Thursday, 31 July 2014

CuriousFox: a gazetteer and message system

Logo on
CuriousFox is a gazetteer and message system that connects genealogists and local historians. Collaboration between these two groups is immensely beneficial.

In CuriousFox, every town and village in the United Kingdom and Ireland has its own page. There is also a USA version, which I have not personally used.

Things I like about CuriousFox include:
  • Exact map locations and historic maps.
  • Free to join, add entries, and search by village or surname.
  • With surname searches, finding relevant entries is easier because you can work at town / village level.
  • You can search for 'nearby' entries.
  • It is easy to edit or delete your entries.
  • Google searches will find your entries (so 'new relatives' can contact you).
  • No spam (your email address is not visible).
  • Privacy (the system sends messages between members, and you decide whether to give a particular member your address).
  • Advantages of being a paying member (about five pounds per year) include:
    • Contact and be contacted by all other members (free or paying).
    • Receive email alerts when people add entries for towns of interest to you.
    • Publicise your Web page or blog.

Entry screen for my ASHTON message
  • Give some thought to the wording of your entries. They should be concise, with surnames (and only surnames) in capital letters. Specify dates, and use appropriate punctuation.

  • For large towns with many entries and multiple pages, delete your entry every year and immediately resubmit it (updated if necessary) so that it reappears near the top of the list for that town. I did this recently, and within 24 hours a local historian contacted me and offered to send transcriptions of land records for that surname/town!

I hope you will try Curious Fox and share your success stories in a comment here. You might also like:


  1. Well, that's annoying! I had scheduled this to be posted on the 31st because I knew I'd be without Internet access for part of that day - but it somehow reverted to 'draft' and didn't get published.

    1. I wonder if that is because my blogger is set in the UK and we are on BST rather than GMT. I can not understand why it reverted to draft, but, I have had a similar experience a few months ago...

    2. Julie, I've also had scheduled posts in my own blogs revert to draft, so in future I won't trust 'scheduling'. Most unfortunate, as it would be useful when I'm travelling or busy with other aspects of life.

  2. I used to use this quite a lot, but haven't visited in some time..thanks for the reminder.

    1. Chris, it is definitely worthwhile deleting and re-posting your messages. I've had great success with that.

  3. Thank you for drawing attention to the site and for the tips on using it - I must take a look.

    1. Let us know if you have any exciting successes. I'd be interested to hear what the USA site is like, as I haven't had any cause to use that.

    2. Hi, Judy - I have explored the site and ti was good to see that even small hamlets and villages (in Lancashire, England) showed up in the search results. The only entries relating to my family names was from a contact who I have already been in touch with. However I am submitting entries - and you never know I might hear from someone. .

    3. Good luck! I've contacted several new relatives via CuriousFox, but the greatest response has been from local history enthusiasts who offered to send information for my surnames in that area. I find the 'alerts' feature useful, because when I'm busy I don't log in very often.

  4. It has been a long time since I have used Curious Fox, thanks for the reminder.

    1. Good luck Diane. I have had great success with the message system at CuriousFox. I also use their maps whenever my research turns up a new place name.


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