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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree October 2018 > THE FAMILY HISTORY WEBSITE DIRECTORY


Packed with a handpicked selection of 101 top genealogy websites, our Family History Website Directory covers key areas of ancestor research to help you find the answers you seek. Compiled by Karen Clare

The web can be a bewildering, if exciting, world for family historians.

There is seemingly an entire universe full of websites to explore and many a genealogist has lost happy hours absorbed in their online adventures. As much as that is great fun, quantity is not always as good as quality, and often a little more targeted research can save you time and money in the long run.

With this in mind, we’ve compiled this directory of 101 top genealogy websites (mostly free) to help you navigate your way around the internet as you explore your family’s story. To help you further, we’ve divided the guide into key categories for your ancestor research.

Obviously, lots of websites cover genealogy as a whole, particularly the major subscription ones. Thus, we will begin with them here and will not repeat them elsewhere; take it as a given that you will find coverage of many of the key research categories within their expansive collections.

We hope you find this directory useful to return to again and again. Happy exploring! collections, including Army service records, census records and the 1939 Register, are available online via partnership with some of the subscription genealogy websites mentioned above. TNA also offers free research guides, image library, blogs, podcasts and videos, and more. Use the Discovery catalogue at to search the 32 million descriptions of records held in TNA collections and more than 2,500 archives across the country. More than 9 million records can be downloaded – some for free, others require a small fee.


1 FamilySearch – (free to search but you may have to pay to view some records on partner sites)

2 Free UK Genealogy – – the free online gateway to the volunteer transcription projects FreeBMD, FreeREG and FreeCEN

3 (£)

4 (£)

5 (£)

6 (£)

7 (£)

8 (£)


9 The National Archives The National Archives (TNA) has vast government record collections covering all areas of the British Isles, former Empire and Commonwealth dating back 1,000 years. Many


Find tips on using the major genealogy websites in our free guide at useful-genealogy-websites

10 National Records of Scotland ScotlandsPeople is the official Scottish site for searching government records and archives, maintained by the National Records of Scotland (NRS). Visit it for access to Scotland’s statutory registers of births, marriages, deaths, census returns; church records; valuation rolls, Scottish legal records and much more. It is free to search indexes but records are payper- view and certificates must be purchased. Go to to search the catalogues and indexes for the NRS and National Register of Archives for Scotland and the Scottish Archive Network, browse image galleries and access research guides.

11 National Library of Scotland The library is Scotland’s largest library and one of the major research libraries in Europe. Specialising in Scotland’s knowledge, history and culture, its free digital resources range from rare historical documents to online journals and images. Find a dedicated family history section at

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About Family Tree

Check out our bumper guide to your top 101 must-search family history sites. We've got: Sites to help you track down essential records Online sources to help you dig deeper into your family's story Leads to help you research your family locally and across the globe! By exploring and using the excellent websites in our guide your family history is sure to flourish. Dive in and learn more about your ancestors' lives and livelihoods with our handpicked selection of websites and records to help you...