Online resources for researching family history

There are plenty of excellent websites which can help with your family history.

The best tend to charge a subscription, which can make online research at home an expensive process.

The Oxfordshire History Centre has a subscription to the two major online sites, Ancestry and FindMyPast, enabling you to access them free of charge in our searchroom.

Both websites are also available free of charge through the Library Service online reference service.

Ancestry Library Edition

Access to Ancestry Library's vast collections of British and American vital records, includes these key UK sources:

  • 1841-1901 census returns for England, Wales and Scotland
  • 1911 census summary books for England and Wales
  • General Register Office Indexes of births, marriages and deaths 1837-2005
  • UK and Ireland parish registers, 1500s to1900s (selective)
  • UK city and county directories 1766 to 1946 (selective)
  • British phone books 1880-1984
  • UK incoming passenger lists 1878-1960
  • British Army pension and service records 1914-1920
  • British Army medal roll index cards 1914-1920
  • UK Naval medal and award rolls 1793-1972
  • Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919
  • The National Probate Index of Wills and Administrations from 1861 to 1941
  • Navy lists 1888-1970.

Discover more about Ancestry’s major research collections:

Find My Past

Providing a valuable comparison with Ancestry Library, we also offer free online access to Find My Past's collections of British vital records, including these key sources:

  • Oxfordshire wills listed in the National Wills Index
  • 1841-1901 enumerators' for England and Wales
  • 1911 census householders' returns for England and Wales
  • General Register Office Indexes of births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales 1837-2006
  • General Register Office overseas and military births, marriages and deaths 1761-2005
  • Divorces and matrimonial causes index 1858-1903
  • Parish records collection 1538-2005 (selective)
  • Convict arrivals in New South Wales 1788-1842
  • Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919
  • Army Roll of Honour 1939-1945
  • British Army prisoners of war, World War 11
  • Merchant Navy crew lists 1861-1913
  • Merchant Navy seamen 1918-1940
  • Apprentices of Great Britain 1710-1774 (Inland Revenue tax records).

Family search

The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints has a website providing records and indexes it has gathered for family historians over several decades, including the International Genealogical Index and later resources.

Family Search can be accessed in our searchroom.

Other online sources

Authoritative web sites providing support for new family historians include:

A growing number of sources online can also put you in touch with other people who might share the same family history as you: