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Northumberland County Council > Libraries

History Websites

A selection of the best local and family history websites chosen by the Library's Information Team

Family History  


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Family History


Getting Started

Family History Guide (BBC)

Learn the basics of starting your own research and begin to uncover your family history.

Family Records Beginner's Guide (National Archives)

Let family history experts help you get started with your research. Included in these clips are simple tips on getting key information and building your family tree.

Births, Marriages & Deaths Records

Ancestry Library Edition

This subscription site contains census records from 1841 - 1911 for England & Wales and also Scotland. Among the millions of other records on Ancestry Library Edition are the Birth, Marriage and Death Index from 1837 to the present. Ancestry Library Edition is available FREE of charge in all Northumberland libraries. Don’t forget to click on the section with pink background first – then minimise and choose the section you wish to see.

Free BMD (Births, Marriages & Deaths)

Search the Births, Marriages & Deaths Index (GRO Index) in England & Wales from 1837 free of charge. This is an ongoing project and coverage is limited. From 1837 to 1910 records are fairly well covered but there are some gaps. The home page has graphs showing the coverage of the index. The first search box that appears on the site is an advert link - this is not the search box for Free BMD - look below this for the link to the correct search box. Free BMD can get very busy. Finally - don't expect to get copies of birth or marriages certificates from this site - it's simply an index to the register. To get copies of the certificates you need to visit the General Records Office Site below.

General Records Office

To order a copy of certificate you need to apply to the local registration office where the person was born, married or died or the central General Records Office. You will be sent a certificate at a reduced fee if you can provide the index reference from Free BMD or Ancestry Library Edition.


Census Records

Ancestry Library Edition

Ancestry Library edition contains census records from 1841 - 1911 for England & Wales and also Scotland. Among the millions of other records on Ancestry Library Edition are the Birth, Marriage and Death Index from 1837 to the present. Ancestry Library Edition is available FREE of charge in all Northumberland libraries.

World Census is a non-profit service sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Scotland's People

Scotland's official genealogy site with 90 million records covering census records 1841 – 1911, Old Parochial Records 1553 – 1854 . Birth Banns Marriage and Deaths from Parish registers, Wills and Testaments 1902 – 1925 Register of Coats of Arms. Please note you can often view indexes free of charge but to view a document there is often a charge.

North East Resources

Durham County Records Office

A catalogue of documents held in the County Record Office - derived from the paper catalogues available in the Search Room - compiled over a 40 year period. The site also has a good collection of downloadable information leaflets.

Newcastle Upon Tyne Register Office

A list of records held at Newcastle Register Office.

Northumberland & Durham Family History Society

Founded in 1975, based in Newcastle this society helps its members, from beginners to experienced researchers alike, to learn more about their ancestors, with special emphasis on the Northumberland and Durham areas. New members are welcome.

Northumberland Archives

Northumberland Archives Service (formerly Northumberland County Archives) - lists Northumberland archives, local and family history services available throughout Northumberland can be found here.

Tyne & Wear Archives

Tyne & Wear Archives Service is the record office for the cities and metropolitan districts of Newcastle upon Tyne, Sunderland, Gateshead, South Tyneside and North Tyneside. It preserves documents relating to the area from the 12th to the 21st century, and the service is free for everyone to use.

British & Irish Genealogy

Genes Reunited

Genes Reunited is the UK's largest family tree and genealogy website. Get started by registering FREE, try a search or build your family tree. Discover your ancestors, explore your family history, build your family tree, and contact lost relations


Geneology UK and Ireland describes itself as a 'virtual reference library' of genealogical information of particular relevance to the UK & Ireland. It's a non-commercial service and primarily the information in GENUKI relates to primary historical material, rather than material resulting from genealogists' ongoing research.

National Archives

The National Archives collection is one of the largest in the world and spans an unbroken period from the 11th century to the present day.

Origins Network

Specialist in British & Irish Genealogy Research featuring comprehensive and exclusive record collections dating back to the 13th century, as well as rare and unique photos and books to browse. Access to the records is by subscription with plans available for a 72 hour access or monthly, quarterly and annual recurring subscriptions.

International Geneology

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's database lists 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth in the Debt of Honour Register


Local History



Northumberland Rock Art

Provides Web access to the Beckensall Archive: a large database of panels of rock art by Neolithic and Early Bronze Age people in Northumberland 3,500 – 6,000 years ago.. Also tutorials, maps, video, audio and press clippings.

Archives & Catalogues

Access 2 Archives

A description of archives held locally in England and Wales and dating from the eighth century to the present day.

Beamish Collections Online

This is a unique opportunity to view an ever expanding selection from the vast object collections held at Beamish Museum.

Durham County Record Office

Find out how to trace your family history or search the DRO Database for access to the catalogues of documents we hold and the opportunity to view thousands of photographs.

Multilingual Inventory of Cultural Heritage in Europe

MICHAEL-UK offers you simple and quick access to the rich variety of digital material from UK museums, libraries and archives.

Northumberland Collections Service

An introduction to Northumberland collection services.

Northumberland Collections Service Electronic Catalogue

Our electronic catalogue contains textual descriptions of in the region of 150000 records held by Northumberland Collections Service.

The National Archives

The National Archives is the UK government’s official archive.

Tyne and Wear Archives

Lists the holdings of Tyne and Wear Archives for family and local history researchers.

British Newspaper Archive

The British Newspaper Archive contains millions of pages of historical newspapers from the British Library collection searchable by keyword, name, location, date or title. You can only use this resource from within a library due to licensing restrictions. You will need to register with your email address when you first use the British Newspaper Archive. When you next log in you will have access to the Archive and this will allow access to the archive and to a personal My Research area. This allows you to keep track of your searches and bookmark items into folders plus add notes to aid your research.

Maps & Photographs

Northumberland Communities

The Northumberland Communities website contains a range of learning resource material that reflects Northumberland’s heritage, providing a base for studying the County’s history.

Historic Village Atlas

The Historic Village Atlas reveals how seventeen historic village settlements in Northumberland National Park have evolved over the centuries.

Images of England

You can view over 300,000 images of England’s built heritage from lamp posts to lavatories, phone boxes to toll booths, mile stones to gravestones, as well as thousands of bridges, historic houses and churches.

Old-Maps: The Online Repository of Historical Maps Free 1:10560 scale Historical Mapping for the whole of the UK. Navigate directly to your chosen area using our comprehensive County and Town gazetteers.


ViewFinder presents a selection of historic and more recent photographs from the National Monuments Record's important collections.

Miscellaneous Local History

Durham Mining Museum

History and culture of the coal mining industry in the North of England. Includes details of fatalities, disaster and collieries and pits.

Grimm's Northumberland Sketchbook

Northumberland as it was 200 years ago.

North-East Diary 1939-1945

A day by day account of World War Two incidents in North-East England with extensive background information.

The Border Reivers

A non-academic approach to the story of the Anglo-Scottish Borders during the times of the Border Reivers.

The Lindisfarne Gospels

The Lindisfarne Gospels are amongst the greatest national treasures held by the British Library. This website will link you with many resources to help you enjoy the Lindisfarne Gospels.

The Workhouse: The Story of the Workhouses

This site,, is dedicated to the workhouse — its buildings, inmates, staff and administrators, even its poets...

Tomorrow's History

Regional local studies resource for the North East of England, with digitised material from libraries, museums and record offices.

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