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3 Must See Resources for English Research

3 Must See Resources for English Research

If you’ve checked the news or current events you know that right now England is celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee. While everyone is celebrating her 70 years on the throne, it’s a good time to take a look at what online resources might benefit your family history research. The following three are some of my favorites.

Connected Histories: British History Sources 1500-1900 

Connected Histories

“Connected Histories brings together a range of digital resources related to early modern and nineteenth-century Britain with a single federated search that allows sophisticated searching of names, places and dates.”

There is so much to explore here from newspapers and maps to databases and histories. I suggest familiarizing yourself with the website by clicking on Resources at the top to see all that the website includes. Next, click on Guides for more on specific topics including family history. Aside from social and local history, you may find an ancestor in databases such as The Clergy of the Church of England Database or The Proceedings of the Old Bailey Online, 1674-1913, to name a few (more on this database below).

University of Leicester’s Historical Directories of England and Wales 

Historical Directories


The Historical Directories of England Wales website includes “trade and local directories for England and Wales from the 1760s to the 1910s. The collection contains 689 directories, with at least one directory for every English and Welsh county for the 1850s, 1890s and 1910s. Searchable by name, place and occupation this is an essential tool for local, urban and family history.”

Before searching the website, make sure to click on the links to learn more about directories as historical sources and the tips for searching the website. This digital collection is part of the University of Leicester’s Special Collections which includes a history of medicine and local histories databases.

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913 

Old bailey

Court records provide much-needed depth about our ancestors and The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913 website is a “fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court.”

Historical background, a getting started guide, and a guide to searching are all available from the website's homepage. From the homepage search, your results list will include transcribed information but there is also the opportunity to look at the original document. Click on the Historical Background link at the top to access a Glossary for all of those unfamiliar historic terms. You can also find various articles to help you better understand the records and time periods including one on Gender in the Proceedings.

What Will You Be Researching This Weekend?

Celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee by learning more about your English ancestors’ lives. The three websites mentioned above are just a few that can help you add information to their story. What websites are your favorites? Share those websites in the comments below.


Gena Philibert-Ortega is an author, instructor, and researcher. She blogs at Gena's Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. You can find her presentations on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.



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I concur re the second two resources - they're two of my favourites. So much can be found there!

Thanks for reminding me of the first - I've been there before, but don't use it regularly. Must check it out again :)

My essential site for authenticating British ancestors born after 1837 is the UK General Register Office database This has birth registrations from 1837 and states mother's maiden name throughout. This has untangled many problems where parentage was uncertain. It also has death registrations giving the age at death throughout. The birth database is a particular confidence booster Both databases accept suggestions for corrections.

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