Best British and Irish Genealogy Websites of 2014

By David A. Fryxell Premium
Access vital records, biographies, wills and census data from the United Kingdom and Ireland with these websites.
Irish researchers know the importance of Griffith’s Valuation, dating from 1847 to 1864, especially given the destruction of census records from that period. Well, here you can search it for free, while also exploring e-books, biographies, church histories and Irish architecture.
When you’ve hit dead ends in your British research (as well as in other English-speaking countries worldwide), try this lesser-known paid site ($40 a year or pay per view). Its more than 850 million records include English and Welsh censuses, plus parish, probate, military and civil registration resources you likely haven’t seen elsewhere.
The volunteer transcribers here are serving up 237 million searchable birth, marriage and death (“BMD,” spanning 1837-1983) transcriptions – and counting. Sibling sites offer similarly impressive totals of transcribed UK censuses (FreeCEN) and parish records (FreeREG).
Irish eyes are smiling at this free collection of the 1901 and 1911 Irish censuses, Tithe Applotment Books (1823-1837), soldiers’ wills (1914-1917), the Calendars of Wills and Administrations (1858-1922) and 19th century census survivals (1821-1851). In the works are Valuation Office House and Field Books (1848-1860).
The 1891 England and Wales census is new at this subscription site (about $90 a year for full access), which also includes Griffith’s Valuation and the 1851 and 1901 Dublin City Censuses for finding Irish families. Its real strength, though, is more obscure records, such as directories, burials, will indexes and probate documents.
Got your kilt in a bunch over Scottish genealogy brick walls? This is the place to find answers, starting with free indexes to wills and testaments (1513-1925) and coats of arms (1672-1913). Pay-per-view record collections include censuses from 1841 to 1911, valuation rolls (1885, 1895, 1905, 1915 and 1920) and vital records from parish, Catholic and statutory registers.
Start with the how-to guides here, then delve into the Discovery online catalog. No luck? Try Access to Archives, where you can check more than 400 other record offices and repositories. A new online collection of historical criminal records from England and Wales is also worth a look for black-sheep kin.

Back to the 101 Best Websites of 2014 main page.

From the September 2014 issue of Family Tree Magazine