Useful General Resources

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Introduction

This page exists to draw attention to a few sites and other resources that are of general interest and may not be known to you. I list them in no particular order at present, but will categorise them if they become too unwieldy.

These are not @favourite links". Many of them I haven't had time to try yet, but I have been advised of them by various people and publications and pass them on in the hope you may find at least one of them useful.

If you think there are others which should be added to this selection, or if you find any of the links no longer work, please get in touch.

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UK university students' email addresses

There is a large community in this country whose email addresses you will probably not find when you search using any of the big engines. These are all our university students.

These days all students have access to computers and many, if not most of them, have their own email addresses when they are at university. If you are just searching for people with a particular surname you might locate some by searching each university's addresses. To make life easier for people doing just that, or even just getting the address of a particular student, a web page has been set up giving most university email search pages, and in some cases a straight search facility.

I haven't tried it yet. The above is taken direct from an email I received from the author's mother.

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Australian telephone numbers

The Australian White Pages are available for searching on-line.

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Biographies

Biographies of over 15000 people are on-line at this site.

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The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles

The whole of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles on line. Interesting to read if you've got the time.

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UK postal codes

Royal Mail have put their complete postal code directory on-line for searching. Enter and address to get the corresponding postal code, or enter the postal code to be given the address. Limited to 50 successful searches in 24 hours. Insists on setting cookies (that's how it imposes the limit). If you really need to get a 51st code within the time limit, it is of course possible to edit your cookie file if you know what you're doing, but it's unlikely to be worth the effort.

All UK postal codes are (were?) available for searching on this site. I haven't tried it yet, so I don't know how easy it is to use.

Another post code site was made available "on a temporary basis" earlier in 1997, but I don't know if it is still available.

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Maps & other geography

UK maps

There is a very useful web site for online UK maps (and London street map). Just type in the place name to be searched and the map is drawn on the screen giving 5 miles radius around the named place. The map can also be printed.

This alternative site is said to be less detailed but easier to access.

This is another possibility.

Street maps are also available. If you are not sure of the spelling of a town, you need only enter partial names and the site will come up with a list of similar towns.


USA maps

This site helps you find a location of geographical features in the United States (e.g. city/town/county/state/mountain/river/cemetery etc.). It has a searchable data base, and also prints maps (zoomed and not zoomed).


General maps

Another map site lets you zoom in and out from the level of the country down five levels to the street level anywhere in the USA or the UK. It may work for other countries as well, but my informant had not tried that.

You can get a current map organised with your home/target in the centre of the map.


UK town descriptions plus bulletin boards

The Knowhere Board & Guide gives a description of many UK towns. The description is written by locals (a bit crude sometimes, heavy on the pub, club & skateboarding scene) plus a bulletin board for people who are interested in making contact with locals or ex pats.

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Voices from the past

National Sound Archive (a branch of the British Library), on Exhibition Road, London holds archives of many well-known and less known people speaking. Great way to hear dialects and famous speeches.

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General conversion of units

This site has a link to download a general conversion program, which converts virtually anything to anything. As far as I'm aware its free-ware, virus free, easy to use and accurate.

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Money

Currency conversions

There are at least three different currency converter sites available for on-line use, updated daily.


Making foreign payments

Even if you know what the exchange rate is between your currency and that of a foreign supplier, it is not always easy to arrange the payment without incurring excessive bank charges. Credit cards are one answer, but when that is not possible there are at least two reasonable alternatives:
  1. RUESCH International Monetary Services, Inc., are recommended by many people as providing the cheapest and most convenient way of sending small payments abroad from USA and UK. In USA they have offices in Washington, D.C. New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. Phone 1-800-424-2923 and tell them what currency and how much of it you want and they will inform you of the cost. The conversion fee is three dollars. You then mail them a cheque for the dollar amount and they will send you their cheque in whatever currency you have requested in return.

    Their UK address is: RUESCH International, 18 Saville Row, London W1X 2AD (tel: 0800 424292). You must send them the money as a UK cheque or postal order. They will not accept credit card payments. Conversion fee (6th January 2000, when I used them) was 5.00 pounds per currency issued by them. They will supply you with a cheque drawn on a bank in the following currencies among others: US, Aus, NZ dollars, S African Rand. (Information originally from Family Tree Magazine, May 1994, updated August 1997 by John Addis-Smith of Thurleigh, Bedford, England.)

  2. Fay Kimble informed the WESSEX-PLUS mailing list about the MoneyGram service, which allows you to send and receive money worldwide in local currency in approximately 10 mins!

    They operate a 0800 freephone number from Colorado USA. The information line is available 24hrs. They will tell you the up to date fee structure (current rates detailed below) and they can indicate where in any particular town the transaction can be conducted. While it is rather expensive for small amounts, if you want to make a larger payment, you may find it a suitable medium to use. The freephone number is 0800 897 198, and is available from most countries which use the 0800 code for their freephone service.

    The way it works is you fill in a form, taking with you some form of identification, e.g. a driving licence, pay over the money you wish to send plus the fee. You are given a reference number which you in turn quote to the recipient. They in turn go to a receiving office, could be a bank, post office, travel agent with the same reference number and their indentification, and are handed the money in local currency.

    Examples of countries where this service is available: UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Cyprus, Channel Islands, Switzerland, Phillipines, Iceland, UAE, Kuwait.


The changing value of money

An article in the September 1997 issue of Family History Monthly mentions a useful utility for those of us with PC computers. It is called "Value of the" and is produced by Drake Software.

The article says "Value of the will convert a sum of money to an equivalent sum at any point during the period 1600-1996. As a bonus it charts the Composite Commodity Price Index to match the period which can then be printed out."

Drake Software have an e-mail address for enquiries and a web site.

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Copyright explained

Rolland Everitt has a brief and easy-to-understand article on copyright by Brad Templeton, as it applies to print and other media, on his web page.

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Injury treatment

How to treat common injuries is based on a TV programme from the BBC.

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UK university research libraries

COPAC is an Online Public Access Catalogue, providing unified access to the online catalogues of some of the largest university research libraries in the UK and Ireland. Hosted at Manchester Computing, University of Manchester, COPAC is based on the database of the Consortium of University Research Libraries.

The COPAC database reportedly contains about 3.5 million records. These represent the merged online library catalogs of:

The records from another twelve university library catalogues are expected to be added in future months.

These libraries provide general coverage of a very wide range of subject areas. They have many specialist collections and particular strengths, such as foreign language materials, which make COPAC a very valuable resource for the researcher. Most COPAC records are for books, but there are records, videos and periodicals listed as well.

There are two ways to access COPAC: the World Wide Web interface is easier to use, although a bit slow. An experienced searcher will probably prefer to use the Telnet interface; log in with a username of copac and a password of copac.

For further information contact: the COPAC Helpdesk.

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Out of print books

A good search site for out of print books is the British Library page.

Bibliofind is also highly recommended by users.

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People finder

This site is said to be great for finding people. I haven't tried it yet.

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More to come as I get the information and time to put it in.


Browser compatibility statement

I believe web pages should be accessible to all browsers, rather than surfers being browbeaten into switching to some particular browser to see a page. (How many people would be happy if popular TV programmes could only be watched with the latest model of one particular make of TV set?). I am currently going through this site trying to achieve this as far as possible, but I do not have any means of testing it with all the dozens of browsers out there. When I think I have managed it with a page I'll include this paragraph at the end and a suitable logo at the top. If you have trouble viewing any page on this site, especially a page including this paragraph, please let me know (
see my contact page), and tell me what browser (name and version) and what operating system you are using, so I can try to do something about it. Thanks.


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This page last updated 29th April 2001