Totally free genealogy websites to help you find your UK ancestors in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Start finding your ancestors the frugal way!
As a U.S. based genealogy researcher, I’m thrilled and ready to begin researching my UK ancestors – I have quite a lot of them! We actually joke that all genealogy roads lead to Virginia and all boats to England. ? Okay, that is over simplifying things a bit, but I do have a lot of UK ancestral lines.
Can I find totally free genealogy websites focusing on UK records to get started?
I’m familiar with many U.S. based free genealogy websites. After all, I am a frugal genealogy researcher! But I’m starting from scratch when it comes to researching my UK ancestors.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular free UK genealogy websites.[I want to offer a special thanks to members of the Are You My Cousin? Community Facebook group for their suggestions! If you are not member, we’d love to have you. Simply request to join and answer the question. ]
Free Genealogy Websites To Find Your UK Ancestors
(*Some of the websites are free and some are mostly free.)
1.The UK National Archives – I just love exploring archives both digitally and in person. You just never know what you might find. Some of these record collections are available to view free online, but not all. Others are available to view at FindMyPast or Ancestry.com.
2. Free UK Genealogy – Free access to birth, marriage and death records beginning in 1837. Free UK Genealogy includes Free BMD, Free CEN (census data from 1841 – 1891) and Free REG (records from parish registers). These are ongoing projects, so be sure to check back periodically for any updates or additional records.
3. GENUKI – A virtual library of genealogical resources for UK and Irish genealogy. GENUKI is one of the first free UK genealogy websites to show up when I ask for recommendations.
4. General Register Office (GRO) – As genealogy researchers we are often seeking out birth and death information on our ancestors. The GRO index of births and deaths is free to search. A fee is charged for ordering paper or pdf copies.
5. National Library of Scotland – The National Library of Scotland has fantastic resources for learning how to research your Scottish ancestors. Take time to look through the digital collections. One in particular you do not want to miss is their fantastic collection of maps of Scotland. Don’t underestimate the importance of understanding why you ancestor was in a particular location!
6. Scotland’s People – Scotland’s People is the official Scottish government website for records and archives. The site’s indices are free to search. There is a charge for pay-to-view and download. So, this one’s only partially free.
7. FamilySearch – Don’t forget this long time favorite of genealogy researchers.8. The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913 – Find records and proceedings of London’s Central Criminal Court from 1674 – 1913 here. This is an interesting website I stumbled across accidentally. (Don’t you love it when that happens?) Be sure and check out their tutorials!
9. The National Archives of Ireland – Access free online databases such as Tithe Appointment books, Will calendars and Diocesan and Prerogative Marriage Licence Bonds Indexes, 1623 – 1866.
11. David Rumsey’s Historical Maps – Fantastic (and large) historical map collection including maps from around the world.
Bonus! [This one’s from reader Karen H. Thanks!] – The National Library of Wales Newspaper Collection – An easy to use site where you can search by title or type of content. Find genealogical gems in the coverage of court cases.
And ONE MORE Bonus! Check out Ancestry.com’s free records index. You will find free access to some UK records (+ a lot of others).
Do you have a favorite site not on the list? Share it in the comments below!
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