Resources

In the course of researching family history, I often come across useful pages and links which would be useful for other family researchers.  I have always believed in sharing these discoveries, I think the community of family history researchers, both amateur and professional, has a long history of giving each other help and support, and I like to be able to share in that whenever I can.

I am going to list the resources in alphabetical order, and add to the list whenever I can.  Please feel free to recommend other resources to me if you have others.

British Genealogy Forum: This forum has a brickwalls forum which offers advice for any brickwalls you may be up against in your own research.

Church of England clergy: This website is very useful for those who have clergy from the Church of England in their family history.

Cornwall: There is an online parish clerk project for Cornwall here.

Devon: There is a Devon Heritage page here.  It gives a lot of information about particular towns and villages, including quotes from public domain directories and gazeteers from the 19th century.   There is a list of online parish clerks for Devon (by parish).  Online Parish clerks are named if you click through a particular parish name, and can be asked direct questions.

The Gentleman’s magazine: I have a blogpost with links to specific issues of the Gentleman’s magazine.

Hampshire: There is an online parish clerk project for Hampshire here.

Heralds’ Visitations: List of links to Herald’s visitations on the internet archive.

Huguenot ancestry: I have collected a lot of links to documents on the internet archive here, particularly the registers available online for the Huguenot Churches in London.

I’ve also put up a page of links to websites with information about Huguenots, Spitalfields, French Genealogy here.

Irish ancestry: There is a non-profit, volunteer-run organisation called Ireland Reaching Out, which helps bring families together and provides advice and information on researching your Irish ancestry.  The Irish Genealogy site offers a lot of links and access to historic births, marriages and deaths where available. That site includes a workbook for researching your ancestors online.

Lancashire: There is an online parish clerk project for Lancashire here.

Newspapers: Newspapers can be an invaluable source for family historians.  Many of the county record offices will have archives of local newspapers.  Some are being digitized and made available online, although most of these are charged for.  However, you may find useful links on this page, which gives links to free newspaper archives all over the world.

Photographs: If you have photographs that need dating, you might consider the Facebook group “Dating old photographs”.  If you have photographs with damage, the Facebook group “Ancestry photo restoration free” may be able to help.  They only deal with black and white or sepia photographs.

If you want photographs to use in your family history, there are a few places which may be useful.  Flickr Commons includes things which are uploaded to Flickr under a Creative Commons licence, many of them from institutions like the British Library.

Pixabay is a very useful resource, with many illustrations which could be useful to a family historian.  All the images are available for any purpose, without any restrictions, although acknowledging the source and giving a credit is appreciated.

Geograph is also a very useful resource for locational photographs, but you must check carefully what licence is attached to any image. Some are not available for any commercial project, many require an attribution.

For background photographs of objects, many of the American Museums are very good sources of Public domain pictures.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is a particularly good source of all sorts of photographs.

Finally, Wikimedia Commons photographs are usually available for use, although some will require an attribution and you have to check carefully whether an image is available for commercial work if you are selling your project.

Ships: Lloyd’s Register has digitised and put online the historical editions of the Register of Ships for family historians and others to be able to consult the books without travelling to London.  This is a wonderful resource for anyone who has ship-owning ancestors.  The books can be searched in Google Books, and are very clear compared to a lot of books on the Internet Archive and Google Books services.

Editions from 1764 to 1899 are available with a few gaps and omissions.  It’s an easy cover page which allows you to navigate into and out of the books very easily.

Slave Ownership: University College London has compiled a slave-ownership database for the 46,000 people who were compensated for their losses at the end of slavery.  If you go to the UCL website for the slave ownership database, you can put in the names of your ancestors and discover if they owned slaves, as between 10 and 15% of the British population are said to have done.

Surrey: There are links to various documents available on the internet archive for Surrey on this page of my blog.

Sussex: There is an online parish clerk for Sussex here.

Warwickshire: (pronounced Worrickshire for those abroad) There is an online parish clerk project for Warwickshire here.

Welsh free resources: at the head of the list is the wonderful website run by the National Library of Wales.  Here you can find wills, marriage bonds, newspaper articles and a whole raft of other material, much of it viewable on the site.  It’s a boon to family history researchers with family from Wales.

Wiltshire: There is an online parish clerk project for Wiltshire here.