UK and Ireland

The UK and Ireland are regarded, for the purposes of this Genealogical Information Service, as being made up of England, Ireland (i.e. Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland), Wales, and Scotland, together with the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. Together, these constitute the British Isles - which is a geographical term for a group of islands lying off the north-west coast of mainland Europe. (Legally, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are largely self governing, and are not part of the United Kingdom.) The Administrative Regions into which the UK and Ireland are divided have changed frequently in recent years. However, in line with normal genealogical practice, this Information Service is structured according to the counties as shown in these maps of England, Scotland and Wales, and of Ireland, i.e., as they were prior to the re-organisation that took place in 1974 (1975 for Scotland).

Archives & Libraries



  • Dictionary of National Biography Index and Epitome, ed. Sir Sidney Lee (1903), based on the 63-volume work. It's part of the Bolles London Collection in the Perseus Project, Tufts University in Massachusetts. This volume, with 30,378 biographical entries on English, Welsh, Scottish, and Irish notables up to the late 19th century, grew into today's three-volume Concise DNB, and the entire DNB is now being revised by Oxford University Press. (Users with a UK public library card can access the current DNB at http://www.oxforddnb.com/.)
  • The BBC's Memoryshare website (archived copy) is "a living archive of memories from 1900 to the present day [to which readers] can contribute, share and browse memories of life experiences and see them in the context of recent and historical events.".
  • The Methodist Archives - Index of Methodist ministers.
  • Searchable Index to Who Was Who 1897-1916,  provided by UK Genealogy Archives.

Business & Commerce Records

  • TNA provide:
  • The Association of Business Historians creates and disseminates knowledge about business history.
  • TNA hold some railway company records. (Ancestry provides subscription access to the TNA's railway employment records 1833-1958, from a number of historic railway companies.)
  • Some employers' and trade association archives are held by Warwick University's Modern Record Centre.
  • Trade directories can provide some information (including advertisements) about businesses, large and small, through the years.
  • Railway Work, Life and Death - records of railway worker accidents in Britain between 1911 and 1915 - "a joint initiative between the University of Portsmouth and the National Railway Museum (NRM)".
  • The John Lewis Memory Store: ". . . a living history of John Lewis & Partners. Through the site, people share their memories, photos, maps and information about John Lewis & Partners, past and present."



  • UK & Ireland - Census - links and information.


Church History

Church Records

Civil Registration

Correctional Institutions

  • The Complete Newgate Calendar is now online.
  • Old Bailey Online - the Proceedings of the Old Bailey, London's Central Criminal Court, 1674 to 1913: "A fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court."
  • Derek Wilcox's Black Sheep Index - "an index of Victims and Villains (and some heroes too) extracted from newspaper reports of court cases and inquests between 1865-1900" (archived copy).
  • Capital punishment in the 18th & 19th centuries - many listings and articles.
  • About Prison History - from the Open University's  International Centre for the History of Crime, Policing and Justice.
  • The Digital Panopticon - "allows you to search millions of records from around fifty datasets, relating to the lives of 90,000 convicts from the Old Bailey".

Court Records

  • The TNA has numerous Research Guides pertaining to Courts of Law.
  • Many coroners' inquests were subsequently reported in local newspapers  
  • The Court of Chivalry 1634-1640 - "The aim of the site is to make available to scholars, researchers, local historians and genealogists the records of the Court of Chivalry during its heyday between 1634 and 1640. Over this period the court dealt with well over a thousand cases of which it has been possible to recover details of 738. These cover a wide variety of topics relating to the social, political and cultural history of the period, from ship money and the Bishops' Wars to pew disputes and duelling, from heralds visitations and grants of arms to brawls in the street and quarrels at race meetings."
  • An Introduction to Quarter Sessions Records (archived copy), by Richard Ratcliffe.

Description & Travel



  • The DiCamillo Companion to British and Irish County Houses - information on present and demolished country houses throughout UK and Ireland, including history, information about owners, etc.
  • Lost Heritage  lists significant English country houses which have been demolished, severely reduced in size, or are ruin, including many in Berkshire, some with pictures.
  • British Listed Buildings Online is an online database of buildings and structures of architectural and historic interest with data for each building, some photographs, location on a map, Google Streetview and Bing Birds Eye View.   
  • The Land Registry offer historical reports of past ownership.
  • Valuation Office survey 1910 - 1915. - see Taxation.  
  • For Public Houses (pubs) - see Occupations (under Inns, Hotels and Pubs). 
Barratt, Nick. Tracing the History of Your House, PRO Publications (2006), 272pp.  .

Emigration & Immigration


  • UK & Ireland - Gazetteers - links and information.


  • UK & Ireland - Genealogy - links and information.



Historical Geography


  • UK & Ireland - History - links and information.

Jewish Records

Land & Property

  • For English and Welsh records see PRO Leaflet: Tithe Records in the National Archives. Scottish records are held at the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh.
  • The University of Nottingham provides a detailed set of explanatory pages: Introduction to Deeds.
  • Legal Terms in Land Records is a useful glossary of obscure terms which occur in property deeds.
  • Robin Alston's Country House Database (archived copy) "represents a first attempt at listing country houses in the British Isles from the late medieval period to ca. 1850, together with an index to all the families so far traced as having occupied them".
  • Estate Records held by Kings College, Cambridge.
  • Disused Railway Stations website - a large and growing set of photographs of closed stations, with brief details of each station and a map showing its location.
  • The Trace My House website provides extensive information and guidance for anyone wishing to investigate the history of a house and the people who lived in it.
  • TNA's Research Guide on Houses - "Records relating to the history of houses are kept in a variety of archives. This guide will help you to find out where the information you are looking for might be, and how to go about finding it."
  • British Listed Buildings - "an online database of buildings and structures that are listed as being of special architectural and historic interest".
  • Researching Historic Buildings in the British Isles - a guide.

Language & Languages


  • UK & Ireland - Maps - links and information.

Medical Records

Merchant Marine

Military History

Military Records

Names, Geographical

Names, Personal


  • UK & Ireland - Newspapers - links and information.


  • Darryl Lundy provides a large searchable collection of information on European Royal families and the British Peerage.
  • Debrett's Essential Guide to the Peerage.
  • The Georgian Papers Online project is a fascinating insight into the Royal Household in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and provides access to descriptions and digital images of letters, diaries, account books and household records and receipts. And via Findmypast you can search more than 386,000 employment records, which include staff at royal residences across the UK between 1526 and 1924. The database is drawn from a number of different types of document, but records usually include dates of employment, salary and career history.



Politics & Government

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Peter Higginbotham's comprehensive The Workhouse website provides a wealth of information about Workhouses, the Poor Law and related issues.catalogue
  • If you are looking for someone who was in a workhouse, it is worth checking if they also appear in the Quarter Sessions records, held in County Record Offices - see the British Library's Discovery catalogue (use Advanced Search and select "Search Other Archives"). 
  • You can search and freely download documents of a number of Poor Law Unions across England and Wales from TNA.
  • Settlement Examinations in England and Wales - a detailed explanation, from LDS Familysearch, based on an article by Anthony Camp.


Postal & Shipping Guides

Information on the Mulready envelope which was used just before the introduction of the famous "Penny Black" postage stamp. (Provided by Mulready's Family Restaurant).

Probate Records

  • Post-1858 wills: copies can be ordered from the Probate Service or from UKDocuments for a  fee.
  • Pre-1858 Wills: administrations and other probate records will be found in the Record Office holding the documents of the ecclesiastical (church) court where the will was proved.
  • For English and Welsh records see TNA Leaflet: Will and Probate Records. Scottish testamentary records are held at the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh.
  • Copies of wills proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury can be obtained for a fee from the National Archives via their Wills 1384-1858 page.
  • Official search facility for finding the will of a soldier who died while serving in the British armed forces between 1850 and 1986.
  • Tom's Wills - the index to UK wills 1931-1949.

Religion & Religious Life

Preamble to the Protestation (1641), transcribed by J.M. Joliffe.


Social Life & Customs

  • Village Games (archived copy) 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.


  • UK & Ireland - Societies - links and information.


  • A Vision of Britain Through Time from the University of Portsmouth provides a vision of Britain between 1801 and 2001, including maps, statistical trends (from 1801 to 2001 census data) and historic descriptions.


Gibson, Jeremy, Mervyn Medlycott and Dennis Mills. Land and Window Tax Assessments. Federation of Family History Societies (1998) 72pp.
Gibson, Jeremy. The Hearth Tax and other later Stuart Tax Lists and the Association Rolls.  Federation of Family History Societies (1996) 80pp. [The Hearth Tax was levied between 1662 and 1689 on each householder according to the number of hearths in their dwelling.]

Voting Registers

  • British Library holds copies of all past and present Electoral Registers for view by personal visit. Their online guide provides details of what is available, both from them and from companies offering paid-for online access. 
  • Lists of Names: Pollbooks and Electoral Registers (archived copy), by Stuart A. Raymond.
  • Electoral Registers - "information about the electoral registers, electoral rolls, poll books from 1700 to the present day, how to access the registers online, . . ."