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

  • Census 1841-1921
    Search the census records from 1841-1921, plus the 1939 Register all at once. 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
    Has a good, but not complete, selection of free records to search and view.

Criminals and Convicts

Electoral Registers


  • 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!

Local History

  • GENUKI England
    GENUKI is an online directory and library of genealogy and family history resources and information for the UK and Ireland.
  • Survey of English Place-Names
    A county-by-county guide to the linguistic origins of England’s place-names – a project of the English Place-Name Society, which was founded in 1923.


  • 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’.

Military Records

  • British Military Records
  • Great War ForumThe 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.



  • 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

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.
  • Names Encyclopedia
    Everyone has a name, but most people have a vague idea what their name means. This site is for those who want to discover name meanings, origins, distribution across the globe, genealogy tracking, anagrams, misspells, common name combinations and many other name-related things.

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.