Saturday, April 21, 2012

Genealogy Research in the UK: My Favorites

This year has been unique in all the years I've worked on my family tree since 1989. This year I have gone from looking up my early New England ancestors, to looking up their ancestors in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and also France. I do not have a World membership at, so where would I find the records I need?

Much to my delight, numerous Internet sites exist to help genealogists find their ancestors in Great Britain. Listed below are my favorites:

The National Archives - FREE -"You can search for the records you need in a number of different databases. These include records held by The National Archives, our records digitised on our partners' websites, and records held in other archives. Searching is free, but there may be a charge to download documents."

A Vision of Britain Through Time - FREE - excellent for checking place names. Yes, Linkinhorne is a genuine parish in Cornwall, as unlikely sounding as it is; and no, there is not a Sanford in Essex, but definitely there is a Sampford, as awkward as that looks to American eyes; just choose between Little Sampford and Great Sampford. This site is a treasure, and includes the British census from 1801 to 1961; statistical Atlas; descriptions of old England and Wales; tutorials.

British History Online - FREE -  ("Premium" content is thirty pounds subscription fee) Do not be put off if some searches "time out". This site is worth a little persistence. Wills; histories; maps; gazetteers; chronology of senior clerics; lists of London's Sheriffs; journals of Parliament (debates and records); more and more: a lot of everything!

Parishmouse - FREE -  transcriptions of historical books and parish registers for England and Wales and a large collection of photos and illustrations from old books.

GENUKI - FREE - UK and Ireland Genealogy (includes Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man and Channel Islands) '"GENUKI provides a virtual reference library of genealogical information of particular relevance to the UK and Ireland. It is a non-commercial service, maintained by a charitable trust and a group of volunteers." Somewhat analogous to USGENWEB.

The History of Parliament Online - FREE - a team of professional historians presenting the history of Parliament, biography of members and more. A work in progress. Not all years of Parliament are covered yet for biographies, but worth checking and fascinating reading on the parliaments and bills.

Medieval Lands - FREE - "This Index lists the full contents of each document in the second edition of Charles Cawley's Medieval Lands, the encyclopaedia of territories in the medieval western world and the royal and noble families which ruled them." Much of this is in Latin, but there are translators on the web, and this work in progress is incredible in its breadth and depth of lineages of nobility in Europe and elsewhere. Read the Introduction for an explanation of the work, purpose and methodology.

Some Notes on Medieval English Genealogy - FREE - Whenever I find notes on Medieval English Genealogy which shed light on a rather difficult and obscure subject, I am grateful.

The Magna Charta Barons at Runnymede Home Page - FREE - Do you have an ancestor who in 1215 witnessed King John sign Magna Carta? Well, I didn't think so either, and so far I have discovered four of them!

 ManyRoads - FREE - which has information on ancestors in Northern France, East and West Prussia, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden and more.

Castles and Sieges - FREE - Scottish history from a Scots point of view.

Welsh Biography Online - FREE - "The Welsh Biography Online presents the lives of eminent Welsh people who have made a significant contribution to Welsh life."

Family Deeds - FREE - search names index or by county; excellent LINKS page.

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