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Help and advice for England

If you have found a problem on this page then please report it on the following form. We will then do our best to fix it. If you are wanting advice then the best place to ask is on the area's specific email lists. All the information that we have is in the web pages, so please do not ask us to supply something that is not there. We are not able to offer a research service.

If you wish to report a problem, or contribute information, then do use the following form to tell us about it.


Many sets of records were kept for England and Wales together, so that the problems of locating them and using them are very similar in the two countries. For convenience such records are described here, rather than on the British Isles pages.


N.B. GENUKI is organised on the basis of historic counties. To find which GENUKI pages cover more modern counties and county boroughs, please see: Modern and Administrative Counties and County Boroughs.


Archives and Libraries






Business and Commerce Records



  • For details of the graves of the rich and famous, together with biographical information, look at the Find-a-Grave (England) page.



  • England - Census - links and information.



Church Records


Civil Registration


Correctional Institutions


Court Records

  • There are numerous Research Guides from The National Archives dealing with the records of various "courts of law". Also look under keywords "assize courts", "chancery (court of)", "conveyance of land", "divorce", "equity courts", "exchequer", "funds in court" and more.
  • It may help in understanding the various records to read this history of the justice system

Description and Travel

  • English Heritage are responsible for the care and repair of many buildings of historic importance. The Historic England Archive  (previously the National Monuments Record) is English Heritage's public archive and is the home of around 10 million items covering England's buildings, archaeology and maritime sites. English Heritage's ambitious Images of England initiative aims to put a photograph of every listed building in England on the internet.
  • The Badger's Heritage website features many pen and ink drawings of churches, schools, pubs, hotels, bridges, locks, mills, cottages & villages in Berkshire, Hampshire, Middlesex, Oxfordshire, Surrey, West Sussex and Wiltshire.
  • Destination England from Lonely Planet.
  • There are many links on the England's Buildings webring.
  • ViewFinder - an online image resource for England's history provided by Historic England.
  • The England in Particular website from Common Ground encourages the study of our own localities.



  • There is a terrific selection of local and trade directories spanning the period from 1750 to 1919 on the Historical Directories website.
  • Sue O'Neill's searchable Trade Directory Index covers Pigot's directories of Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cornwall, Cumberland, Co Durham, Huntingdonshire, Northamptonshire, Northumberland, Oxfordshire, Westmoreland, Wiltshire and Worcestershire for 1830, and Slater's directory of Co Durham for 1854.
  • Direct Resources have provided surname indexes to several Trade Directories of around 1848.

Emigration and Immigration

  • Moving Here (archived version), 200 Years of Migration to England, is a "database of digitised photographs, maps, objects, documents and audio items from 30 local and national archives, museums and libraries which record migration experiences of the last 200 years. The project has now closed but the archived web site remains.
  • Letters to an Emigrant Minister 1841-1855 - Letters sent by John Stubbs of Kendal, Westmorland and his daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Thomas Williams, to his son, Reverend Thomas Stubbs, a Wesleyan Methodist Minister, in the United States of America.
  • There is some very useful background information in the Research Guides from The National Archives, good keywords are 'emigration', 'immigration' and 'passport'.



  • England - Genealogy - links and information.

Historical Geography

  • Jimella's British Counties, Parishes, etc. for Genealogists will be of particular value to overseas researchers who are unfamiliar with our geographic divisions and naming conventions.
  • The ENG-DESERTED-VILLAGES Mailing List. It has been estimated that there are over 50,000 villages and hamlets that no longer exist for a variety of reasons, ie the 14th C plagues to the English Clearances in the eastern Counties, from mass migrations for economical reasons to villages just falling into the sea! The purpose of the Mailing List is to try to find out exactly where these now-deserted places were located, which parish they were in and where any extant records are kept.
  • A Topographical Dictionary of England of 1831 (Google books)



  • England - History - links and information.

Land and Property

Language and Languages

Law and Legislation


  • Primary Sources: English Manorial Documents "From English Manorial Documents, Translations and Reprints from the original Sources of European History, E. P. Cheyney, tr., vol. 3, no. 5 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1907), pp. 3-32". This includes examples from several parts of the country, including Essex, Durham and Norfolk.

Medical Records

  • Public Health and Epidemics, this Research Guide from The National Archives, provides an interesting overview of 19th & 20th century attempts to safeguard the health of our ancestors.
  • Vaccination against smallpox was compulsory in England and Wales from 1853 until 1948. A Vaccination Certificate was issued to the parents of each vaccinated child as proof that the vaccination had taken place.

Merchant Marine

Migration, Internal

  • A very useful guide is: A.J. Camp: My ancestors moved in England and Wales: how can I trace where they came from?, Society of Genealogists. (See SoG Bookshop)

Military History

Names, Geographical

Names, Personal



Politics and Government

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.


  • The book: E.A. Wrigley and R.S. Schofield, (Eds.). The Population History of England, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1989, is the standard text on the historical demography of England, based on many years of work by the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure. A book which draws very usefully on this research, in order to study family and community in England after the Middle Ages and before the changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution, is: P. Laslett. The World We Have Lost: Further explored, London, Routledge, 1983, 353 p.
  • The Vision of Brtain site has a number of population graphs and charts.

Probate Records

Public Records

  • See our section on Archives for various online catalogues of public records.
  • The book: J. West. Village Records, Chichester, Phillimore, 1982, 248 p. provides detailed accounts of the types of document that are likely to be available, to someone wishing to research the history of a village and its population. The types of document covered are: Saxon Charters, The Domesday Survey, Manorial Court Rolls, Lay Subsidy Rolls, Inquisitions Post Mortem, Manorial Extents, Monumental Brasses, County Maps, Parish Records, Quarter Sessions Papers, Inventories, Wills, Hearth Tax Returns, Enclosure Awards and Maps, Land Tax and Tithe Records, Turnpike Trust Records, and Commercial Directories.


There are several Research Guides from The National Archives giving an excellent overview of the history of education in this country. Also look under keywords 'educational history' and 'schools'.

Social life and Customs

  • Fashion History Museums & Galleries: Fashion-Era.
  • Clothing of the 18th century
  • Village Games by Colonel Alex Johnson describes games which Alex remembers from his childhood in the 1920s and 30s. Although the names of the games are those used in North-East England, most of these games were played throughout the country.
  • The Children's Society – Hidden Lives – includes anonymised case files



  • There are useful Research Guides from The National Archives - see keywords 'death duties (tax)', 'taxation' and 'taxes and duties'.
  • The book: J.S.W. Gibson, M. Medlycott and D. Mills. Land and Window Tax Assessments, 1690-1950, Birmingham, FFHS, 1993, 52 p. provides a good description of how to interpret these early tax records, and where to find the records for each county.

Voting Registers

In the UK these are referred to as Electoral Registers or Electoral Rolls. In earlier times they are often known as Poll Books.

  • The site offers ... information about the electoral registers, electoral rolls, poll books from 1700 to the present day, how to access the registers online, how to make the most from your searches, what is available and not available, and much, much, more.
  • For some of the legal background, this legal volume about The Representation of the People Act, 1918 may prove useful -