English Family History Resources

Find your English ancestors, local history and details of their lives with these links to online family history and genealogy resources.


Barnardo’s Family History Service
If you were looked after by or adopted through Barnardo’s, fill in the Making Connections Enquiry Form. The service is free.
Barnado’s has a paid family history research service that costs £25 to find out if someone was a Barnado’s child. If a deceased relative or loved one was at Barnado’s, a further service can be purchased to reveal the full history of the child. There is also an option to purchase a photo of the child and the home where he/she lived. They have an archive of over 500,000 images.


The National Archives
The National Archives is the UK government’s official archive, containing over 1,000 years of history. They give detailed guidance to government departments and the public sector on information management and advise others about the care of historical archives.

Births, Marriages, Deaths and Parish Records

Free BMD
An ongoing project, the aim of which is to transcribe the Civil Registration index of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales, and to provide free Internet access to the transcribed records.
Free REG
Provides free parish registers for the UK and provides information on births, marriages, and deaths.


Census Records

1939 Register
Provides valuable information about 41 million people living in England and Wales at the start of World War Two.
The 1939 Register is a fantastic resource for family history and social history research as it is the only surviving record of the population between 1921 and 1951. This is because the 1931 census was destroyed and one was not taken in 1941.
FreeCEN is a UK online database project which transcribes the UK census and puts it on the internet. Access is free but they don’t have complete the complete census online yet.
UK Census 1841-1911

Criminals and Convicts

Criminal Ancestor Records

Electoral Registers

Electoral Registers 1832-1932


RootsChat England
RootsChat.com is an easy to use messaging forum for everyone researching their family history roots or local history. The focus is on Ireland and the British Isles. Local Historians and Family Historians have a great deal of knowledge to share. This service is entirely free, with the hope that you, the historian and genealogy community as a whole will benefit from it. Find your roots!

Historical Directories

Local History

GENUKI England
GENUKI is an online directory and library of genealogy and family history resources and information for the UK and Ireland.


Old Maps Online
The broadest single collection of historical maps from around the world. It’s free to use and view the maps and the creators describe the project ‘like Google for old maps’.

Medical and Hospital Records

Military Records

British Military Records
Great War Forum
The Great War Forum is a very active place to discuss and find help about your military ancestors and their war experiences.
Naval & Military Archive
By using the ten important databases on this website it is now possible to find information on most of those from Britain who died in military service in both World Wars. Additionally, over 400,000 particulars including much biographical information of those who served is now available to view in the form of the National Roll of the Great War, De Ruvigny’s Roll Of Honour, Men of The Battle of Waterloo 1815, Boer War Casualties 1899-1902, Distinguished Conduct Medal Citations, Ireland’s Memorial Records, Naval Casualties 1914-1919 and British Prisoners of War (German Camps). In total over 1.25 million records can now be viewed on a pay per view or a subscription basis on this unique site.


Legacy UK Obituaries
The place to find and share news of a death in the UK.


Victorian Occupations
Victorian Occupations is an alphabetical list of the occupations or job descriptions of the people living in London in the 1890’s.

Photos and Postcards

Britain From Above
View historic aerial photos of Britain from 1919 – 1953. There are over 16,000 images to view which are searchable by place name or map.
Images of England
Images of England has over 300,000 images of England’s built heritage from lamp posts to lavatories, phone boxes to toll booths, mile stones to gravestones, as well as thousands of bridges, historic houses and churches.

School Records

School Admission Registers 1870-1914

Societies and Groups

Surname Research

British Surnames
Research the origins and distribution of your surname.
Guild of One-Name Studies
The biggest organisation for surname research. There are thousands of surname studies available and the guild aims to bring together researchers who are interested in researching the same names.
How Common Is Your Surname?
The how common (or rare) is your surname site uses the ONS (Office of National Statistics) database to bring you a ranking system of surnames for England and Wales. There are over a million surnames shared by 55.9 million people. If fewer than 5 people share the name, it’s not included in the database.

War Memorials

Wills and Probate

National Archives Wills
The National Archives Wills database gives you access to the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) wills in series PROB 11 made between 1384 and 12 January 1858. These PCC wills are all registered copy wills. They are the copies of the original probates written into volumes by clerks at the church courts.
You can search the records for free and then pay to download a copy of the will in PDF format.