English genealogy and family history is certainly an interesting topic, although can be a difficult field to navigate – especially when the search has only just begun. If you are interested in learning about your English ancestors, there are a number of helpful online resources readily available.
This Guide introduces some of the main resources for your reference. Please bear in mind there are many more available that focus on specific areas or niche topics. The sites below offer access to a range of records, including census records, civil registration records, and military records, which can provide valuable information about your ancestors.
How should I begin to search for my English ancestry?
Here are some steps you can take to start searching for your English ancestry:
- Gather as much information as you can about your ancestors. This might include their full names, dates and places of birth, marriage, and death, as well as their occupation and any other details you have about their lives.
- Use online genealogy databases to search for records of your ancestors. Some good places to start include the National Archives of England and the FamilySearch website.
- Consider hiring a professional genealogist to help with your research. Genealogists are trained in the techniques of searching for and finding genealogical records, and they can often help you access records that are not available online.
- Join a genealogy society or group in the UK, or connect with other researchers who are also interested in English ancestry. These groups can provide valuable support, advice, and resources to help you with your research.
- Consider visiting the UK to research your ancestors in person. Many genealogical records are still held in local archives and libraries, and visiting these locations in person can help you find information that is not available online.
Are there any unusual factors in English genealogy to be aware of?
There are a few things to keep in mind when researching your English ancestry that may be different from other countries:
- The English census has only been conducted every 10 years since 1841, so you may need to use other sources of information to fill in the gaps.
- Many genealogical records in England were destroyed in the London Blitz during World War II, so it may be difficult to find records for your ancestors from this time period.
- English parish records, which are a valuable source of information for genealogical research, are often written in Latin. You may need to learn some Latin or hire a translator to help you understand these records.
- English nobility and the aristocracy often kept their own family records, which may be difficult for the general public to access.
- England has a long history, and the borders of the country have changed over time. You may need to research your ancestors in different countries, depending on where they lived.
- There were several waves of immigration to England, including the Roman conquest, the Norman Conquest, and the Industrial Revolution, which may affect your ancestry.
Overall, it’s important to be thorough and patient when researching your English ancestry, as it may take some time to track down all of the relevant records and information.
What are the best online resources of information on English ancestors for genealogy research?
Here are some online resources that may be helpful for researching your English ancestors:
- The National Archives of England: This is a good place to start your research, as it holds many important genealogical records, including census records, military records, wills, and more.
- The FamilySearch website: This website is run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has a wealth of genealogical records, including census records, parish records, and more.
- Findmypast: This is another subscription-based website that has a large collection of genealogical records, including census records, military records, and more.
- The Genealogist: This is a subscription-based website that has a large collection of English genealogical records, including census records, parish records, and more.
- The Society of Genealogist: This is a UK-based organisation that has a large collection of genealogical records and resources, including census records, parish records and more.
It’s worth noting that many of these resources are subscription-based, so you may need to pay a fee to access their full collections. However, many of them also have free resources or offer free trials, so it’s worth checking to see what is available.
Can you add some other suggestions?
Certainly! Here are a few more online resources that may be helpful for researching your English ancestors:
- The British Newspaper Archive: This website has a large collection of digitised newspapers from the UK, which can be a valuable source of information about your ancestors.
- The National Library of Scotland’s Map Library: This website has a collection of digitised maps from the UK, which can be helpful for learning more about the geographical locations your ancestors lived in.
- The UK National Trust: This organisation has many historic properties in the UK, and their website has information about the history of these properties and the people who lived in them.
- The British Library: This library has a large collection of historical documents and records from the UK, including census records, wills, and more.
- The Guild of One-Name Studies: This organisation is made up of individuals who are researching specific surname histories in the UK. If you have a particularly unusual surname, this group may be able to help you connect with others who are researching the same name.
It’s also worth checking out local archives, libraries, and historical societies in the areas of the UK where your ancestors lived. These organisations may have additional records and resources that can help with your research.
What if my ancestors were English nobility? Where can I find out about them?
If your ancestors were members of the English nobility, you may be able to find information about them in a few different places:
- The College of Arms: This organization is responsible for maintaining records of English nobility and coats of arms. You can contact them to see if they have records related to your ancestors.
- The Peerage: This website has information about the English nobility, including their family histories, titles, and coats of arms.
- Burke’s Peerage: This is a reference book that has information about the English nobility, including their family histories, titles, and coats of arms. It is often available at libraries or can be purchased online.
- The National Archives of England: This organization has records related to the English nobility, including wills, deeds, and other documents.
It’s worth noting that many records related to the English nobility are not publicly available, as they are held in private collections. However, you may still be able to find some information about your ancestors through the resources listed above.
Could a DNA analysis test help in my search for my English ancestors?
DNA analysis can potentially be a helpful tool in your search for your English ancestors. There are several types of DNA tests that are commonly used for genealogical research, including:
- Autosomal DNA tests: These tests look at your entire genome and can help you find relatives on all sides of your family, including both your mother’s and father’s side.
- Y-DNA tests: These tests look at the Y chromosome, which is passed down from father to son. Y-DNA tests can help you trace your paternal ancestry.
- mtDNA tests: These tests look at your mitochondria DNA, which is passed down from mother to child. mtDNA tests can help you trace your maternal ancestry.
By taking one or more of these DNA tests, you may be able to find relatives who share your DNA and who can help you learn more about your ancestors. DNA tests can also help you confirm or supplement the information you have already learned through traditional genealogical research methods.
It’s worth noting that DNA testing is not a substitute for traditional genealogical research, and it’s important to use a combination of both DNA testing and traditional research methods to learn as much as possible about your ancestors.
- Newhaven, Sussex 1890 – 1930: Picryl