on rare occasions as otherwise it looks as though we are pressuring people to join.


About Maps

Old Maps doesn't work
The Old Maps server is often down or slow but the maps are so good that it is worth persevering. Please try another time.

The village name is not shown on the maps
Some of the settlements are too small or too arcane to appear on modern maps. Lots of hamlet names have fallen into disuse but may be referred to on old documents or informal sources so we have included whatever we can find even if it doesn't appear on maps.


Objections to the red box green box system.

There are lots of free sites where you can add your surnames, dates and email address, and enjoy the consequential spam. This site offers a lot more.

This is not big business. The membership system covers the costs and avoids banners and endless affiliate traps.

It can be frustrating when people asking for help have added only a free entry. However look at it from their point of view. They have no idea if the site will work or if their enquiry will have to sit there for years before they get a response. If they were forced to pay before they could add an entry, many would not bother and an exciting resource would not be growing. The most important thing is not the paying but the adding of entries so that shared interests can be discovered.

In our first year the site has helped many people make real breakthroughs.


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