London Genealogy Links

For those of you searching for London ancestors, I have started to put together a summary of the major record repositories, local family history societies and online datasets.

I admit that this is not yet complete and I will be adding to this list from time to time, so do come back and check again later.

Major London Record Repositories and Archives:

The National Archives (TNA) is the main Genealogy Archive repository for England and Wales and the United Kingdom, located in Kew, Richmond, London.  Holds many records useful for London researchers, including UK government records, military records, naturalisation Records and wills and administrations (the latter prior to 1858).  At present, there is the added advantage that the London Family History Centre is also located within the National Archives building in Kew, on a temporary basis.

London Metropolitan Archives  (LMA) holds Church of England parish registers for the majority of London parishes, probate records, poor law papers, as well as education, taxation and civil administration records.  Many of these records have recently been digitised and put online via an ongoing partnership with ancestry.co.uk. This is the main genealogical source for researching London ancestors, unless they lived or worked in Westminster (see below), or were non-conformists.

Guildhall Library holds many primary sources, which mainly relate to the 'square mile' of the City.  This includes, in their manuscript section, records which relate to the City of London livery companies. They also hold a wide range of secondary sources, such as family history society journals and other publications, printed parish register transcripts, Burke's and Debrett's peerage and landed gentry publications, directories of professions (eg Army List, Navy List, Air Force List, Crockford's Clerical Directory, Law List, Medical Directory), printed registers of public schools and universities and the London Gazette.  The library also has an extensive collection of trade and telephone directories for the whole of the British Isles.

City of Westminster Archives Centre (WAC) holds a large collection of books, pamphlets, directories, newspapers, journals, maps & plans, electoral registers, census returns, parish registers, and business archives.  The Westminster records have traditionally been kept separate from the main London repository of the LMA, and as such many of these records are not on Ancestry.  The Westminster parish records are gradually being uploaded onto the FindMyPast website, see here for progress to date.

London Family History Societies

East of London Family History Society covers that part of Greater London, north of the Thames, east of the old City of London gates of Aldgate and Bishopsgate, and through the modern day London Boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Newham, Barking & Dagenham and Redbridge to the edge of Metropolitan Essex at Havering.

East Surrey Family History Society Includes the London Boroughs of Croydon, Kingston, Lambeth, Merton, Richmond, Southwark, Sutton and Wandsworth.  It therefore covers quite a large area which would nowadays be thought of as London.

London, Westminster and North Middlesex Family History Society was formed in 2001 from an amalgamation of two former societies: the London & North Middlesex FHS (formed in 1978) and the Westminster & Central Middlesex FHS. The Society's area now comprises the City of London, the City of Westminster and the London Boroughs of Barnet, Brent, Camden, Enfield, Haringey, Harrow and Islington, together with parts of Ealing and Hillingdon.

West Middlesex Family History Society covers the a large area which is the western part of the ancient English county of Middlesex. This runs from Kensington, Chelsea, Brompton & Fulham as far west as Hillingdon, West Drayton, Staines and Shepperton.  See the parish map on their website for detailed coverage.

West Surrey Family History Society covers mainly the western part of Surrey - see parish map for coverage.  However, this Society has a large publication list, including many publications which relate to the whole of Surrey (or even London).  I would particularly note their most popular publication:  RA6 Guide to Victorian Research in Victorian London, listed on their Research Aids page.


Major Online Datasets for London

Ancestry.co.uk have several major sets of London records including:
All these records are based on data from London Metropolitan Archives and Guildhall Library Manuscripts, London.  The first two of these data sets are very useful for finding baptisms and marriage certificates for London ancestors post 1837 (and can save pounds on sending off for marriage certificates).

Ancestry's London Collection also includes:



FindMyPast.co.uk The findmypast.co.uk 'London Collection' currently includes:
Origins.net has a large number of useful datasets for researching early London ancestors.  They are described here and include:
Origins.net also has a large number of Wills transcripts for the London area:

There is also a map on the Origins website showing the Pre-1858 Probate Jurisdictions for London & Middlesex which is a most useful research aid when looking for London Wills! Many thanks to Jeremy Gibson for this.  

Also thanks to Cliff Webb, West Surrey Family History Society, for many of the transcripts and abstracts on Origins.net.