Useful online resources for the British Isles (see Cyndiís List for many more)
Free resources in red
Family Search - Well-known free resource from the Church of Latter Day Saints, mainly for pre-1837 records. The International Genealogical Index includes the Old Parochial Registers (1553-1854), 1881 Census of the British Isles, Catalogue of the LDS Genealogy Library (from which many items can be ordered on microfilm at LDS centres), and a mass of other information from Parish Registers elsewhere, and files submitted by researchers. As most information is transcribed rather than in original form, information from the site should always be checked against original records. Many marriages and births in the OPR are also available from the Nesbitt/Nisbet Society in a different format.
Ancestry.com - Subscription resource from large company, costing about £70/year for UK content, or by pay-per-view. Vast range of content including census records for England, Wales and Scotland (1841-1901), indexes to England and Wales birth/marriage/death records (1837-present), phone books, and alumni directories etc. From 1984 onwards BMD records for England and Wales can be searched on a database; before that, itís necessary to scroll through lists of names. An excellent one-stop repository. Some local libraries subscribe to Ancestry.
Similar services are provided by other services; see what they cover (and try out the searches) before choosing any one service. If you canít find an ancestor on one, try the search on others as the transcription may be more accurate. Other services also include some overseas and marine registers.
Find My Family - less complete for census records
The Genealogist - strong for local indexes
The National Archives - Handy for some family records if you live near to its depository in Kew, Surrey; otherwise primarily for advanced research. Useful Documents Online shop for digitised wills & some other documents. Note that the Family Records Centre (FRC) in Islington is closing. The National Archives has an excellent Search Engine for English archives in general.
Newspapers: Digitisation is moving fast. At present we know of:
The Times (London) - available free through many local library services
Manchester Guardian - subscription service
Scotsman - subscription service
British Newspapers 1800-1900 - on the way; free access currently only at the British Library and colleges and universities.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission - The "Debt of Honour Register" is the Commission's database listing the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died during the two world wars and the 23,000 cemeteries, memorials and other locations worldwide where they are commemorated. The register can also be searched for details of the 67,000 Commonwealth civilians who died as a result of enemy action in the Second World War.
Genes Reunited - Search 1000s of family trees submitted by users. I have found several cousins using this. Good for re-establishing contacts with living relatives.
Collect Britain - 90,000 images from the British Library. Patchy but sometimes surprises. See Enrich UK for similar sites for some local areas.
Old Maps - Poorly designed website from Ordnance Survey with limited & expensive access to old maps. See the National Library of Scotland as an example of how to do this properly. Modern maps and aerial photos can be found free at Multimap.
ScotlandsPeople - the online resource for anyone researching Scottish ancestry. Includes Births, Marriages, Deaths 1855 onwards, Births, Baptisms, Banns and Marriages 1553-1854, and Census records 1841-1901. Charges for access, but cheaper than making the trip to Edinburgh, for most, and can be used 24 hours/day. Some content can be found free (1881 census, Old Parish Registers)or cheaper elsewhere .
National Library of Scotland - Useful catalogue of books published about Scotland, but primarily useful for a magnificent set of online maps of Scotland.
National Archives of Scotland - Useful catalogue but no online content.
SCAN - the Scottish Archive Network. Online search of many archives.
SCRAN - 200,000 images about the history of Scotland. Always worth a look.
CANMORE - fascinating database of images (only a few digitised) and knowledge relating to historic buildings in Scotland. From the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS). Excellent mapping tool. Register for full access.
England and Wales only
Historical Directories - excellent free resource allowing searches of county/city directories from 1750-1919. Can be used to track where relatives lived (if reasonably affluent) or the addresses of businesses where they worked. Very useful for adding flesh to the story of names and dates - I often use this resource. Worth taking care over the search terms to get exactly what you want.
Free BMD - Free, searchable indexes of births/marriages/deaths from 1837-1920s. Once a likely record has been found, certificates can be ordered online from the General Register Office. There are many local indexes to BMD records - see this list.
A2A Archives to Archives - Local archives in England & Wales. See also:
AIM25 - archives of higher education institutions and learned societies in London
Archives Hub - access to the archives of UK universities and colleges
Society of Genealogists - useful library catalogue.
Images of England - photographs of listed buildings in England. Register for full functionality. See also Pastscape and ViewFinder
ANW - Archives Network Wales
Cambrian Newspaper - 400, 000 newspaper entries from South Wales.
Rootsweb Nisbet Nisbett Nesbit Nesbitt Overall Search
GenForum Nisbet Nesbit Nesbitt
Nisbet Web Site - Guest Book (also useful digitised books)
and donít, of course, forget the Societyís own website and visitorsí book:
Individual web sites
Too numerous to list, but note in particular the genealogies featured on the former Nesbitt Crossroads website (1999-2003) and housed on the Wayback Archive:
Queries (ďCensusĒ) 1-25, 26-50, 51-75, 76-100, 101-125, 126-150, 151-175
Index of family trees NB: you may need to refresh this page or use a mirror site