There is a huge range of genealogical web sites. Here are some of those I have found useful in my own research.

Sites which charge

I use all three of these sites for my research. Each has their own benefits and drawbacks. If you are thinking about taking out a new subscription please use one of these links and help support A Family Story at no cost to yourself.

Ancestry is a huge site with a wide variety of data.

I use this as my primary research site as the search facilities are, I think, the best available. Although it has a higher rate of transcription errors than on the other two sites, the flexibility of searching more than makes up for this, allowing you to search (for example) by Christian name and birthplace, or Christian name and birth year, or by any combination of indexed data. Search results lists are better than those of Find My Past, giving more information and enabling you to find the correct entry more quickly.

The London parish records available here are an absolute boon and well worth searching even if you aren't aware of any family connection with London.

Find My Past

Find My Past is another large site. It includes the 1911 census and its census images can be better than some of Ancestry's. This can mean that records that you cannot locate in Ancestry (especially for 1851) may be found here. Another benefit is the way images are presented, making them very easy to zoom.

The downside of Find My Past for me is the searching. Date ranges default strictly to two years either side of your specified date - not helpful for 1841 where dates were rounded down to the nearest five years. Also the Christian name element of the search only matches against the first name - if you inadvertently type a second name your search will fail.

Another irritation for me is the lack of birthplace in results lists. This can mean having to call up a lot of individual records when you are trying to find the correct match.

TheGenealogist Subscribe to

for access to many unique databases, including The Official Non-Parochial BMDs Service.

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The Genealogist

The Genealogist is smaller than the other two sites but benefits from using UK volunteers who are family historians to create and check data and indexes, so transcriptions are usually very good. It now offers the 1911 census.

I've found the Non-Parochial BMDs here particularly useful.

Free sites
The National Archives logoThe National Archives of the United Kingdom includes wills, medal records, family documents. It is free to search, with a growing collection of document images available to download for a modest fee. Free BMD - an index to births, marriages and deaths.
Lost Cousins logoJoin Lost Cousins for free, enter your ancestors from the 1881 census, and the automated matching process finds other people who share the same ancestors. The matching process, unique to Lost Cousins, generates matches with 100% accuracy. The archive of The London Gazette contains bankruptcy announcements and information about appointments and promotions, amongst other things. is a Family History service sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It can provide you with an extra generation or two that is not available elsewhere on the internet, but its content needs to be treated with caution as sources are not always given. Cyndi's List is a huge, categorised list of links on all things genealogical. It has been running for more than 10 years and is frequently updated. The Long, Long Trail focuses on the British Army in the First World War. It gives masses of helpful information for those researching relatives who served in the war.


Translating Latin words in wills etc

Abbreviations used in medal cards

Non-Genealogical Sites

Go To Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg is is the oldest producer of free ebooks on the Internet. It has a catalogue of 20,000 titles amongst which are titles of interest to local historians and genealogists. I have hosted a number of titles on this site, which give you a taste of what is available. See the eBooks Index. Nothing to do with genealogy, but I find this a brilliant way to keep all my links handy. You can set up and save your own protopage which is then available to you on any computer. I have mine as my home page on both my personal and work computers, with "work" links on private (locked) pages, and genealogy links on public pages that anyone can access. You can include to-do lists, pictures, live pages from other websites and a host of other things.