Useful Websites


Search for your ancestors amongst Ancestry’s extensive collections – their 820 million online records include census returns, BMD indexes, parish registers and probate records. There are also less familiar gems: discover your ancestors’ WWI military service records and medal cards; find your family popping up in the occupational records or on passenger lists; and connect with distant relatives (whether living around the world or around the corner).

Take a look at how Ancestry helped uncover George Robinson’s job as a postman in the 1840s.

British Newspaper Archive

Until recently, searching newspapers used to be a needle-in-the-haystack experience; you needed a pretty clear idea of what event and date you were looking for, and then – with a bit of luck – you might find something after a long trawl through microfilm at the local archives or at the British Library’s out-post at Colindale. It was an eye-straining, time-consuming process. These days, thanks for the BNA’s online access and ‘Advanced Search’ functionality, you can quickly track down family events from your home computer.

See how The British Newspaper Archive helped reveal Uncle Harry’s history as a swimmer and water polo player. Dip into the archive yourself – you’re likely to find material to enrich your family stories.

Historical Directories

This free website contains 675 digitised trade directories for England and Wales, covering the period 1750 to 1919. Trade directories are a vital source for the study of local and family history. As well as providing A-Z listings of private residents, traders, trades and professions, many directories typically include descriptions of cities, towns and villages, and information about local facilities and  institutions. Browse by location: click on the county (then on ‘period covered’ to get an ordered listing), click on a directory of interest, and use the blue ‘Text Search’ box to enter a surname or other keyword – it can be a bit hit an miss, but is often well worth a go.


Create your very own set of high-quality family history postcards, business cards, greetings cards or stickers using photos from your album. The Moo website allows you to upload up to 50 different images for business cards (or 10 different images for postcards). Add some text on the reverse using one of their templates, and Bob’s your uncle – you have a set of family history cards that you can hand out at family gatherings, use as a prompt for storytelling, or just to brighten up your mantlepiece. The printing quality is pukka, and you can choose between rounded or square corners, and several different finishes (matt, gloss, eco-friendly). Take a look at the set of Auntie Mabel cards we created here.

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