British Family History

A Guide to Getting Started in Genealogy

Example of a Map from Bartholomew's 1897 Atlas of England and WalesOther Records

Atlases and Maps

Atlases and Maps can be a great aid to finding where your ancestors lived. Over the years streets get knocked down, villages disappear and cities expand. During the second world war many streets were bombed and areas changed out of all recognition.

Some atlases include city/town centre plans and are at a large enough scale to show houses. Bartholomew's 1897 Atlas of England and Wales includes great detail, and shows the structure of towns and cities with outlines of streets. It contains detailed major town and city street maps showing locations no longer in existence through development and bombing in World War II.

Gazetteers

Page from a GazetteerThese contain lists of place names with descriptions. They can give detailed information including information on barony, borough, burgh, chapelry, civil-parish, ecclesiastical parish, hamlet, liberty, market towns, parish, quoad sacra parish, riding, tithing, town land and townships, location, population, distance from nearest rail station, distance from either London or Dublin, soil conditions, natural resources, goods manufactured, names of churches, monuments, and historical information. Some also contain maps to illustrate the county sections.

School/College/University Records

Scene from an old SchoolThese records give you information about pupils in a school or university - they usually include the name, birth date, entrance/leaving dates, address, and career information (where available). Some registers can also give details about the teachers/masters, matches, competitions, prize and honour lists, school sports results, challenge cup holders, and more.

University records usually give the same information, but include more detailed biographies of graduates, as well as listing their achievements. School/College/University records are useful for finding out more about your ancestors' education and to gain an understanding of how different education was back then.

Criminal Registers

Most criminal registers provide details of the offender, including name, aliases, court, offence and sentence/aqquital. These registers can be useful for finding criminals in your ancestral line - the only criminal registers I have found are for counties from 1805 to 1816, from S&N Genealogy Supplies.

Tips & Things to Remember

  • Consider spelling variants, wrong names, and the possibility that it was never recorded.

Where Can I Search these Records?