Helps for UK and England
[ Home | New | Search | Guide | Counties | Surnames | Music | Site Map | Links | Exit Frames |

Research in England and "UK" in General

[Irish and other British Isles folk traveled back and forth a great deal. For that reason we include here a smattering of helps to get one started tracing in England. There is no atttempt to be complete... this is just a starting spot. This page is really for our own use, and we tuck things that we find helpful or intriguing into it! WORLD GenWeb and GENUKI have the definitive sites, and you'll find links for them below]   :)

GenUKI       England GenWeb

General Register Office (England & Wales)
Postal Enquiries
General Register Office,
P.O. Box 2,
Merseyside PR8 2JD
Tel: (0151) 471 4816
Fax: (01704) 55 00 13

In Person
The Family Records Centre,
1 Myddelton Street,
London EC1R 1UW
Tel: (0181) 392 5300
Fax: (0181) 392 5307

Certificates are also available in Braille.
A part of the Office for National Statistics, the GRO is responsible for the recording of births, marriages, and deaths in the England & Wales since 1837. It is to the GRO one applies to obtain certified copies of birth, marriage, and death certificates.
Note that Scotland has its own GRO(S)

  • The Office for National Statistics - ONS
    The ONS is responsible for the conduct of the English and Welsh censuses and, through it's GRO branch, for the registration of all births, marriages, and deaths since 1837.

    Public Record Office,
    Ruskin Avenue,
    Kew, Richmond,
    Surrey TW9 4DU
    Tel: (0181) 876 3444
    Fax: (0181) 392 5307
    Email: [email protected]
    The PRO is the national archive of England, Wales and the United Kingdom. The web pages
    include links for inquiries about visiting the PRO, its records, and information for genealogists.

    If you actually plan to travel to PRO to research you will spend a lot of time figuring out what they have and how to access it - same as PRONI (Public Records Office of Northern Ireland). Studying these resources online and/or gleaning information prior to a trip there will facilitate your valuable research time."
  • GENUKI's Help with the PRO

  • The India office records at the British Library
    96 Euston Rd, London NW1
    phone: +44 171 412 7873
    e-mail [email protected]
    They also have the marriage records for India.

    The Irish Genealogical Research Society - London
    has a library housed in the basement of the Irish Club,
    82 Eaton Square, London SW1W 9AJ,
    which is open to visitors on Saturday afternoons from 2pm to 6pm,
    for a fee of 5 per visitor per afternoon,
    which contributes towards an annual membership of 16 (it may have gone up).

    You can find a complete listing of all the Chapman Codes for the British Isles on the GENUKI site.

    British Isles Family HistorySociety in America A WEALTH of information !!

    To find which Registration District a town is located in, click on
    the following site, scroll down to the correct county. There you'll
    find the primary cities, sub-districts, GRO Volumes, and small towns.

    Counties and changes for genealogists is a big help!

    Maps of Counties in England

    British Isles Family History Society

    Check The IIGS BDM Exchange or the UK BDM Exchange and then go on to the
    Family Records Centre at 1 Myddelton St London EC1R 1UW UK
    General Enquiries:
    Tel: 0181 392 5300
    Fax: 0181 392 5307
    Minicom: 0181 392 5308
    Certificate Enquiries: 0171 233 9233
    (for international phone calls, remove the leading '0' and replace with your international dialling prefix plus '44')

    The Family Records Centre provides a new home for the research facilities previously provided at St Catherine's House and the Census Reading Rooms in Chancery Lane London. The Centre provides a family history service to visitors, advising them on how to use our wealth of genealogical records. They can also advise on matters relative to the registration of births, adoption, marriages and deaths. The Family Records Centre (FRC) is run jointly by the General Register Office (GRO) and the Public Record Office (PRO). The FRC brings together some of the most important sources for family history. The material held at the FRC includes indexes of births marriages and deaths in England and Wales since 1837; indexes of legal adoptions in England and Wales since 1927; and the PRO's most widely consulted documents - population census returns for England and Wales from 1841 to 1891.

    Indexes of births, marriages & deaths in England & Wales since 1837
    Indexes of legal adoptions in England & Wales since 1927
    Indexes of births, marriages & deaths of some British citizens abroad
    since the late 18th century, including the deaths in the two World wars.
    (Certificates can be purchased of any entry in the above indexes)
    Microform copies of Census of Population returns (1841-1891)
    Microfilms of Estate Duty Office death duty registers from 1796-1858, with indexes from 1796-1903
    Microfilms of registered copies of wills and administrations up to 1858 from the Prerogative Court of Canterbury
    Non-parochial registers from 1567-1858
    Miscellaneous foreign returns of births, deaths & marriages from 1627-1960

    You can place an order by post, fax or telephone.
    Normal fee within the UK is 6 pounds sterling, with delivery in four working days.
    Ring 0151 471 4800 for further information and details of fees

    Paid research can be undertaken for the census and wills holding at the Centre - Please ring 0181 392 5300 for further details

    Mon, Wed, Fri 9am to 5pm
    Tues 10am to 7pm
    Thurs 9am to 7pm
    Sat 9.30am to 5pm

    Some general Comments that apply to censuses for 1841 - 1891 unless otherwise stated.
    • The census books we see were NOT carried by the enumerators. Instead the enumerator copied his sheets into the book later. Not all adhered to the route they took, and may have copied entires in many different ways. Apparent neighbours were not always what they seem.

    • Many people gave as their place of birth their earliest remembered place of residence.
    • Terms such as Brother and Brother-in-Law were used interchangeably and somewhat unreliably.
    • A boarder shares the dinner table with the family, a lodger has separate accomodations.
    • Many night-workers were missed on all the censuses, although theoretically included from 1851 on.
    • The occupation of 'dressmaker' was commonly given by prostitutes.
    • The terms lunatic, imbecile and idiot were used in a pretty confused and confusing manner, but there was, in theory a definition:
        Lunatic: A mentally ill person with periods of lucidity.
      • Imbecile: "Persons who have fallen in later life into a state of chronic dementia"
      • Idiot: "..those who suffer from congenital mental deficiency."
    • The term annuitant could describe someone on an annual allowance as well as someone receiving annual income from an investment. Often however, it was used also used for institutionalized pensioners.

    • In 1841 the term Ag. Lab was used to describe "all farming servants and labourers in husbandry".
    • From 1851 - 1851 enumerators were given explicit instructions to exclude women's domestic work in the family from the "Occupation" column.
    • From 1861 onwards a child was described as a scholar if he/she was over 5 and receiving daily schooling *OR* regular tuition at home. There was no definition of the latter.
    • In 1871 the census officials in London broke the confidentiality pledge and divulged the names of all children 3-13 and their parents (with addresses) to the London School Board to help enforce compulsory education.

    • The following are *some* of the missing returns:
      1841: Kensington, Paddington, Golden lane and Whitecross
      1851: Salford and parts of Manchester badly water-damaged. Also all ships' returns.
      1861: Belgravia and Woolwich Arsenal.

    Newport/Pledger Index to Registration Districts UK from 1837

    This is a little booklet which lists all the Registrations Districts of England and Wales that have been used since civil registration began in 1837 and their successor districts as and when changes have occurred since that date.

    The list also includes the date related Volume Numbers under which the registrations pertaining to a particular district are held at the General Register Office in London and hence on the microfiche available in Libraries and repositories world-wide.

    The booklet also contains a second listing listing of the Districts sorted alphabetically by County and a list of the County abbreviations used. It does NOT, repeat NOT, contain a list of current Registration Offices or their addresses.

    The booklet is approximately 100 pages A5 size and neatly bound and costs 5.50 which includes postage. Orders and requests for more information should be sent direct to
    P.Pledger. 2 Warner Road, Selsey.
    West Sussex. UK. PO 20 9 AL or
    perhaps by e-mail to Selsey Regeneration Ltd
    [email protected]

    "What is the Domesday book?" It is a detailed census taken at behest of William the Conqueror who invaded England from Normandy (France) in the year 1066. It may prove useful to anyone who can trace family back to medieval times as it lists land and other property held by families in each county. However there is not much info on the northern regions (Scotland) or Wales and women are rarely recorded.

    It may not be ALL that useful, as it came out about 150 years before the use of surnames became a growing practice. So don't start there! ;)

    Anyone wishing to obtain translated copies of Domesday Book may do so by contacting the following publisher: Phillimore & Co. Ltd., Shopwyke Hall, Chichester, West Sussex, PO20 6BQ, England You can purchase each county separately or the whole set.

    The Hampshire page,, has indexes for the 1891 and 1851 census for Hampshire.

    The good news is that the 1891 UK census is readily available. The bad news is that it is not indexed. :(
    Except for Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, where the local FHS *has* produced an index :-)
    And for sale!

    and the 1901 is online!

    Rulers of England and Great Britain

    Ethelred I866-871
    Edmund II Ironside1016-1016
    Edward the Confessor1042-1066
    Harold II1066-1066
    William I the Conqueror1066-1087

    828 - 839Egbert
    839 - 855Aethelwulf
    855 - 860 Aethelbald
    860 - 866Aethelbert
    866 - 871Aethelred
    871 - 899Alfred the Great
    899 - 925Edward the Elder
    925 - 939 Athelstan
    939 - 946Eadmund I, the Magnificent
    946 - 955 Eadred
    955 - 959Eadwig, the Fair
    959 - 975Edgar, the Peaceful
    975 - 978Edward, the Martyr
    978 - 1013 Aethelred II, the Redeless (Unready)
    1013 - 1014 Swegn of Denmark, Forkbeard
    1014 - 1016 Aethelred II again
    AprNov 1016 Eadmund II, Ironside
    1016 - 1035 Canute the Dane
    1035 - 1040 Harold I, Harefoot
    1040 - 1042 Harthacanute
    1042 - 1066 Eadward, the Confessor
    1066 Harold II
    1066 - 1087 William I, the Conqueror, bastard
    1087 - 1100 William II, Rufus
    1100 - 1135 Henry I, Beauclerc
    1135 - 1154 Stephen
    AprNov 1141 Matilda the Empress
    1154 - 1189Henry II, Plantagenet, Curtmantle
    1189 - 1199Richard, Coeur de Lion
    1199 - 1216John, Lackland, Softsword, Dollheart
    1216 - 1272Henry III
    1272 - 1307Edward I, Longshanks
    1307 - 1327Edward II, of Caernarvon
    1327 - 1377Edward III
    1377 - 1399Richard II
    1399 - 1413Henry IV, of Bolingbroke
    1413 - 1422Henry V
    1422 - 1461Henry VI
    1461 - 1470Edward IV
    1470 - 1471Henry VI again
    1471 - 1483 Edward IV again
    AprJun 1483Edward V
    1483 - 1485 Richard III
    1485 - 1509 Henry VII
    1509 - 1547 Henry VIII
    1547 - 1553 Edward VI, the Boy King
    1553 - 1558Mary, Bloody Mary
    1558 - 1603 Elizabeth I
    1603 - 1625 James I
    1625 - 1649 Charles I
    1649 - 1659 The Interegnum (Oliver Cromwell etc.)
    1660 - 1685 Charles II
    1685 - 1688 James II
    1689 - 1694 William III & Mary II
    1694 - 1702 William III (after death of Mary)
    1702 - 1714Anne
    1714 - 1727 George I
    1727 - 1760 George II
    1760 - 1820 George III
    1811 - 1820 The Regency of Geo. IV
    1820 - 1830 George IV
    1830 - 1837 William IV
    1837 - 1901 Victoria
    1901 - 1910 Edward VII
    1910 - 1936 George V
    1936 - Edward VIII
    1936 - 1952 George VI
    1952 - Elizabeth II

    KINGS & QUEENS OF ENGLAND, a rhyme for school children

    Willy, Willy, Harry, Stee,
    Harry, Dick, John, Harry Three,
    One, Two, Three Neds, Richard Two
    Harry Four, Five, Six, then who?
    Edward Four, Five, Dick the Bad,
    Harrys Twain and Ned the Lad,
    Mary, Bessie, James the Vain,
    Charlie, Charlie, James again,
    William and Mary, Anna Gloria,
    Four Georges, William and Victoria.
    Edward Seven, then George Five,
    But Edward Eight preferred his wife.
    George the Sixth did then arrive
    And Lizzie Two is still alive.


    First William the Norman; then William his son;
    Henry, Stephen and Henry, then Richard and John;
    Next Henry the Third, Edwards One, Two and Three;
    And again, after Richard, three Henries we see;
    Two Edwards, third Richard; if rightly I guess,
    Two Henries; Sixth Edward; Queen Mary; Queen Bess;
    The Jamie, the Scotsman, then Charles who they slew;
    Yet received after Cromwell, another Charles too.
    Next James the Second ascended the throne;
    Then William and Mary together came on
    Till Anne, Georges four and Fourth William all past,
    God sent Queen Victoria, may she long be the last!
    But 60 years later, she too want to Heaven
    And next on the throne was her son Edward Seven;
    George the Fifth, Edward Eighth (abdication not reckoned);
    And at last George the Sixth and Elizabeth Second.

    The Peerage in Britain and Ireland can be quite complicated, and this is merely a very general statement. The nobility have their titles because at some stage in the past they rendered a particular service to the monarch, or in return for something they undertook to serve the King. These services could range from being the Mistress of the Monarch - a number of English Dukes, through distinguished action in war or peace, to being a retired politician turned out to grass.

    There is a very, very good book which will lay out for you all the different ramifications of the British and Irish nobility. It's called Debretts Correct Form, and by the time you finish reading it you will know most of what you need, down to and including the right way to address the divorced wife of the second son of an Irish chieftan!

    Technically there are no less than five different peerages. In order of Precedence: the Peerage of England, of Scotland, or Ireland, of Great Britain, and of the United Kingdom. There are degrees of the peerage.

    In descending order of importance they are Dukes, Marquesses (some of which are spelt Marquis), Earls, Viscounts, Barons. The above are all hereditary titles, passing on usually from father to son. but can also pass on from mother to son or mother to daughter or Father to daughter. There are also Judges who are created Peers and also people who have been appointed to be peers for life. They are all the rank of life peers. The title is not passed on to any of their children. Strictly speaking in Scotland there are no Barons, they are called Lords of Parliament. To make things even more complicated there are also Baronets. This is a hereditary title Sir * * but they are not peers.

    To add confusion some people hold more than one title, because they have inherited them, ie the Earl of A is also the Earl of B and is called the E of A&B. In many cases families have worked their way up so that the Earl of A&B is also the Viscount C, and Lord D.

    Sometimes the title is the family name, but more often the title has no connection with the family name. Given that there are some 1200 peers of one kind or another it is a very specialist field, and only the really dedicated know very much about more than one or two. In some cases they are so complicated that even families which you know about are of baffling complexity.

    Knight: Sir John Smith, addressed as Sir John, the title conferred by the monarch for the lifetime of the holder only. His wife is addressed as Lady Smith. never Lady Mary, unless she is the daughter of a Duke or Earl in her own right.

    Baronet: Sir John Smith, addressed as Sir John. His title is hereditary, but passes only to the male heirs. If Sir John has no son, the title passes to his brother. oldest living male cousin, etc. His wife is addressed as Lady Smith. Interestingly there are very few of these titles given out nowadays. The last one created was Sir Denis Thatcher, husband of Margaret Thatcher former Prime Minister. Just to confuse the issue, she is known as Lady Thatcher, but that is because she was given that title for life by the Queen. The word is she asked for her husband to have his title so that her son and grandson could carry it on.

    Viscount: The lowest hereditary title where the holder is called "Lord." This is where things begin to get confusing. Most members of the British aristocracy have not only a title, but a family name as well. You may run across a Viscount known as Lord Inverness, when his family name is actually John Smith.

    Directory of British Peerages by Francis L. Keeson; published Society of Genealogists; 1984, is also helpful.

    The way the United Kingdom is subdivided politically:

    There is one aspect of the parish record for marriages that is often overrlooked - it shows the actual signature or mark of the bride and bridegroom and others. So a photocopy rather than a filled in blank form by some clerical person has additional family history value. All UK parishes have these for 1837 onwards. Many also have them as far back as 1790 or earlier.

    Guide Page or Other Country Index

    [an error occurred while processing this directive] wonderful Irish genealogist to have visited
    © 1999-2002 Fianna Webmaster Team
    Last modified Monday, 10-Sep-2018 17:03:14 MDT
    This page hosted by Rootsweb