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Ask-the-Pros – Question and Answer – Searching for English Records

Question

I have a world explorer membership with Ancestry.com, and would like to know the best way to search for my family in England? Everything to this point has been futile. Does Family Search have searches for England?

Answer

No one website has all of the genealogy records for England or anywhere else, for that matter. As important as it is to search the records, knowing where to search is equally as important. To get started, go to the FamilySearch.org Research Wiki and start with the article entitled appropriately, “England.” I would suggest that one place to start is with the link to the guide called “Finding Records of Your Ancestors in England 1837 to 1901.” This will a good place to start your English research and will give you links to many records you can search for free.

As for your question about Ancestry.com, you may wish to go to the “Card Catalog.” This is a list of all of the record collections on the Ancestry.com website. The link to the Card Catalog is also called “See all the records.” From this list of all of the collections, you can filter out only those records that pertain to England by making selections along the left-hand side of the Card Catalog page. You will find that Ancestry.com has over 1,700 collections with information about the United Kingdom and well over 100o for England.

You will also find a great number of original source records on FamilySearch.org. From the startup page, you click on the “Search” link at the top of the page. Then you will see a map and a list of countries. When you click on United Kingdom and Ireland, you will see that FamilySearch.org has over 100 original source records available.

You should search the individual collections of records that cover the time period and place where your ancestors lived, whether you are searching in Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org or any other website.

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