Sources - Where?

The Irish records are very difficult to find as many were destroyed during the 'Troubles'.  However, the English and Scottish records are excellent and well worth the subscription to "Ancestry.com" to be able to freely search them and access copies at a reasonable cost.  First of all, there are lots of excellent free resources used by genealogists - here is a small selection:

  • www.freebmd.org.uk for some birth, marriage and death indexes for England and Wales..
  • www.familysearch.org for the vast international genealogy website run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • www.rootsweb.com for genealogy chat and all kinds of relevant information.


None of these is guaranteed to hold all the records that you want or to be totally reliable. So, to start from the very beginning, which sites do you absolutely need in order to build your family tree, and how can you tell where to put your money?
Here are some examples of pay-for sites for basic genealogy:

  • www.genesreunited.co.uk - contains (among much else) birth, marriage and death indexes and census returns for England and Wales
  • www.familyrelatives.com - contains (among much else) birth, marriage and death indexes and census returns for England and Wales
  • www.ancestry.co.uk - contains (among much else) birth, marriage and death indexes and census returns for Scotland, England and Wales
  • www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk - contains (among much else) birth, marriage and death indexes for Scotland and digitised images of many of the certificates and census returns for Scotland.
  • www.findmypast.co.uk - contains (among much else) birth, marriage and death indexes and census returns for England and Wales.


Often there is a free trial period for subscription sites so you can decide if it really is for you.
Often when you look at a record on a subscription site, you can return to it for free for a period of time - but make sure you get a print out of the searches you have done, along with the results.
Here are some examples of pay-for sites used by genealogists researching specialist information:

  • http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline - this contains wills, the World War I Campaign Medal index, several collections of naval records and much more.
  • http://www.originsnetwork.com - this contains numerous specialised records relating to British genealogy, including wills, apprenticeship records, military records and marriage indexes.
  • http://archive.timesonline.co.uk - the Times Digital Archive, which can be searched from 1785-1985, is a great place to find ancestors who were sufficiently well-to-do, famous or notorious to get themselves a mention.

And remember that there are some great specialist sites that are available for free. One of the most popular among genealogists is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, where you can find details of servicemen and women who died during the two World Wars: http://www.cwgc.org


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