Best websites for genealogical research in the UK

Just a few decades ago, genealogical research was a time consuming process that involved hours spent note-taking at your local records office.

Today, thanks to the huge growth in genealogy websites, you can now do most of this research from the comfort of your living room – all you need is a computer and a good internet connection.

But with so many websites to choose from, where do you start? Here’s our pick of the top sites for genealogical research in the UK.

Free genealogy sites and advice

If you’re just starting out – or you’re unsure of whether genealogy is a hobby you’ll stick with for long – you’ll find plenty of websites offering free resources and advice.

One very useful site is Cyndi’s List, which includes details of categorised genealogical resources from all over the world. Its UK and Ireland section is particularly comprehensive, with category indexes for each country and territory in the UK and Ireland, as well as a category for UK military research.

It’s a completely free site and runs on donations – so if you find it useful, it’s worth making a contribution so it can continue.

GENUKI is another comprehensive free genealogy site for families in the UK and Ireland. Like Cyndi’s List, it points you towards further sources of information so you can find and access online records quicker than if you were starting from scratch.

Not sure whether to choose a free site or pay for a membership? The BBC’s guide to genealogy sites is worth a read.

Not all the links here may be up to date as the page was last updated in 2011, but there’s some solid advice here that will come in handy whether you’re making your first forays into genealogical research or if you’re already established but want to access more detailed records.

This article by Digital Trends also has some sound tips, but beware that the sites it recommends are for US users and may not always have UK counterparts.

Becoming a member of a genealogy site

If you’ve decided to take the plunge and pay for membership of a genealogy website, there are some great choices out there. is one of the best; it has a simple search function enabling you to find your ancestors with ease. It also lets you create a family tree in a simple and straight-forward manner, so you can present your research in a professional way. Feeling like you’ve hit a brick wall?’s active message boards mean you should be able to find an answer to your question from their community in no time. There are also three different membership plans – Essentials, Premium and Worldwide – so you can choose one that suits your budget.

Find My Past has a lot of fans too. This site also has a simple search function and lets you create a family tree online. It’s also got an active news site and prominent notifications when new records are available. Although it doesn’t have as large a community as, it still has loads of benefits for members., Find My Past and Genes Reunited offer two week free trials – so if you decide that membership isn’t for you, you still have a chance to continue with your genealogical research elsewhere, before you’ve parted with any cash.

Do you have any tips for researching your genealogy? Share your wisdom in the comments below

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21st Oct 2020
Thanks for voting!
So where do i go from here?
9th Jun 2020
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Hello everyone, I am Connie from Texas in the Good ole US of A and live in the Dallas/ Ft Worth area since I was born in 1948. I am 72 years old and proud to still be livin' and kicking and having a great time! I have always been interested in Genealogy and many years ago I completed 20 years of work on my Family Lineage and have completed about a 4 inch binder that contains my family tree with a full page written on whatever I could find on each person. It was a wonderful experience to find all about my Ancestors and learned some really interesting things about my past, like one of my relatives was an outlaw in the old West, and one was a Reverend of a different color than mine.... all of it was so interesting and I am so glad I took my journey through my past. I truly do believe that you need to know where you come from to know where you are going. I think it has made me a better person, and for sure, am proud of all my Heritage. I may be an American, but I sure have lots of British in me and I even found a long lost Cousin in Australia! So many intereresting things can be found by just researching your own past. I highly recommend it for anyone who is curious.
11th Feb 2020
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I am very much a new addition to the site so at the moment, it is a case of finding out what is here and making the best use of it. Have just started looking into my family tree, after being nagged by my son for at least three years! I know there are relatives in Australia = can anyone recommend a site that covers that area of the world? I am aware that the sites with the most information are also the most expensive, which is proving to be a bit of a problem for me.
19th Aug 2018
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I have in the past subscribed to Ancestry and Genes Reunited, I now wish to do some more research and now don't know which site to choose. I obviously want the best value but they all seem quite expensive now. Any suggestions. Thank you.
1st Apr 2016
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I think Calling Blighty is a hearty warming site;
1st Apr 2015
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Family Search:- Latter Day Saints
Freebmd:-Index of Births Marriage Deaths
6th Mar 2015
Thanks for voting!
Familysearch has the world's largest collection of family history records. It is free to use. It has more than 80 local Family History Centres throughout Britain so there is one near you! is the place to go to find out more!

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