Top 5 Free English Genealogy Websites
I was asked the other day what my top five free genealogy websites for English family history were and after some thought I came up with the following.
This site is a gift for Family History it is hard to know how we would have all got to where we are without using FamilySearch. The LDS Church has as one of it’s beliefs that their members should trace their genealogy so over many years they have been filming and indexing genealogical records all round the world. A look at the catalogue will show just how vast their holdings are and these are all available to any researcher regardless of whether you are a member of the LDS Church or not. The search engine is easy to use and they have lots of other add-ons such as Wiki’s. A site well worth spending time getting to know thoroughly. Just bear in mind that the online results are an index only, there may be more on the original document. All results should be checked with the original which can be ordered for a small fee and viewed at one of the many Family History Centre’s.
This site shows what can be achieved by volunteers. I can recall when it was first mooted that the Birth, Marriage and Death indexes should be transcribed and place online. It seemed such a vast job that it was hard to imagine how it would be done, however the project is well on the way to completion. If you don’t have access to subscription sites such as Ancestry and Find My Past then FreeBMD is the best way to access the civil registration birth, marriage and death indexes. Easy to use interface and a good help page if you get stuck.
I recently wrote a full description about this site so click here to read about it. http://www.madaboutgenealogy.com/online-parish-clerk/
I use this site mainly for the Victoria County Histories and as with the OPC’s above I recently wrote at length about them. Click here to access that post. http://www.madaboutgenealogy.com/victoria-county-histories/
However there is much more to the site and it is well worth typing in a family name or a village or town to see what is on offer. I think this site deserves an in-depth post so will put it on my list ! In the meantime go and see what you can discover yourself.
The National Archives, often referred to as the TNA, is the repository for the government generated records starting with the Domesday Book. The Discovery search engine is a new addition to the site and takes the place of the old catalogue that we all have got so used to. Once you get used to the basic and advanced search options it is a breeze to use. Working down the list you will see a description of the documents that usually is enough to identify if it is of interest to your research. Documents that have been scanned can be purchased and delivered online or if not then a quote for a copy of the document can be requested. All very smooth and easy. Of course if you can visit the TNA at Kew then these documents can be viewed free of charge. The National Archives are placing more documents online all the time so this is a resource that becomes more useful to the genealogist as time goes on.
All these sites are useful for the beginner as well as the more experienced family historian. If you have any favourites I would be pleased to hear from you using the comments option, perhaps soon I will be able to write about the top 10 sites !
Online Parish Clerk
British History Online
National Archives Discovery