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.

Contact details:

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:

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.

Contact details:

  • The General Register Office
  • Oxford House
  • 49-55 Chichester Street
  • Belfast
  • 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.

Contact details:

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.

Library

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:

  • Bibliographies
  • Genealogy guides
  • Parish registers
  • Wills
  • Poll books
  • Electoral registers

Visit the national libraries websites for further information about the sources they hold regarding genealogy:

National Archives

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.

Contact details:

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.

Contact details:

  • The National Archives of Scotland
  • H M General Register House
  • 2 Princes Street
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 3YY
  • Telephone: 0131 535 1314
  • Email: mailto:enquiries@nas.gov.uk
  • 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.

Contact details:

  • Public Records Office of Northern Ireland
  • 66 Balmoral Avenue
  • Belfast
  • BT9 6NY
  • Website: www.proni.gov.uk

Search Engines

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:

Software

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.