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. Ancestry.co.uk 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? Ancestry.co.uk’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 Ancestry.co.uk, it still has loads of benefits for members.
Ancestry.co.uk, 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.
Latest posts by Silversurfers Editor (see all)
- Are you an under-roller or an over-roller? - January 22, 2017
- Could these be the world’s most comfortable shoes? - January 20, 2017
- Recreational cycling holidays in Tuscany - January 20, 2017
- 5 Ways to Make your Bedroom more Chic - January 20, 2017
- How would you solve the NHS crisis? - January 19, 2017
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!