I just love doing British Isles genealogy! In part because I have some English ancestors, and because and I also enjoy the challenge of tracking down records in “foreign” countries. The best part is I get to meet genealogists from the United Kingdom.
English family history can be really fascinating, and in some cases can be traced as far back as the 11th century. This is thanks to William the Conqueror who wanted to shore up his kingdom by collecting taxes. He surveyed the land, the people and the property they owned. This survey created records of 13,418 settlements across England and became known as the Domesday Book. The content of the book is available at Open Domesday website. The book is stored at the National Archives at Kew in the London Borough of Richmond.
The National Archives is really quite incredible. You can do nearly all of your British Isles family tree research at the Kew Archives. The Archives covers more than a thousand years of history for England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, and maintains over one million records in the form of files, documents, and images. Imagine trying to sort through more than 100 miles of records! Don’t worry about that though; the staff at the Archives is dedicated to assisting you with your search. The Archives also provides search help in a variety of forms including podcasts, tutorials, and guides.
Can’t get to the National Archives for a family history search? Not so much of a problem. The Archives has in excess of 50,000 records available online, and their records are continually being digitized. They have so much information on their website that it can be confusing as where to start first. However, these two pages will put you on the right track. On their page for Catalogs and Online Records, there are links to online catalogs and to their partner websites. The Archives also has a Looking for a Person webpage that assists family historians in locating English ancestors.
Besides the archives, a couple of the best websites for obtaining information and advice on British genealogy are the GENUKI and the BritishIslesGen websites. These sites host genealogical data and also support queries. The open access website FreeCEN is awesome as their volunteers transcribe and post the UK census records for the period of 1841 -1891. The free FamilySearch site also covers some British Isles records as well.
If you need the help of professional genealogist to assist you with your British Isles research or an expert in conducting genealogy at Kew archives call Record Click at 1-866-632-9291 or contact us via email.
I am off for my morning cuppa, so cheerio!