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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree February 2018 > Unusual must-search websites & archives

Unusual must-search websites & archives

We asked a group of expert family historians to share their favourite little-known must-search archive sources and websites. Explore their inspired tips to reinvigorate your own genealogy research in 2018


David Annal

England & Wales Jurisdictions 1851

This is a source that I use practically every day. Just type the name of your parish or place of interest into the search box at and away you go! A pop-up box will give you a lot of important information (the dates of the parish registers, a list of other places within the parish and the various jurisdictions under which it fell) and you can also bring up lists of other nearby parishes within a specified radius. Best of all, it’s map-based and you can overlay the parish, county, hundred or registration district boundaries on a modern map, a satellite map or an old Ordnance Survey (OS) map. There is no better source to help you get to grips with your ancestors’ world and where you might find records to track them down.

David Annal is former principal family history specialist at The National Archives, author, lecturer and runs his own research business, Lifelines Research. He is also the Family Tree Academy tutor (see page 10)

Try David’s favourite web resource, FamilySearch’s England & Wales Jurisdictions 1851

Bruce Durie


I have no idea why, but ScotlandsPlaces at is the best-kept secret in Scottish genealogy. Maybe it’s the name – ‘ScotlandsPlaces’ sounds like it’s just about, well, places. But in fact it’s a fabulous source for names, too. After all, people live in places. This is a collection of land and tax records as far back as the late 1600s, maps back to the 1500s, plans, OS name books and many more resources. The majority were crowd-source-transcribed in an heroic project. Just put a surname into the rather primitive search engine (no wild cards, sadly). Many of the page images come with a full text-searchable transcript below. So there are fewer palaeographic challenges, too! And, best of all, including all searches and downloads, it’s completely free! Thank you, Scottish Government.

Dr Bruce Durie is a professional genealogist and heraldist living and working in Scotland, and is Shennachie to the Chief of Durie and to COSCA. He spent most of 2016 in the USA researching Scottish Lowlands Migration courtesy of a Fulbright Senior Scottish Studies Scholar award. He also has Right of Audience at the Court of the Lord Lyon, and teaches Genealogy and Heraldry courses at the University of

This image is from the cart tax rolls for 1785-1798 (volume 7, E326/7/7/3) at ScotlandsPlaces. Bruce had no idea he had a collateral ancestor who was a gardener in the Burgh of Aberdeen in the 1780s, and owned a two-wheeled cart!
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About Family Tree

Would you like to find out those must-search sources that professional genie researchers use? We've asked a crew of top-notch family historians to share their go-to websites and records. A positively useful read, it is sure to inspire you to dig deeper and search further on your ancestor-hunting quest. Plus we've got an article packed with tried and tested advice for tracking down long-lost relations all over the globe - these new-found cousins can be an absolute boon to your research (and great fun to meet too). And we've got a delightful read which will show you how a genealogy research conundrum doesn't mean the end of your investigations, but the chance to flex your detective muscles and get better and better at tracing your family tree. Enjoy!