City of London
"The metropolis of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland . . . extends from Woolwich and Bow to Fulham and Hammersmith, and from Highgate to Norwood, including the cities of London and Westminster, with their liberties, and the towns, parishes, &c. &c. which cover this vast area. The streets of the city, with the exception of the great thoroughfares, are for the most part narrow and irregular; but the main lines of traffic and communication are wide and noble, as are the more recently built parts of this enormous city. . . The public edifices are innumerable, and for magnificence may vie with those of any city in the world. . . The prodigious docks, with their immense bonding-warehouses. . . convey the notion of wealth and commerce completely stupendous. . . By means of the river, London ranks as the first port of the kingdom. . . The squares, which are usually ornamentally planted, are of great advantage to some districts, in regard to health. But the parts of the metropolis inhabited by the poorer classes, are yet the prolific sources of disease; and the retention of Smithfield market and the slaughter-houses in the very heart of London must also be noticed as a heavy drawback on the health, safety, and even morality of the city. . . The city of London is under the control of a corporation, of enormous wealth; whose practical inefficiency, and steadfast resistance of all reformation or change, are matters of painful notoriety. Population, London (within the walls), 54,626; (without the walls), 70,382. Total metropolitan, 1,873,676." [T.V.H. FitzHugh, The Dictionary of Genealogy, 1994.]
There is a considerable overlap in the coverage of London and in particular Middlesex on this server. And even this description doesn't give the full story, as parts of Middlesex went to Surrey and Hertfordshire. However, following the practice adopted in the LDS Family History Library, parish-level information will be provided here only for parishes belonging to the City of London, leaving parishes from elsewhere in the Greater London area to the Middlesex, Kent, Surrey and Hertfordshire pages as appropriate.
Aside from such essentially national institutions as The National Archives, the British Library, the Society of Genealogists, the Institute for Historical Research, and the Principal Probate Registry, London has many specialised major libraries and archives, such as:
- Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, London. EC2P 2EJ
- London Metropolitan Archives (formerly Greater London Record Office), 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R 0HB - holds the archives of the Greater London Council, the London and Middlesex County Councils and their predecessors. Note it is usually closed first two weeks of November for stocktaking.
- Research Guide: Family History at London Metropolitan Archives.
- City of Westminster Archives Centre.
- Library and Museum of Freemasonry Freemasons' Hall, Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ. For a summary see their entry in 24 hour museum.
- Other Libraries in the City of London
- The Mormon's Hyde Park Family History Centre has an online catalogue of its holdings.
- The Wellcome Library of the history of medicine holds not only high-level material on medical history but also a huge amount of information on named individuals. They have a guide to Biographical and Family History Resources in the library.
- Museum of London website
London Boroughs - Archives and Local Studies Libraries: we have links to web sites of each London borough, and to their archives or local studies libraries.
AIM25 - Archives in London and the M25 Area - "is a major project to provide electronic access to collection level descriptions of the archives of over fifty higher education institutions and learned societies within the greater London area."
Outside London, the Institute of Genealogical and Heraldic Studies, in Canterbury, Kent, provides an online list of their library resources relating to London and Middlesex (pdf).
For a general bibliography see London's Past online, a bibliography produced by the Centre for Metropolitan History in association with the Royal Historical Society Bibliography.
We give below some specific genealogy books about London. Books in print are grouped by publisher in this list, with links to their websites.
GENfair, the Federation of Family History Societies "One-Stop Shop" for Family and Local Historians.
- "London & Middlesex: a genealogical bibliography", by Stuart Raymond, vol.1: Genealogical Sources, vol.2. Family Histories & Pedigrees, (2nd edn 1997) also "Londoners' Occupations: A Genealogical Guide" (2nd edn 2001), published jointly with Stuart Raymond.
- "Basic Facts about Research in London, pt 1 Researching London Ancestors", by Lilian Gibbens, 2001,
- "Lists of Londoners", by J.S.W. Gibson and H. Creaton, 2nd edn 1997.
- "17th Century London Inhabitants", by T.C. Dale, London, Guildhall Library.
- "A Guide to the Genealogical Sources in the Guildhall Library", by R. Harvey, Guildhall Library 1988.
- "The 1695 Inhabitants of the City", by M.P.E. Jones, London, Guildhall Library.
- "County Sources at the Society of Genealogists - The City of London and Middlesex", ed. Neville Taylor, 2002,
- "National Index of Parish Registers vol 9 pt 5 London and Middlesex", by Cliff Webb, 2nd edn revised 2002,
- "My Ancestors were Londoners", by Cliff Webb, 6th edn 2010
West Surrey FHS Research Aids - over twenty of these deal with London and Middlesex - a mass of information - includes:
- "A Guide to London and Middlesex Genealogy and Records", by Cliff Webb, 2000, West Surrey FHS
- The London Encyclopaedia, ed. Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert, 3rd edn 1993,
- Diary of Samuel Pepys 1659-1669 describes his life but also covers a wide range of other events and social life in London. The full text is available on Project Gutenberg.
- The Medieval Londoners Project and database at Fordham University: This website introduces resources available for research about medieval London and its people, focusing not only on documentary and narrative sources in print, but also archaeological, visual, and cartographic sources that illuminate the physical and material world inhabited by medieval Londoners. An important component of the website is the Medieval Londoners Database (MLD), which records the activities of London residents between c. 1100 and 1520, and is searchable by name, gender, citizenship status, location (ward, parish, and street if available), craft, occupation, civic office, and craft office, among other variables.
The best list of cemeteries where ancestors may have been buried within the area of the County of London seems to be I M Holmes Return of burial grounds in the County of London 1895, which lists all burial grounds then existing in the County. Copies of the book are held at the Guildhall Library and LMA.
A scanned copy of a Catalogue of of the tombs in the churches of the City of London AD 1666 is in the Internet Archive.
Websites with information about several cemeteries
- London burials from David Orme attempts to have details, photos, documents about every burial ground in the old Greater London area.
- Victorian London Cemeteries from Gendocs (archived copy).
- London's Victorian Cemeteries - web links - an extensive list of official and unofficial sites, supplied by Chris Willis in connection with the Mausolea and Monuments Trust. (NB this is no longer maintained, and although it is available from the Internet Archive the links are likely to become increasingly out of date.)
- Background information on Victorian Cemeteries from Tracy Chevalier's website about her novel "Falling Angels"
- The Historic UK website has a map and description of the reputed plague pits of London during the great plague of 1665.
- The Western Charitable Foundation is an independent Jewish Orthodox burial society has a graves database covering its cemeteries at Edmonton, Cheshunt, Streatham and Fulham, whcih is searchable by surname, and gives full name, cemetery, plot number and date of burial.
The Magnificent Seven - large cemeteries established 1832-1841
Until the 19th century most parish churches had an adjacent churchyard. These became over-full, and there was a public outcry. Between 1837 and 1841 Parliament authorised seven commercial cemeteries. Links given are to the Friends organisations - which in many cases are transcribing and indexing the memorials or the burial registers. For information about these and similar organisations see National Federation of Cemetery Friends
- Abney Park (1840) Abney Park Cemetery Trust, with the Abney Park Cemetery Index 2005.
- Brompton (1840) Friends of Brompton Cemetery (details in list of organisations from Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea). Burial records are indexed on DeceasedOnline.
- Highgate Cemetery (1839) Friends of Highgate Cemetery Limited have details of visits, and searches in lists of persons buried. Burial records are indexed on DeceasedOnline.
- Kensal Green, (1832) Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery. Records are indexed on Deceased Online.
- Nunhead (1840) Friends of Nunhead Cemetery. Burial records are indexed on DeceasedOnline.
- Tower Hamlets (1841) Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
- West Norwood (1837) Friends of West Norwood Cemetery, also see Lambeth burials and cremations records. Burial records are indexed on DeceasedOnline.
Other large cemeteries
- The Brookwood Cemetery was opened in November 1854, and was the largest in the world. It was originally called the London Necropolis or Woking Cemetery. Although it lies outside the London area, it was the place of burial for thousands of Londoners. The cemetery is still privately owned and trades as Brookwood Cemetery Limited. The records are kept at the cemetery and there is a charge for them to be searched, but microfilm copies are held at the Hyde Park Family History Centre and the Surrey History Centre, where the Friends of Surrey Cemeteries have been indexing them. In addition The Brookwood Cemetery Society is a voluntary organisation devoted to the cemetery.
- Hammersmith New Cemetery, Mortlake on London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham website under "archives" - they details of burial registers
- City of London and Tower Hamlets Cemetery (LMA leaflet PDF)
- City of London Cemetery & Crematorium opened 1856. The City of London is placing high quality images of the burial registers online (as of September 2008, this covered 1856-1865).
- Lambeth burials and cremations records
- Ladywell Cemetery (serving Lewisham) and Brockwell Cemetery (serving Deptford) were adjacent to one another in the parish of Lewisham. North West Kent FHS have provided an online index to 13,700 of the gravestones. There is also a Friends of Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries group.
National indexes for all censuses 1841 to 1911 are available on multiple websites. See the England Census pages for details.
London North of the Thames
See the Middlesex Census page for general information and details of indexes and facsimiles covering Middlesex and the City of London.
London South of the Thames
- North West Kent FHS - 1851 census indexes (also some 1891)
- East Surrey FHS - 1851, 1871, 1891 census indexes
- West Surrey FHS - 1851 & 1861 census indexes
- FreeCen have projects to transcribe UK censuses for most years
- Southwark Local History Library - has unpublished indexes, but web page has no list, see London Census Surname Indexes (archived copy) from Gendocs for list.
- City of London Anglican churches from Gendocs (archived copy).
- Current churches from FindAChurch in the City of London.
- Churches of London from Steve James (now only availble in the Internet Archive) has a map of the City of London showing churches, and a list showing dates previous churches were demolished, or where there is a tower only. The map also shows the city wall, and the extent of the great fire of London.There are photos of many of the churches.
- www.cityoflondonchurches.com - City of London churches - from Stephen Millar, "designed mainly to be a photographic record and celebration of the churches", is no longer available at March 2006
- The COLLAGE database (Corporation of London Libraries and Guildhall Art Gallery image database) has very many images related to the churches of the City of London the wider London area. Simply search on the church name or the place-name plus 'church' to find relevant images.
- The Friends of the City Churches has pictures and details of opening times and services for all surviving churches in the City of London.
- A list of Victorian London Churches for all the main denominations from Gendocs (archived copy).
- The Registers of the Bishops of London, 1304-1660 are available on microfilm from Thomson Gale, and include ordination registers which are useful for tracing clergy ancestors.
- London churches and olde celebrities by John Blythe Smart (Blythe Smart Publications, Kingsbridge, Devon, 2012) lists and describes, with many architectural illustrations, almost all the churches and chapels in inner London (the former London County Council area). Volume 1 covers the City and Volume II the 'environs'.
See separate page.
- Registration Districts in London for the period 1837-1974.
- Transcripts of Various Acts of Parliament of interest to the Genealogist supplied by Guy Etchells
Over the years London has had many prisons and similar institutions. There were Compters to hold debtors both within the City and outside it, in Southwark and Middlesex. At various times there were prisons at Ludgate, Newgate, the Fleet, Temple Bar, and Bridewell, and there were medieval prisons at St Martin Le Grand, and Tun upon Cornhill.
- A list of inmates, victims and those associated with Newgate Prison, from the book The Chronicles of Newgate by Arthur Griffiths, published 1896.
- Newgate Calendars - formerly provided by the University of Texas in their Law in Popular Culture Collection E-texts, but now only on the Wayback Machine. A reproduction of the Newgate calendars, from the mid sixteenth century to the nineteenth there is plenty of gory details about murderers, forgers and many other wrongdoers. Each entry has a potted biography of the guilty and a detail of their crime.
- The Rossbret UK Institutions website has some information on Prisons in London (now only available on the Internet Archive).
The Proceedings of the Old Bailey London 1674 to 1834 from the Universities of Sheffield and Hertfordshire, a fully searchable online edition of accounts of over 100,000 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court. Includes links to maps, and the manuscript sessions papers (which include witness and defendant statements made before the trial took place) and the Ordinary's Accounts (biographies of convicted felons compiled just before they were executed).
The Consistory Court of London was a church court with jurisdiction over much of London and Middlesex as well as parts of Essex and Hertfordshire. It heard cases involving matrimonial matters (including divorce and separation), breach of promise, probate disputes and defamation. The Society of Genealogists has published an index for the years 1700-1713, and an online version is available on FindMypast.
There are several surveys which give descriptions of the living conditions of Londoners in the 19th century:
- Ragged London in 1861 by John Hollingshead
- London Labour and the London Poor by Henry Mayhew, in four volumes: Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3 were published in 1851, and an supplmentary volume in 1861.
- Charles Booth's survey into life and labour in London (1886-1903).
- Telephone Directories (link from our UK & Ireland page)
- Guildhall Library has an excellent collection of Directories
- Society of Genealogists has a good collection and publishes a list "Directories and poll books in the library of the Society of Genealogists" compiled by N J N Newington-Irving, 6th edn 1995.
- University of Leicester Digital Library of Historical Directories - searchable by surname online - includes for Middlesex:
- Kelly's 1914,
- Kelly's Wood Green ,
- Handbook for Visitors to Harrow on the Hill
Elizabeth Burton provides on-line these transcripts:
- London Merchants of 1677. She says "The publication in 1677 of 'A collection of the names of the merchants living in and around London' for Sam. Lee and Dan. Major was possibly the first printed commercial directory of London." - the list is from this and other sources.
- Kent's Directory 1740 containing an alphabetical list of the names and places of abode of the directors of companies, persons in public business, merchants, and other eminent traders in the cities of London and Westminster, and the borough of Southwark.
Major accounts of The City, its Wards and Parishes:
Besant, Sir Walter. The Survey of London. London: Adam & Charles Black (1903) [Full text]
Cooke, J. A New and Compleat History and Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster, the Borough of Southwark, and Parts Adjacent: From the Earliest Accounts, to the Beginning of the Year 1770. London (1770) 682pp. [Full text]
Elmes, James. A topographical dictionary of London and its environs : containing descriptive and critical accounts of all the public and private buildings, offices, docks, squares, streets, lanes, wards, liberties, charitable, scholastic and other establishments, with lists of their officers, patrons, incumbents of livings, &c. &c. &c. in the British metropolis. London : Whittaker, Treacher and Arnot (1831) 416pp. [Full text]
Hatton, Edward. A new view of London; or, An ample account of that city, in ... eight sections. Being a more particular description thereof than has hitherto been known to be published of any city in the world . . . Printed for J. Nicholson (1708) 2 vols. [Full text of vol. 2]
Lambert, B. The History and Survey of London and Its Environs: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time : in Four Volumes, London (1806). [Vol. 3 text]
Lockie, John. Lockie's Topography of London, : giving a concise local description of and accurate direction to every square, street, lane, court, dock, wharf, inn, public-office, &c. in the metropolis and its environs, including the new buildings to the present time. London : Sold by G. and W. Nicol et al (1810) 344 pp. [Full text]
Smart, John. A Short Account of the Several Wards, Precincts, Parishes, etc., in London (1741) 63pp. [Full text vol 3]
Stow, John and Mottley, John. A survey of the cities of London and Westminster, borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent ...: Being an improvement of Mr. Stow's, and other surveys, by adding whatever alterations have happened in the said cities, &c. to the present year .... Printed for T. Read (1733) 2 vols. [Full text]
Thomas, Henry. The Wards of London: Comprising a Historical and Topographical Description of Every Object of Importance Within the Boundaries of the City. With an Account of All the Companies, Institutions, Buildings, Ancient Remains ... and Biographical Sketches of All Eminent Persons Connected Therewith Volumes 1-2 (1828) 480pp. [Full text]
- Victorian London A-Z Street Index from Gendocs (archived copy).
- The Lost London Street Index - an index of over 3500 streets that have undergone a name change or have disappeared altogether over the last 200 years (via Internet Archive).
- A Guide to the Alleys, Courts, Passages and Yards of Central London by Ivor Hoole; gives location and history of over 400 byways (via Internet Archive).
- List of the Streets and Places within the Administrative County of London 1929 CD from Archive CD Books, shows alterations since 1856.
- 1841 Census London Street Index CD The 1841 Street Index for Metropolitan London, Middlesex/Surrey, was originally published by Austalian Institute for Genealogical Studies as microfiche in 1996 and has been converted to CD.
- Harben's Dictionary of London - the text of a gazetteer for the City of London - provided by British History Online
- Historical gazetteer of London before the Great Fire with an alphabetical list of people mentioned - provided by British History Online
- The Rayment Society have lists of London streets with changed names, arranged by both old and new names.
- The Hunt House website has lists of over 8000 London streets with names changed between 1857 and 1945, arranged by both old and new names.
- The National Archives have a useful podcast by Dave Annal entitled Lost in London which is a guide to genealogical research in London before 1837. This is a recording a of a talk given on 14 June 2012.
- The London Look-up Exchange maintained by Brian Fisk
- The Middlesex Look-up Exchange maintained by Brian Fisk
- GENDOCS lists for London (archived copy) cover census, churches, cemeteries, inns, probate, streets, lodging houses, institutions ... and much more.
- London Ancestor is a site with a variety of sections, including research interests, reciprocal research, illustrations of churches and other buildings, newspaper extracts, etc.
- The London Surnames List maintained by Hugh Winters contains a list of surnames being researched in London and Middlesex.
- Curious Fox describes itself as the "village by village contact site for anybody researching family history, genealogy and local history in the UK and Ireland." They have a London listing.
- One-Place Studies: "One-place studies are a branch of family history and/or local history with a focus on the entire population of a single road, village or community, not just a single, geographically dispersed family line" (Wikipedia). There are listings covering the City of London on the Society for One-Place Studies website.
- Society of Genealogists: Hints & Tips 9: London Research
- London Ancestor's Family History Sites for London
- The Worshipful Company of Parish Clerks, "one of the oldest London Guilds, having received its first charter from Henry VI in 1442" provides summary histories of the City of London parishes and several maps on their website
- Mailing Lists
- LONDON: A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical or historical interest in the city of London and county of Middlesex, England. Border inquiries related to neighbouring counties (e.g., Surrey), which have relevance to the list, are also welcome. For past messages see Threaded archive
- Middlesex_County_UK also has Threaded archive
- To search either use Rootsweb mailing lists - interactive search
- Hazel Dakers website has a series of articles demonstrating by example how to go beyond the basics of genealogy. There is a bias towards London, South African and Jewish examples but the site is by no means only about Jewish genealogy, and she provides good examples of migration, within the British Isles and beyond.
- GenealogyWise is a social networking site for Genealogists, and has both a London group covering Greater London, and a LONDON: Livery Companies, etc. group covering citizens of the City of London.
- RootsChat bulletin board has a section for London and Middlesex.
- The Arms of the Livery Companies of the City Of London (formerly on Heraldic Media website, now linked to the Internet Archive.)
- History of the City of London
- Ten Generations - Discover how life in London has changed for the last ten generations of Londoners and visitors to the capital. Ten Generations draws on original evidence held in local collections to tell the stories of how our forebears lived their lives, the changes they will have seen, and some of the historical events they may have witnessed during the last 300 years. There are many illustrations. Ten Generations was a collaborative venture between City of Westminster Archives, local studies libraries and archives in four north London boroughs (Brent, Camden, Hackney and Islington), Bishopsgate Library & Institute and London's Transport Museum, with further contributions from the archives of the Royal Free Hospital and University College London Hospitals. [This site seems no longer to be available, but is archived at the UK web archive.]
- Ideal Homes: Suburbia in Focus is a history of suburbs in South East London's six boroughs; Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark, including personal accounts of life in words and pictures. It is a joint venture between all six boroughs and the University of Greenwich. It contains thousands of old and contemporary photographs and descriptions of life in South East London.
- British History Online catalogue for Greater London sources: Text of many documents including directories, Victoria County History volumes and drafts, maps, a tax list, gazetteers,list of City of London inhabitants 1695, others. See also their guide to urban history on BHO.
- London Archaeologist covers every significant archaeological discovery, period, event and issue. As well as archaeological reports it includes historical articles and book reviews. The online archive at the Archaeology Data Service includes all articles, along with selected indexes, from 1968-2005 (volumes 1-10). More recent volumes can be obtained from the London Archaeologist website.
- The Astoft collection of buildings of England has photographs by Allan Soedring of a number of churches and other buildings
- Londonist has a series of articles focussed on the historical topics to do with London.
- The Second Great Fire of London - 29th December 1940 - from A London Inheritance website.
- CityHire have an interesting timeline of the last 200 years.
Books: there are thousands of books about London history, here are a few.
J Bullman, N Hegarty, and B Hill, The Secret History of our Streets: London, a social history through the houses and streets we live in, BBC Books, 2012. This book accompanies the BBC series of the same name looking at how London has changed since Charles Booth's survey recording social conditions in 1886, returning to six archetypal London streets.
W.R. Dalzell, The Shell Guide to the History of London, Michael Joseph, 1981.
Entick, John. A new and accurate history and survey of London, Westminster, Southwark, and ... London, E. and C. Dilly (1766) 4 vols.. [Full text vol. 1, vols. 2-4]
W. Kent, An Encyclopedia of London, J.M. Dent & Sons, 1970.
Malcolm, James Peller. Londinium Redivivum Or an Antient History and Modern Description of London. Compiled from parochial records, archives of various foundations, the Harleian mss. and other authentic sources. Nichols and Son - 4 vols. (1803-1807). [Full text]
Roy Porter, London. A Social History, Hamish Hamilton, 1994.
Your Old Books and Maps CDROMs include "Medieval London and Old St. Pauls cathedral" and are preparing 1909 and 1920 guides to London.
The Medical Heritage of Great Britain (archived) website of the Bath & Wessex Medical History Group has a page on locations in Greater London relating to medical history
- The London Jews Database (compiled by Jeffrey Maynard) can be searched together with other UK Jewish databases of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain
- The International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies Cemetery Project includes a listing of Jewish cemeteries in and around London, and general information to aid the location of a burial.
- See above for the Western Charitable Foundation's Orthodox Jewish cemeteries.
- For details of the Poor Jews' Temporary Shelter see the entry for Whitechapel
- FamilySearch's London Jewish Records
- The Knowles Collection from FamilySearch includes thousands of London Jews in a database building on the work of the late Isobel Mordy. It has been incorporated into FamilySearch's Community Trees and entries can be found by searching for Submission Id: MMD6-PK1
Sun Fire Office policy registers 1816-1833 are held at Guildhall Library and searchable on the National Archives' Discovery Catalogue - choose Guildhall Library as location (at the bottom of the Advanced Search form). You can search by names of people, institutions, streets, place names and occupations. The index covers the registers of the Sun's London office, which cover mainly London properties. For this reason, street names only are given for most of the entries and London can be assumed where no county is given. A few country properties are also included.
Mike Durtnall's Historical Manuscripts Pages (http://www.durtnall.org.uk/DEEDSIndex.html) has information about many descriptions of historical documents taken mainly from online auction catalogues, including nearly 2000 referring to London or Middlesex. [At times this site has only been intermittently available. You may find an old version on the Wayback Machine.]
- London Postal Districts - we have links to maps and a list showing places for each district
- John Speed's Map and Panorama of London, 1611
- John Speed's Map of Westminster, 1611
- Greenwood's Map of London 1827
- The Collage Portal (Corporation of London Libraries and Guildhall Art Gallery image database) has historic maps of London. On "Advanced search" choose picture type as "map", enter place name of interest as search term. The website has thumbnail and part-screen images of the maps, and a facility to order a detailed image.
- The London Ancestor Journal has several on-line maps:
- The London Topographical Society has a series of publications of early maps of London. Their many publications include: The A to Z of Victorian London, with notes by Ralph Hyde, 1987
- Great Britain Historical GIS Project at the University of Portsmouth (formerly at Queen Mary & Westfield College, London) has a London GIS with a number of statistical maps of London, including:
- Domestic Service in London, 1861 and 1911
- Infant Mortality in London, 1881
- Deaths from cholera in london, summer 1866
- Typhus fever and uncorrected and corrected deaths
- Pocket Atlas and Guide to London, 1900 has maps including Parliamentary Divisions, Railways, Postal Districts, also street maps and guides
- Atlas and Guide to London 1896, facsimile edn 2002 from Audrey Collins Publications, email: audrey.collins[at]ntlworld[dot]com, PO box 483, Chesham, Bucks HP5 2ZN
- Your Old Books and Maps sell on CD Black's 1920 Guide to London and its environs, illustrated with many maps and plans. They have other CDs for the area including "London 1909" with bird's eye views.
- MAPCO (archive maps) or (Map and Plan Collection Online) is a free map website by David Hale displaying high quality London and other maps and views. There are maps and panoramas dating from 1560 to 1897. Stanford's Geological Library Map Of London And Its Suburbs 1878 at 6 inches to the mile is detailed and useful.
- The Baedeker's Old Guide Books site has maps from Baedeker's London and its Environs 1905.
- The East London History Society offers Old Maps of Tower Hamlets, ranging from 1745 to 2000.
- Genmaps provide a wide range of London maps of different dates and with scans of varying quality.
- Peter Higginbotham's Workhouse website has maps of Poor Law Unions in London (circa 1900) and Poor Law School Districts in London.
- Locating London's Past website allows searches of a range of data relating to seventeenth and eighteenth-century London, and to map the results on either John Rocque's 1746 map, or the 1869-80 First Edition Ordnance Survey map. The datasets include the 1666 hearth tax, Mortality and Plague in 1665, London Lives 1690-1800, Records of clay tobacco pipes and glass tableware from London archaeological sites, Proceedings of the Old Bailey and parish population estimates from the Bills of Mortality, Marriage Duty Assessments, and the 1801 census.
- London Bomb Damage - from the A London Inheritance website..
- Bomb Sight – mapping the London Blitz during 7th October 1940 to 6th June 1941. You can explore the data in a number of ways, although perhaps the most sobering experience is simply to zoom out and watch as thousands of little red dots, each one representing a detonation, gradually fill the screen. Zoom in to the areas you are interested in and click on a dot and more information appears about the explosive device, the estimated date and it’s present day location. As an added bonus, you can explore contemporary images of the area, if they exist, and read wartime memories that are drawn from the BBC’s oral history project People’s War.
Records of over 100,000 patients admitted between 1852 and 1914 to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, its convalescent home at Cromwell House, the Evelina Hospital (now part of Guy's and St Thomas's) and the specialist Alexandra Hospital for Children with Hip Disease are available online at the Historic Hospital Admission Registers Project (HHARP) website. The precise periods differ between the institutions.
The County Asylums website includes information about the local authority funded mental hospitals in London (both the City of London and the 1889-1963 London County Council) and in Middlesex.
Simon Forman, the notorious London astrologer, recorded 10,000 consultations between 1596 and 1603. Most of these are medical. Forman's casebooks can now be searched by name (of any party involved), date, sex, age, topic of consultation and many other criteria. The edition includes images of all the manuscript pages of Forman's first volume, and more will follow. They are available from the Casebooks Project at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science of the University of Cambridge
At the Wellcome Library website you can search more than 5500 Medical Officer of Health (MOH) reports from the Greater London area 1848-1972. The reports provided statistical data about births, deaths and diseases, but they also allowed the officers to express the diversity of their local communities and their own personal interests. An Invaluable source if you want to set the scene for your family’s living and working conditions.
Princess Alice disaster: The Thames' 650 forgotten dead "The Princess Alice sank in the River Thames on 3 September 1878, killing hundreds of ordinary Londoners returning home from a day trip to the seaside." An article from the BBC about this disaster.
- Names from East End 1888 by William J. Fishman
- Names from London Life in the Eighteenth Century by M Dorothy George
- Names from The Merchant Class of Medieval London by Sylvia L Thrupp, 1948
- Some names extracted by Ted Wildy from Metropolitan Police Orders (1868-1895)
- London Inhabitants within the Walls 1638 from British History Online
- London Inhabitants within the Walls 1691 from British History Online
- London Inhabitants within the Walls 1695 from British History Online
- The Aldermen of the City of London Henry III - 1912
Boyd's Inhabitants of London gives the names and brief biographical and family details of 60,000 men who lived in the City of London at dates ranging from 1209 to 1948. The original is available at the Society of Genealogists, and an online version is available on Findmypast with a useful explanation of the structure of the records. Much of the information has also been transcribed into a searchable lineage-linked database on FamilySearch.
- Livery Companies in the City of London
- Livery Company Membership Guide (Guildhall Library leaflet)
- Heraldic Media has a site devoted to The Livery Companies & their Heraldry. (Formerly on Heraldic Media website, now linked to the Internet Archive.)
- Licensed Victuallers records (LMA Research Guide)
- Thousands of children were apprenticed to masters in London. Cliff Webb has compiled indexes to the records for the Society of Genealogists, and an online version is available on FindMyPast.
- Ancestry have an index to about 1000 Child Apprentices in America from Christ's Hospital, London, 1617-1778, drawn from Coldham, PW (1990) Child Apprentices in America from Christ's Hospital, London, 1617-1778. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., which itself was based on the manuscript records in the Guildhall Library.
- The Records of London's Livery Companies Online website provides "records of Apprentices and Freemen in the City of London Livery Companies between 1400 and 1900". As of June 2012 if covered the Clothworkers (1545-1908) and the Drapers (c.1400-1900) with Goldsmiths (1600-1700). In future it will have complete coverage of Goldsmiths and of Mercers.
- Ancestry have indexed and placed on line images of the Admission Papers for Freemen of the City of London, 1681-1925. These are from the records of the City itself, but include reference to the livery company of the admitted person. They cover all types of admission, but there are some gaps (mostly in the 1680s and 1770s-1780s). Full information is given in a leaflet from LMA.
- Pub History gives many details about an enormous number of pubs in the South East of England.
- The Metropolitan Police have a page on their Historical Records.
- The London Vintage Taxi Association: information about cabs and their drivers, even some jokes.
- photoLondon offers a database of 19th century photographers and allied trades in London, 1841-1901.
- Barnardo's (extract from their History page): In 1867, Thomas Barnardo set up a ragged school in the East End, where poor children could get a basic education. .. In 1870, Barnardo opened his first home for boys in Stepney Causeway. .. Barnardo later opened the Girls' Village Home in Barkingside, a collection of cottages around a green, which housed 1,500 girls. By the time a child left Barnardo's they were able to make their own way in the world - the girls were equipped with domestic skills and the boys learnt a craft or trade.
- The Coram Family (formerly the Thomas Coram Foundation for Children) has been working continuously with deprived and disadvantaged children since 1739 when Thomas Coram established The Foundling Hospital to provide care for the homeless children he found living and dying on the streets of London. Through support from artists and others, he made a remarkable collection of treasures, now housed in The Foundling Museum at No 40 Brunswick Square, on the site of the original Hospital.
From its foundation in 1741 the Foundling Hospital rescued abaondoned babies, but from the 1760s it extended its remit to accommodate the children of unmarried mothers who made written petition for the child to be accepted. The surviving applications record details of the lives of the mothers, which can include how they became pregnant and of their employment. About two-thirds of applications in the 19th century were from women in domestic service. The type of information available is detailed in an article by Pamela Horn in Genealogists' Magazine vol. 29, no. 8, pp.293-297 (December 2008).
- Metropolitan and City Police Orphanage: records relating to children who were in the Orphanage are at the Metropolitan and City Police Orphans Fund, 30 Hazlewell Road, Putney, London, SW15 6LH. "Beer and Bullets - yes it's the police orphanage" is an article in the March 2002 issue of Metline, the magazine of the Metropolitan Police Federation.
- The Rossbret UK Institutions website has some information on London Orphanages (now only available on the Internet Archive).
The City of London is governed by the Corporation of London which is run by the Lord Mayor and 132 members elected from 25 voting districts or "wards". Each ward elects an alderman and between 4 and 12 members depending on its size.
The wards are:
From 1550 to 1899 there was a 26th ward of Bridge Without, as the Borough of Southwark was partly under the jurisdiction of the City of London, but this ward only had an appointed alderman and no common councilmen. It was merged with the ancient ward of Bridge, alias Bridge Within, to form the current ward.
- Peter Higginbotham's Workhouse website has lots of information about workhouses and specifically about the City of London workhouse as well as the Metropolitan Asylums Board and lots of other London workhouses.
- The Rossbret UK Institutions website has some information on a variety of Poor Law insitutions in London (now only available on the Internet Archive).
- Abstracts of poor law settlement examinations for the City of London transcribed by Cliff Webb are available to search on FindMyPast London Poor Law Records, 1581-1899.
"Pre-1858 Wills are found at the following repositories: the GLRO [now LMA] for those provided at the Consistory Court of London, the Commisary Court of Surrey and the Archdeaconry Courts of Middlesex (Middlesex Division) and Surrey; the Guildhall Library for those proved at the Commisary Court of London (London Division), the Archdeaconry Court of London, the Peculiar Court of the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's and the Royal Peculiar of St Katherine by the Tower; the Corporation of London Record Office for those proved at the Court of Hustings; at Lambeth Palace Library for the Peculiar Courts of the Deaneries of the Arches and of Croydon; and at Westminster Library for the Royal Peculiar of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. Wills were also proved at the Consistory of Winchester and the Prerogative Court of Canterbury." [T.V.H. FitzHugh, The Dictionary of Genealogy, 1994.]
- Wills for London, Middlesex and Surrey before 1858 (LMA information leaflet no. 6) PDF format
- Probate Records at Guildhall Library
- Commissary Court of London Will Abstracts Volume 26 (1629-1634), prepared by Leslie Maher
- PCC Wills 1384-1858 - on line from The National Archives . Index search is free, there is a charge to download a will as a digital facsimile image. Over a million wills are held.
The University of London has placed online lists of all officials, teachers, graduates and undergraduates from its foundation in 1836 up until 31 March 1901, as published in 1890, 1899 and 1901, and a list of all University of London graduates up to December 1932.
The City of London is covered by
The following societies cover areas that fall within Greater London:
- London, Westminster & Middlesex FHS
- East of London FHS
- West Middlesex FHS
- Hillingdon FHS
- Woolwich & District FHS
The following Societies cover areas which include parts of Greater London:
- Map showing the areas covered by these societies
Coal Tax Posts as previously described on the Corporation of London website "were erected under the London Coal and Wine Duties Continuance Act, 1861, but some were originally set up under earlier nineteenth century Acts. The duties whose area of application they marked out originated in the seventeenth century and earlier.The Corporation of London had exercised the right of 'metage' (measuring) of coal and other commodities since mediaeval times and these rights were confirmed by two Charters of King James I. The City was later permitted to set up "a Boundary Stone, or some other permanent Mark" where any turnpike road, public highway, railway or canal entered the District. The surviving boundary marks define the London district after it was changed in 1861." The website gives details of the duties and posts, and gives a list of the remaining posts around London.
Lay Subsidies were medieval taxes (see a brief description of them), whioh often included compilations of lists of names. Published lists for London include:
- Ekwall, E (1951) Two Early London Subsidy Rolls. Lund: CWK Gleerup. Covers the years 1292 and 1319 and is now available at British History Online.
- Unwin G (ed.) (1918) Finance and trade under Edward III - The London lay subsidy of 1332. Contains a discussion of various analyses of the lay subsidy roll, but very few names. Now available at British History Online.
- Lang RG (ed.) (1993) Two Tudor subsidy rolls for the city of London 1541 and 1582. London: London Record Society. Now available at British History Online.
- Alan H. Nelson is developing an online index to the names in the Lay Subsidy Returns for London and adjacent areas, covering London, Middlesex and north Surrey 1593-1600, London 1582 (including some material in Lang above), and London 1576.
- Bolton P (ed.) (1998) The alien communities of London in the fifteenth century: the subsidy rolls of 1440 & 1483-4. Stamford: Richard III & Yorkist History Trust. ('Alien' ws the term for a foreigner.)
A 1638 list of tithe-payers has survived in Lambeth Palace Library and was published as Dale TC (ed.) (1931) The Inhabitants of London in 1638. London: Society of Genealogists. It is Now available at British History Online.
In 1694 an act was passed to levy taxes upon burials, births and marriages and annual dues upon bachelors over 25 years of age and upon childless widowers. As a consequence lists were prepared in 1695 of:
- London Inhabitants within the Walls, published as Glass DV (ed) (1966) London inhabitants within the walls, 1695. Leicester: London Record Society. Now available at British History Online.
- London Inhabitants without [i.e. outside] the Walls, for which a typescript index is available at LMA.
Returns for 17 parishes do not survive, but an attempt has been made to fill the gaps using tax assessment of similar date, and an index published as "A Supplement to the London Inhabitants List of 1695 Compiled by Staff at Guildhall Library" in Guildhall Studies in London History Vol. 2, Nos. 2 (surnames A-M) and 3 (surnames N-Z and trades) (April and October 1976).
Land Tax was levied 1692-1932. Ancestry have indexed the records held at LMA, covering the City of London, Middlesex (including most Westminster parishes), and some parishes in Kent and Surrey. A description is given in a copy of a leaflet from LMA, though this out of date in some respects.
Visitations by the Heralds were designed to record the pedigree of armorial families and to confirm their right to bear arms. There is a good guide to them on Chris Phillips' Medieval English Genealogy site. Several of the visitations of London have been published:
- The Harleian Society volume 1: Howard, JJ, and Armytage, GJ (eds) (1869) The Visitation of London in the Year 1568 is available from Google books.
- The Harleian Society volumes 15 and 17: Howard, JJ, and Chester, JL (eds) (1880) The Visitation of London, 1633, 1634, and 1635 is available online: volume 15 (surnames A-H) , and volume 17 (surnames I-W).
- The Harleian Society volume 92: Whitmore JB and Hughes AW (eds) (1940) London Visitation Pedigrees 1664. is availableas a limited preview from Hathi Trust.
FamilySearch have the "England, London Electoral Registers, 1847-1913. These cover the current Greater London area with varying periods within that timespan.