Finding Genealogy Sources
Access to Archives (A2A)
The Access to Archives is a database hosted by the National Archives. You can search the database for archives held throughout England, dating from the 18th century. The are held by local record offices, libraries, museums and institutions throughout England.
- The National Archives
- TW9 4DU
- Fax: (+44) (0)20 8487 9211
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.a2a.org.uk
Local Record Offices
Many large libraries and record offices have copied of the indexes to birth, marriage and death certificated. Most local record offices have microfilm copies of every census return for their county.
All closed Church of England baptism, marriage and burial registers must be deposited
at the appropriate record office and many other denominations have deposited their records with their local record office so please can you make this clear on your religious records page.
Prior to 1858 all wills were proved through the diocesan court, and so wills of
those people holding only land within one diocese can be found at the local
diocesan record office.
General Register Office
You can obtain many records for England and Wales from the General Register Office, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, adoption certificates, civil partnership certificates and death certificates. They also give details of how to register a birth or death.
Please note that it is no longer possible for customers to apply to the General Register Office (GRO) for certificates and collect them in central London. All certificates are now issued by post via the General Register Office based in Southport. You can order a certificate online via www.direct.gov.uk/gro, over the telephone or by post using the contact details below:
- Certificate Services Section
- General Register Office
- PO Box 2
- PR8 2JD
- Telephone: 0300 123 1837
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.gro.gov.uk
General Register Office for Northern Ireland
You can obtain many records of Northern Irish people from the General Register Office for Northern Ireland, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, adoption certificates, civil partnership certificates and death certificates. They also give details of how to register a birth or death.
- The General Register Office
- Oxford House
- 49-55 Chichester Street
- BT1 4HL
- Telephone: 0289 025 2000
- Website: www.groni.gov.uk
General Register Office for Scotland
You can obtain many records of Scottish people from the General Register Office for Scotland, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, adoption certificates, civil partnership certificates and death certificates. They also give details of how to register a birth or death.
- New Register House
- 3 West Register Street
- Eh1 3YT
- Telephone: 0131 334 0380
- Website: www.gro-scotland.gov.uk
Groups and Societies
There are many family history groups and societies around where you can meet like-minded people interested in learning about their ancestors.
- The Federation of Family History Societies represents over 220 family history societies based in the UK. Visit their website to find more details about groups and societies in your area: www.ffhs.org.uk
- Rootsweb is a host of many groups where you can meet researches, gain knowledge, join mailing lists and more. Visit http://lists.rootsweb.com for further details
- The Society of Genealogists is a charity that aims to promote and encourage the study of genealogy. If you become a member you gain free access to their library, which holds a large collection of parish, poll books, directories and more. Visit www.sog.org.uk for further details
- The Scottish Association of Family History Societies has a list of all the groups and societies in Scotland that relate to genealogy and family history. Visit www.safhs.org.uk for further information and details on how to contact member societies.
National libraries offer good resources for learning about family history. They usually offer a range of physical and electronic sources. The types of sources they are likely to hold are:
- Genealogy guides
- Parish registers
- Poll books
- Electoral registers
Visit the national libraries websites for further information about the sources they hold regarding genealogy:
- British Library – www.bl.uk/collections/wider/genealogyref
- National Library of Wales – www.llgc.org.uk/ht/index_s.htm
- National Library of Scotland – www.nls.uk/helpfor/familyhistory
- National Library of Ireland – www.nli.ie/family_hr.htm
The National Archives holds records for England, Wales and The UK. It has one of the largest collections of archives in the world and holds records spanning 1000 years of British history.
- The National Archives
- TW9 4DU
- Telephone: 020 8876 3444
- Website: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
National Archives of Scotland
The National Archives of Scotland provides access to many historical records of Scotland and its people. It holds a large collection of archives in many mediums regarding numerous aspects of family history.
- The National Archives of Scotland
- H M General Register House
- 2 Princes Street
- EH1 3YY
- Telephone: 0131 535 1314
- Email: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.nas.gov.uk
Public Record Office of Northern Ireland
The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland holds many records regarding a wide range of topics. Their records can be a valuable tool in aiding family history research. Records include birth, death, marriage certificates, census records, wills, church records and more.
- Public Records Office of Northern Ireland
- 66 Balmoral Avenue
- BT9 6NY
- Website: www.proni.gov.uk
Internet search engines can be a useful tool for finding specific topics on the web. Simply type in a keyword of your topic, such as ‘genealogy’ or ‘family history’, and allow the search engine to do your work for you. Many allow you to search by category. Below is a list of recommended search engines:
- Google – www.google.co.uk
- Yahoo – http://uk.yahoo.com
- Altavista – http://uk.altavista.com
- Ask – www.ask.co.uk
- Lycos – www.lycos.co.uk
There have been numerous pieces of software created to aid in family history research. Software is available to help you trace back you family line, organise sources of information and create your own family tree.
Cyndi’s List is a website that provides reviews and links to all kinds of genealogy software. Visit www.cyndislist.com/software.htm for further details.
Family Records provide a guide to genealogy software, how to use it and reviews of the different software available. Visit www.familyrecords.gov.uk/guides/software.htm for further details.