When I began tracing my family tree, I realised very quickly it was going to be an expensive hobby.
site subscriptions and buying birth, marriage and death certificates,
the costs mounted quickly so I decided to see what was available online
These are the free sites I found the most useful.
Familysearch.org is provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It offers free searches & results for the England & Wales 1881
Census, as well as free searches for the other Census’ – you have to pay
to view the original documents though & are redirected to find my
past if you want to do so.
They also have a lot of Parish Records
transcribed on the website, so you can sometimes find out information
like Baptism dates, Marriage dates and funeral dates without paying for
the original documents – this is only available if the Parish Records
for the Church have been available to transcribe though – a lot were
lost over time or destroyed during World War 2.
Lancashire Births, Marriages & Deaths
is an index of all the Records available in the Lancashire area, since
registration became compulsory in 1837. It has over 7 million births
listed – dating from 1837 to 1950.
There are also over 3.7 Million Marriages listed, dating from 1837 to 1950.
The site also has over 3.4 Million Death Records listed, again from 1837 to 1950.
It is worth noting these records are still being added, so if you
cannot find the person you’re looking for, the site may not have added
the file yet.
Many other Counties have similar websites – view the list of other BMD websites HERE
For each search you do, you can view the results.
Birth searches show:
Surname, Forename, Mother’s Maiden Name, Year, Sub District, Registers At, Region & Reference.
Marriage searches show:
Surname, Forename(s), Spouse’s Surname, Spouse’s Forename(s), Year,
Church/Register Office, Region, Registers At & Reference.
Death searches show:
Surname, Forename(s), Age At Death, Sub-District, Registers At, Region & Reference.
information can be all you need for your records, but if you are
curious to know more, you can use the reference to order a copy of the
A Birth Certificate will tell you the Father’s name (If Legitimate), Both Parents’ place of birth, occupations and their Father’s names.
A Marriage Certificate will tell you the Bride & Groom’s addresses at the time of marriage, their Father’s occupations and who the witnesses were.
From a Death Certificate, you can find out the cause of death.
personally only bothered buying certificates if I was struggling to
find the next generation, due to their names being very common – Walker
& West were both in the top 10 Surnames in the North-West in the
I found Genes Reunited was the best website to store and edit my family tree.
You can do this for free, and you can search for other relatives using their hot matches service.
If you want to view any records or send messages to other users, you do have to subscribe, though.
will post another genealogy blog soon – this time outlining some of the
chargeable sites I have used & which to avoid. In the meantime: