Links to indispensable web sites, some that will cost but many that are for free
Commonwealth War Graves
The National Archives
The Guild of One Name Studies
Federation of Family History Societies
Society of Genealogists
1901 Census online
Parish Finder - UK Parish Database
Catalogues of archives held throughout England
A Vision Of Britain
United Kingdom Census
A census has been taken every ten years since 1801 (apart from 1941) but generally names were only recorded from 1841 on.
Censuses for 1841 to 1911 available online now.
FreeCEN Free site with transcriptions from volunteers
Ancestry Ancestry site
Findmypast FindMyPast site
The Genealogist The Genealogist site
Family search This is the LDS site with a free fully searchable transcription of the UK 1881 census
Genes Reunited Genes Reunited site
Scotland's People Scotlands People site
Census Fact Sheet
Census availability by county
National Archives Research Guide
England & Wales Births, Marriages and Deaths Registration
Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths - BMD - started in July 1837 in England and Wales.
The indexes are available on line but you have to pay to obtain a paper certificate.
FreeBMD Free site with transcriptions of BMD indexes for England and Wales
GRO Certificate Ordering official website for ordering certifs once you have found the person in the index. Avoid other sites that offer to get certificates for a lot more money for little extra.
England & Wales BMD Overview
The details recorded for marriages were the same in the parish registers as on the wedding certificate
so for example if you're looking for a marriage in London during the 1800s or early 1900s its worth looking
at Ancestry because they've put the parish registers from LMA (the London Metropolitan Archives)
on line so if your relatives got married in a church you can see all the details there and you won't need
to buy a copy of their wedding certificate from the GRO.
Old newspapers are a very good source for tracking down information about your ancestors.
It helps if they are famous, did something notable or the opposite, fell foul of the justice system or got
involved in bankruptcy but its surprising what turns up.
The London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazette - complete archive from 1752, including Honours and Awards,
bankruptcies, and complete coverage of the World Wars. Free.
British Newspapers 1800-1900 - over two million pages of 19th and early
20th century newspapers from 49 British national and regional titles.
Subscription service but available for free in many UK public libraries and many offer access from home for members,
see below for details.
The Times Digital Archive 1785-1985 - complete searchable archive.
Subscription based service but again available for free in many UK public libraries and many offer access
from home for members.
Guardian and Observer Digital Archive - the archive will eventually contain the
digital reproduction of every page, article and advert published in the Guardian (since 1821) and the Observer (since 1791).
Currently covers up to 1990 for boith newspapers with work in progress to extend this to 2003. Searching is free but you need
to pay to view in full (although free access to the Guardian and Observer Digital Archive is offered by some libraries,
Google News Archive - free searchable newpaper archive,
strong on Australia and US
National Library of Australia - Australian newspapers from 1831
(not complete, work in progress), also free.
British Newspaper Archive - launched in December 2011, a collaboration
between the British Library and Brightsolid (owners of Findmypast and Genes Reunited) to digitize the roughly
40 million pages in the British Library collection. You can search for free and see a snippet of text when a match is
found but it's chargeable to see the full article or newspaper page. In some case the snippet will give you all you
want although you may still need to view the image of the newspaper article where the quality of the text using
automatic OCR (optical character reading) techniques is not up to producing an accuarate transcription.
Many libraries allow you to access from home the British Newspapers 1800-1900 and/or the Times Archive websites - all you
need is a library card although to get this you do need to live or work within the local library area.
Areas that do this include:
• Bath and North East Somerset
• Bracknell Forest
• Cheshire East
• Cheshire West and Chester
• East Sussex
• Newcastle upon Tyne
• South Gloucestershire
• Telford and Wrekin
• Vale of Glamorgan (Bro Morgannwg)
• West Sussex
Note that anyone resident in the UK can join Lancashire Libraries or Manchester Libraries,
see their web sites for more details.
Online access via libraries to the Guardian/Observer newspaper archive is less common but it is provided by the following libraries:
• South Gloucestershire
Note that you can join Cambridgeshire Library via an
online form if you live, work or study in Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Peterborough, Bedfordshire,
Lincolnshire or Northamptonshire as well as in Cambridgeshire.
Also anyone resident in the UK can join
see their web site for more details.
Directories, Trade Directories, Phone Books
Free searchable English local and trade directories
Locating London's Past - lets you to search a wide body of digital resources
relating to early modern and eighteenth-century London, and to map the results on a 1746 map.
Charles Booth online archive
British surname distribution
Surnames frequency lookup
Palaeography guide from the National Archives website
Latin tutorial from the National Archives website
New South Wales shipping Lists
- online scans of the passenger lists from arriving ships 1828 to 1896
The War Graves Photographic Project - The aim of The War Graves Photographic
Project was to photograph every war grave, individual memorial,
covering all nationalities and military conflicts and make these available within a searchable database.
The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913