The 6 best free websites for London family history

By Guest, 13 November 2019 - 12:30pm

Many of our ancestors came to London at some point - and you can trace them with these free websites

Trafalgar Square history London
One of the first aerial views of Trafalgar Square, from 1923 (Credit: De Agostini Picture Library/Getty)

London has been the beating heart of British politics, business and culture for centuries.

Throughout the capital’s exciting and sometimes turbulent history, many of our ancestors were drawn to London in search of a better life.

This means that if you get back far enough in your family tree, it’s highly likely that you’ll find an ancestor who was born, lived or died in London.

With 32 boroughs and a teeming and ever-shifting population, tracing your London ancestors can be challenging.

Get the full guide to researching your London kin and much more expert family history advice in WDYTYA? Magazine November 2019

Luckily, these six websites are a great source of criminal and health records, film clips, historic background and more – and you don’t have to pay a penny.


1. Old Bailey Online

Old Bailey Online

This fully searchable database has information from crimes tried at the Old Bailey (later the Central Criminal Court) between 1674 and 1913.

2. Old and New London

Old and New London

Explore this popular illustrated history which was first published in the 1870s.

3. Collage: The London Picture Archive

Collage: The London Picture Archive

Search more than 250,000 images taken from the collections of the Guildhall Art Gallery and the London Metropolitan Archives.

4. London's Screen Archives

London's Screen Archives

Browse fascinating film clips drawn from borough collections across the metropolis.

5. London Lives

London Lives

Learn more about 18th-century London with data drawn from the City of London sessions, plus City coroners’ records, some parish archives, and Carpenters’ Company and St Thomas’ Hospital records.

6. London's Pulse

London's Pulse

Part of the Wellcome Library’s Digital Collections, here you can explore reports from the medical officer of health between 1848 and 1972, including birth and death rates.



Discover more London resources in WDYTYA? Magazine November 2019


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Was your ancestor a domestic servant?
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How to find your family history on FamilySearch
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