LIBRARIANS have been busier than ever after offering free microfiche access to the 1901 Buckinghamshire census at Wycombe Library.

Local historians and family researchers have been enjoying free access to the census at Wycombe reference library, in Queen Victoria Road, High Wycombe, since January 1.

A government run website on the recently released 1901 census crashed just 24 hours after going on-line when more than 30 million people logged on compared with the expected 1 million and now Wycombe Reference Library has never been busier.

Chris Featherstone, principal library assistant said: "I'm not surprised that we have been so busy. For many who have been thinking about doing their family tree it gives them an incentive. And it's easier to start searching when it's within a living ancestor's memory. We are booked up most days for the microfiche so it's best to book a few days early."

She compared the surge of interest in the census to when Commonwealth War Graves Commission information went public three years ago. The library is hoping to update its family research resources soon.

"We want to install the General Register Office Index which has every civil register from 1837 onwards," she said. "It's all down to money though. It will cost about £10,000 so depends on whether we get the money from the library service."

To book the micro-fiche call 01494 510241 or drop into the library on Queen Victoria Road, High Wycombe.

Anyone with an interesting tale to tell after exploring their family tree can call Michelle Fleming on 01494 755151 or e-mail her by clicking the by-line above.