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England & Wales:


Scotlands People - Excellent site – pay per view access to civil and parish records along with censuses and wills. The sheer amount of information held on Scottish BMD records makes it worth every penny.



Census of Ireland 1901 and 1911 - Brilliant and FREE coverage of the whole of Ireland in 1901 and 1911

National Archives of Ireland this huge website includes a section of sources for family and local history

Irish Genealogy - This FREE site gives you access to nearly 3 million pre 1900 church records (and is being updated all the time)


Links added up to here ... I'll continue very soon! - following the transfer to a new host, ALL the links on this page were missing, I am working my way through updating them whenever I can


26 feb 2022

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some useful websites for your family history research

None of you will need any introduction to the big family history sites - Ancestry, Find My Past, The Genealogist, etc., but you might find some useful information to help you in your own family history research from the following websites (many of which are FREE!)

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FREE search sites from freeUKGEN:

  • FreeBMD - use this to search the GRO birth, marriage and death index from 1837 to the 20th century and currently contains more than 200 million records

  • freeCEN - the free online searchable database covering the 1841 – 1891 censuses of England and Wales

  • freeREG - the database currently contains over 3 million marriages, 9 million baptisms and 6 million burials – the data is transcribed by volunteers and you can make a big contribution by volunteering to undertake some transcriptions.  Some counties have better coverage than others



  • The National Archives - Check out the Discovery catalogue for anyone you are searching for – their online documents are particularly good value

  • The British Library - An endless source of information – including the new online British Newspaper Archive.  If you are visiting London, check out the library catalogue before you arrive for any out of print publications you want to see

  • British History online - You can discover lots of information about almost every aspect of your genealogy research, and if you register with the site there is even more detail available.  Well worth joining!

  • History of Parliament - a mine of information

  • Hearth Tax online is now at Hearth Tax Digital - On line transcriptions of Hearth Tax records for various counties (currently Durham, Kent, surrey, Westmorland, Yorks are available, Essex and London/Middx coming soon)

  • Henry III Fine Rolls Project - 'a window into English History 1216-1272'

  • Medieval English Genealogy - lots of information and resources to help when you get back beyond parish records

  • Curious Fox - This quirky site can put you in touch with people looking for ancestors on a village by village basis

  • IGI batch numbers for England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland - produced by Archer Software, it points you directly to specific parishes so you can search by batch number  

  • Society of Genealogists - a brilliant organisation to join if you are getting very interested in genealogy

  • David Rumsey Map Collection - a very useful site when you need to know more about the area where your ancestors lived

  • Vision of Britain through time - maps, statistics, historical descriptions

  • the Family Search map of England Jurisdictions 1851 - essential details!!

  • GRO Registration Service - to search for Civil Registration BMD records and order certificates


This list doesn't even begin to provide any information about old trades, local traditions, modes of transport, occupations, etc; but it is a good idea to create your own personal list of useful sources.


Regions and counties in the UK - some of the sites I have used


Kirkby Stephen website This site includes transcriptions of Kirkby Stephen parish records and various other local records including links to various surname sites


Cumbria Manorial Records Explanations of what sort of information is contained in manorial records and how to interpret them – includes a link to the Manorial Documents Register on the National Archives site.

Cumberland and Westmorland Family History and Genealogy Wills, parish records, window tax, hearth tax, census and trade directory information along with photographs of important buildings and articles of interest.  Well worth a visit.

Old Cumbria Gazetteer - excellent site providing information about just about all the farms in Ravenstonedale (and all over Cumbria!)  


Durham Records Online This pay-per-view (or subscription) site contains millions of parish records that have been transcribed by volunteers in great detail.  It is constantly being updated, and also offers a matching service which puts you in touch with anyone else that views the same record that you have paid to view so that you can share information.  It covers mainly Durham but also includes a few adjacent parishes in Northumberland and Yorkshire.

Tees Valley Indexes This initiative by the Registrars of the relevant Councils allows you to search for birth, marriage or death entries and order a certificate.

North East Inheritance database This site contains pre 1858 Durham probate records – and eventually the images of the wills included on this site will be viewable on the family search website.


Cause Papers in the Diocesan courts of the Archbishopric of York 1300-1858

Searchable database of historical documents held at the Borthwick Institute

Sedbergh Parish Registers A copy of the printed transcript of the parish records from


The Lancashire online parish clerk One of the best of the On-line Parish Clerk sites – if your ancestors live in one the parishes that has been transcribed in detail your research will progress very quickly!


Oxfordshire family history society transcribed wills If you have ancestors in Oxfordshire this site is worth checking out.


Essex Ancestors In my view, the very best county Records Office website.  They have almost all of their parish records loaded up on the site in image format, along with wills, and various other records.  You need to subscribe to access the images, but you can choose a range of periods to allow you to search for your ancestors.


London Lives 1690-1800 A fully searchable edition of 240,000 manuscripts from eight archives and 15 datasets


Cornwall Online Parish Clerks Another very useful source to parish records if you have ancestors in Cornwall.



Public Record Office Victoria  - research services for family and local history

Passenger lists, wills and probate, online indexes  and more

New South Wales Registry of BMDs Civil records from 1856 as well as early curch records from 1788

Australian Anzacs in the Great War Its major activity is the construction of a database that draws on a wide range of sources to provide details on the 330,000 men and women who served overseas in the (First) Australian Imperial Force, 1914-1918.  This site includes records of soldiers interred at Fromelles, who were identified through a DNA testing programme

Oz Gen online This site provides hundreds of links to Australian and worldwide genealogy sites

Australian cemeteries Transcribed records for all states in Australia – and very helpful people to contact if you can’t find what you are looking for.

Trove Access Australian books, images, historic newspapers, maps, music, archives and more



New Zealand historical records online Search and order copies of historical BMD certificates



Collections Canada   BMDs, census, immigration, military, land and employment records – much is free but some longer documents (e.g. service records) you can order

New Zealand



I will continue to add links to websites that I have found useful ... and I would welcome your contributions to this list too.

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