Useful links: general family history sources
This is a list of family history sources that RTFHS members tell us they find useful. Their inclusion here doesn’t mean that the Society endorses them: they’re offered purely as suggestions. And if you have your own suggestions to share, please contact us.
UK-wide databases and indexes
FamilySearch: baptism, marriage, burial and census indexes and digitised parish registers and other records for the UK, Ireland and other countries worldwide. Free.
FreeBMD: index of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales from 1837 onwards. Free.
ScotlandsPeople: Scottish birth, marriage and death records from 1855. Census returns, 1841-1911. Digitised registers for all parishes, pre-1855. Free searches, pay to view.
FreeREG: baptisms, marriages and burials extracted from parish registers for England, Scotland and Wales. Free.
FreeCEN: extracts from census returns for England, Scotland and Wales. Free.
Deceased Online: a database of burials in UK churchyards, cemeteries and crematoria. Free searches, pay to view.
Find A Grave: a database of burials in churchyards and cemeteries in the UK and worldwide. Free.
Gravestone Photos: a database of monumental inscriptions from UK churchyards, with photos of the gravestones available free on request.
Memento Mori: a database of monumental inscriptions from Scottish churchyards and cemeteries, with free index searches plus photos of the gravestones available on payment.
Genuki: guides to the genealogical sources available for the UK and Ireland, county by county.
Cyndi’s List: checklists of the online genealogical sources available for the UK and for many other countries worldwide.
County-by-county databases and indexes
Durham Records Online: baptisms, marriages, burials and census extracts from County Durham and Northumberland parishes. Free searches, pay to view.
Hertfordshire Names Online: includes apprentice records, crime and punishment records, marriage index and newspaper indexes. Free.
Isle of Man iMuseum: includes free name indexes to censuses, baptisms, marriages and burials. Manx newspapers are also available but on a pay-to-view basis.
Lancashire Online Parish Clerk: baptisms, marriages and burials in Lancashire parishes. Free.
Oxfordshire Heritage Search: online catalogue of documents, photographs and publications relating to the parishes and people of Oxfordshire. Free.
Staffordshire Name Indexes: includes prisoner registers, gaol photograph albums, police force registers, wills, workhouse records, parish records and 18th century canal boat owners. Free.
Sources of birth, marriage and death certificates
General Register Office (GRO): official central source for ordering birth, marriage and death certificates for England and Wales from 1837 onwards. Pay by card for delivery by post.
ScotlandsPeople: Scottish birth, marriage and death indexes from 1855. Free searches, pay to view and download the original certificates.
Irish Genealogy: offers free index searches and free access to original certificates for births before 1916, marriages that happened more than 75 years ago and deaths that happened more than 50 years ago. Where appropriate, events that happened in the counties that now form Northern Ireland are included.
Archives, Record Offices and Libraries
British Newspaper Archive: indexed and digitised newspapers for England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland from 1750 to the 20th century. Free searches, pay to view.
Welsh Newspapers Online: indexed and digitised newspapers for Wales, currently from 1804 to 1919. Free.
Guide to online digitised British and Irish newspapers: a site that shows what titles are currently available and where.
Last Chance to Read: a collection of scarce British and Irish newspapers and other publications, mostly published between 1710 and 1870. Indexed and digitised. Free searches, pay to view.
Tracing First World War Family History: a step-by-step guide to researching the lives of those who served in the Armed Forces between 1914 and 1918.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission: free index of those who died in the First and Second World Wars. Includes not only the records of those who served in the Armed Forces but also civilian deaths in Britain as a result of enemy action.
Forces War Records: records for those serving in the British Armed Forces in war-time from the 18th century up to the present-day. Free searches, pay to view.
The National Archives First World War portal: launched to commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War. Provides a gateway to the many sources available for researching the history of those who served in the armed forces.
Army Ancestry: research tips for tracing your British Army ancestor.
Army Service Numbers 1881-1918: a site with a regiment-by-regiment index of the numbers issued to individual soldiers, plus useful links to other sources.
Life in the workhouse
Brushes with the law
Buckinghamshire – Aylesbury Gaol Records: includes some photos of prisoners.
Old Bailey Online: complete records of the cases tried at the Central Criminal Court – the Old Bailey – in London, 1674-1913.
What websites have helped you in your family history research?