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A wealth of information for family historians can be obtained from the Internet. Simple text searches (e.g. 'Richardson Glasgow family') using search engines such as Dogpile, Yahoo, Google, etc. can sometimes unearth key nuggets of information in tracing your ancestors. The GENUKI site is a particularly useful site for getting a county by county overview of the information available on English and Welsh ancestors.

To get a complete picture of genealogical sites worldwide you are strongly recommended (if you haven't already done so) to visit Cyndi's List. This world famous site contains over 250,000 links all helpfully organised into categories within categories. If the site you need to know about is not on Cyndi's List then it more than likely doesn't exist.

The following is a list of key sources of genealogical information for England and Wales that can be accessed over the internet.

To view this site's general notes on the listed source, click the source title if coloured blue

  Births, Marriages & Deaths Partial Online Index
  • A freely accessible online index covering the period 1837 to 1901 is provided by the Free Births, Marriages and Deaths Project at Their database is not yet complete and coverage varies considerably from year to year. Check their web site for latest progress
  Catalogues - County Record Offices Individual County Record Office Web sites
  • Several county record offices provide an online catalogue to their archived records - the entry on this site for each individual county record office indicates if its web site provides an online catalogue
  National Online Catalogue for England
  • The Public Record Office operates Access to Archives (A2A) which is an online catalogue to archived records held in county record offices and other repositories throughout England - in all this online catalogue covers over 340 repositories
  National Online Catalogue for British Isles
  • The Historical Manuscripts Commission operates ARCHON which is an online catalogue to archived records held in country record offices and other repositories throughout the British Isles
  Catalogue - National Archives
  • For archived records of central government, courts of law and other national bodies consult the PROCAT online catalogue. This online catalogue, which can be free text searched, is particularly useful for enquiring on records held at the National Archives at Kew

Census Returns

1901 Census
  • The fully indexed 1901 Census can be viewed online at Both the person and address indexes can be searched at no cost. Viewing transcribed data for an individual costs 50p and then a further 50p for a list of all other occupants in that individual's household. Viewing a digital image of the census page costs 75p. The person index in addition to operating on surname, forename and age range, facilitates narrowing down a search for an individual by second and further forenames, by gender, by marital status, by occupation, by birthplace, by relationship to head of household. Payment can be made by credit card, debit card or by voucher.
  1881 Census
  • The fully indexed 1881 Census can be freely viewed online at the web site operated by the Latter-day Saints (i.e. the Mormons). This excellent free site provides name indexed access to transcripts of all household records held in the 1881 Census.
  1841, 1851, 1861, 1871 and 1891 Censuses
  • Each of these censuses can be viewed online at A month's trial subscription costs £9.95 and a year's subscription costs £69.95.
  Emigration Records Emigration to Australia
  • A web site worth checking out is which covers the period 1788 to 1968 and contains over 70,000 passenger entries
  Emigration to Canada
  • Lists of transatlantic passengers to Canada in the period 1865 to 1908 have been microfilmed by the National Archives of Canada - see their web site for a catalogue of these microfilms which can be viewed at any LDS Family History Centre
  • For the period 1925 to 1935, the National Archives of Canada maintain an online database of immigration records which can be searched by surname/forename.
  Emigration to New Zealand
  Emigration to South Africa
  Emigration to United States
  • From 1892 to 1924 more than 22 million migrants to the United States passed through Ellis Island - thanks to the efforts of the Latter-day Saints, the associated transatlantic passenger lists have been transcribed into a vast database which can be searched online to find an individual migrant
  • The US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) provides a helpful set of guides to archives held on migrants to the United States
  International Genealogical Index (IGI)
  • The complete International Genealogical Index (IGI) can be accessed online at This excellent free web site run by the Latter-day Saints provides both general guidance on tracing your ancestors and more specific advice on using the online version of the IGI.
  Manorial Records
  • The Manorial Documents Register for Wales, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Norfolk, Surrey, Middlesex and Yorkshire has been computerised for searching online
  Parish Registers
  • It is often worth checking out the online Latter-day Saints Family History Library catalogue to see whether the parish register you are interested in (or its bishops transcript equivalent) has been microfilmed by the Latter-day Saints. Simply go into the Title Search facility and search on the parish place name.
  • If it has been microfilmed you can ask your local LDS Family History Centre to book it out for subsequent viewing there.
  Trade Directories
  • The University of Leicester has set up a web site with online access to large collection of digitally imaged 18th, 19th and early 20th century trade directories
  • You can search the complete index to all million plus wills proved at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) between 1384 and 1858 at the National Archives Documents Online web site and then download images of your located will - there is no charge for searching but there is a fee for requested image downloads.
  World War Casualties
  • The Commonwealth War Graves Commission provides an online database giving details of the 1.7 million members of the Commonwealth forces who died in the First or Second World Wars
  • This online database can be searched by surname and initials
This page last updated: 24 November 2006