From: John Brown

Date: 12/03/03 05:51:48


Subject: [Lon] Helpful Advice for London Listers – *Updated*

This regular post is a guide, especially for newcomers to London

genealogy and to this List, but also for any others who may find it

useful. It is posted with the permission of the Listowners.


Note : urls added since the last posting are marked **


Dear All,

This is a post designed to help all of those newer members of the list,

and any of the older ones who feel they need it, to identify where they

may be able to obtain information for themselves before posting

questions to the List. The intention is to help List members to help

themselves, to avoid the posting of repetitive or unrealistic requests,

as sometimes happens, and to make it easier for other List members to

identify the subject and to respond effectively.

Start by giving your messages a clear and informative subject line;

‘Surname’, ‘1861’ or ‘Camberwell’ will probably gain you zero

responses, while a combination like ‘Smithers, 1861, Camberwell’ will

immediately attract more attention. Remember that by posting sensible

and reasonable questions, written with appropriate punctuation and use

of capitals and that demonstrate a degree of thought, you are much more

likely to receive useful replies. If you are replying to a previous

post, it also helps to include the relevant part of the message you are

replying to but *not* a whole string of previous messages; many list

members will simply delete the lot without reading any of it. Failure to

post some relevant pre-cursor to your own post may well result in

similar treatment.

This List deals with London; before you start posting, find out what

that actually means. ‘London’ has covered different areas at different

periods in history; the confusion caused by boundary changes involving

the surrounding counties of Middlesex, Surrey, Essex and Kent, and the

creation of an administrative county of ‘London’, is something we all

have to deal with – do not expect simply to appear here with a ‘I’m new

here please tell me everything I need to know’ message. Try searching

‘Google’ for some of the history or do some research at your local

library, even consider a visit to a bookshop.

Obtain a good understanding of the area in which your ancestors lived;

this may tell you much more than can be gleaned from a simple address.

Do not ask questions about the various localities of London before you

have bought a map or tried asking a few questions of ‘Google’ – you’ll

be amazed what knowledge you can put together and what satisfaction

you will get from doing it yourself 🙂

Recognise that London is, and has for a long time, been a very large

place; questions asking for ‘SKS’ to look up ‘my g granddad Bert Jones

in St Pancras in 1861′ may not sound too unreasonable; in reality, there

were many thousands of people living in St Pancras in 1861 and such a

search will take many hours of, possibly fruitless, effort. Surname

indexes are not yet available for most censuses, meaning that name and

address are the minimum requirement for successful look-up requests in

1841, 1861 and 1871; 1851 is better covered but surname indexes are

mostly on fiche or paper and, individually, cover only small areas, so

at least a local area is needed. There is an on-line surname index for

1891 (ppv) , but you still need to provide as much information as

possible to keep the search results to a manageable number in many

cases; ‘Smith in London’ is a non-starter. A partial surname index for

1891 is also available on CD, and on-line, from S & N – see below for

their web-site details.

Do some research to find out what indexes are available and join a

relevant Family History Society (FHS). Consider what may be available

via your local Family History Centre (FHC). Recognise that while there

are many people who will help you, they cannot be expected to do your

research for you.

Newcomers to genealogy should do some background reading on the

subject; on the internet, you can start at

where you will find many other references to follow up, including

pointers to many FHSs and references to various books that will help.

You should make sure that you have a good quality dictionary – many

questions, including most of those about occupations, illnesses and

causes of death, can be easily answered from such a source.

Newcomers to this List should have a look at the List Archives (URL

below) where you will find that many questions have already been

answered exhaustively.

You may already be aware of many other websites, but I will list a few

particularly useful ones here (in no particular order). Please note that

some longer urls may ‘wrap around’, so take care when using or


London-l mailing list archives :

Genuki home page, a major resource site with links to many hundreds of

other genealogy sites :


The ‘A to Z’ of British Genealogy by Dr Ashton Emery

London Registration Districts – dates and composition :

A Guide to some of the records held at the Guildhall Library :

Contact details for English and Welsh Register Offices :

Barry Ruck’s web site for Genealogy FAQs, including census dates and

details of transcriptions available :

General Rootsweb mailing lists archives interface :

The LDS FamilySearch site, including the 1881 UK census and IGI as

well as details of FHCs world-wide :

Finding aid for IGI batch numbers :


The on-line UK 1901 Census website :

The ‘1901 England & Wales Census Decoder’ software to assist with

analysis of census search results :

Index to Institutions in the 1901 census : website with chargeable access to the 1891 census for

England, Wales the Isle of Man and Channel Islands :

The ongoing project to provide an on-line index of the UK Censuses

from 1841 to 1891 :

On line access to partial UK census surname indexes :

The ongoing project to provide a computer index of the English &

Welsh BMD indexes :

On-line images of the English & Welsh BMD indexes (chargeable access);

(note that the originals are correctly referred to as the GRO indexes,

not St Cath’s or St Catherine’s – they have not been held at St

Catherine’s House since 1997, but at the Family Records Centre)

On-line access to various UK genealogy records, including some locally

created BMD indexes :

The ‘Parish Locator’ programme – downloadable and free :

Details of Family Record Centre services, including descriptions of what

is included on certificates and how to order them :

**Contact addresses for UK BMD, Overseas and Adoption records at ONS :

ONS on-line certificate ordering service (trial for UK Residents only) :

Commemorative records of British and Commonwealth servicemen, and

some civilians, killed in the 2 World Wars, and their immediate


The Origins website, including access to a range of English, Irish and

Scottish records :

The Official website of the General Register Office for Scotland

(Scotland’s People) where you can find BMD, Census and parish records :

The Scottish Archive Network for information on Scottish archives and

on-line access to an index of Scottish Wills :

Abney Park Cemetery burial index, containing over 193,00 entries :

Parish Registers and M I’s for Tottenham, All Hallows :



Burials at St Mary Magdalene Old Fish Street 1813 – 1853 :

Cemeteries in Wandsworth including information on searches :


‘Tombstones & Monumental Inscriptions’ : worldwide site maintained by

Guy Etchells, with various links for London and the S E of England.

Miscellaneous cemetery transcription links for the UK :

Home page of the UK National Archives (inc. PRO) :

Index to PRO Information leaflets, where you can find guidance on a

vast array of records including older (pre-1858) wills and estates and

military records..

PRO Documents OnLine including access to PCC wills :

A2A Database of archives held in over 300 depositories throughout the

UK, currently containing almost 5 million references :

The Hospital Records Database, including details of what records are

available and where they are held :

The story of the British Army in the Great War 1914 – 1918 including

much background detail and family history advice :

“The National Archivist” website for access to an increasing and varied

collection of records on-line (ppv) (no direct connection with the

National Archives) :

Home page of the British Library Newspaper Library where you can

search to find what newspapers were in existence in the areas in which

your ancestors lived and may be available for searching now :

London Gazette home page :

Details of how to obtain Wills and Probate Records (post 1858) :

NOTE that postal applications should not be sent to the address given

on the website but addressed to :

The Postal Searches and Copies Department

District Probate Registry

Castle Chambers

1 Clifford St



London Metropolitan Archives home page :


Westminster City Archives home page :

Guildhall Library home page :


Society of Genealogists home page :

The Federation of Family History Societies (FFHS) home page :

FFHS ‘FamilyHistoryOn-Line’ website for various on-line databases (ppv)

On-line index of Middlesex marriages taken from various parish registers

Explanations of the Poor Laws, the operation of Workhouses, what

records are available and where they may be found :

The London & North Middlesex FHS (inc. Westminster & Central

Middlesex FHS) website :

note : There is no e-mail facility and all contact apparently needs to

be by ordinary post to either :

Mr or Mrs Gibbens, 1d Uplands Park Road, Enfield, Middx. EN2 7PS. or

Mr & Mrs W. Pyemont, 57 Belvedere Way, Kenton, Harrow, Middx HA3 9QX

West Middlesex FHS website :

Hillingdon FHS website :

East of London FHS website (covering parts of Essex now included in

Greater London) :

Waltham Forest FHS and Woolwich & District FHS also cover parts of

the Greater London area but do not have websites – addresses can be

found via the Genuki or FFHS websites.

North West Kent FHS website (inc. parts of S E London) :

East Surrey FHS website (inc. much of what is now S London) :

‘Look-up’ exchanges for various census, directory and other sources :

England home-page :

Middlesex :

London :

Catholic History website, including Family History links : :

The London Jews Database, giving names and addresses of over 9,000

early 19th century Jewish residents of London :

The etymology of forenames (inc. nicknames & pet names) :

Help with identifying surname variants, names occurring in 1881

census, NBI and other databases, and access to the ‘Thesaurus of

British Surnames’ website :

Current UK Maps :

Old London Maps :

Miscellaneous resources including some old London maps :

The London Ancestor website, with miscellaneous links, including maps

and street indexes :

‘Lost’ London Streets index for streets that have changed name or

ceased to exist :

Details of some City of London churches, including histories and

locations :

The ‘Bolles Collection on the History of London’ including maps, and

a variety of historical details and texts :

The London Discovery website, linking to 7 sites exploring various

historical facets of London life (includes ‘Ideal Homes’ listed


Some history of ‘Old Stepney’ including some details of residents and a

name search :

The GenDocs website, including many details about Victorian London

streets, churches, cemeteries and other institutions, information about

census indexes and much more:

‘British History on Line’ website for a variety of historical

information, much on London and Middlesex :

On Line Directories with search facility and image display – mostly

midlands and northern counties but some London and surrounds :

The Black Sheep, Police, Victorian and WWII Indexes, containing

many useful references to a variety of written sources :

Metropolitan Police history, orders, photographs and more :

Metropolitan Police Force records at the PRO; details at :

City of London Police Force records are at the Guildhall Library; write

to :

The City Archivist,

Corporation of London,

PO Box 270, Guildhall,

London EC2P 2EJ.

London Fire Brigade Museum – location and admission details :

London Fire Brigade museum and old records ; contact e-mail :

Customs and Excise Services genealogical sources :

Archaic medical terms : (links to numerous sites)

Old and obsolete occupations :

Help for Latin-English translation of genealogical terms : (links to numerous sites)

**Latin dictionary and grammar aid :

**Ordering LDS Products – UK & links to other distribution centres :

S & N Genealogy supplies for CD copies of census images and other

genealogical records :

Stepping Stones website for CD copies of census images, trade

directories and old maps :

Archive CD Books home page for CD versions of many old records,

directories and other book :

Cyndi’s List for comprehensive world-wide genealogy links :

Guy Etchell’s ‘Links Page’ for a wide variety of genealogy pages :

Guy Etchell’s transcripts of various Acts of Parliament of interest to

genealogists, plus a number of external links :

Passenger and Ships’ lists : (links to numerous sites)

Free downloadable Family Tree programmes : (click on ‘Order/download

products’, then ‘Software Downloads – Free’)

This is a tiny selection of useful websites; there are many others

devoted to every possible topic of genealogical interest, as well as

general dictionary and encyclopaedia sites. Please try finding and using

them before posting messages that some may find annoying, causing them

not to reply to you or to reply in a negative way. ‘Google’ will return

an astonishing array of results if you give it a chance –

And finally, when you decide it is time to leave the List, don’t send

your ‘Unsubscribe’ request to the List – read the e-mailed instructions

you will have received when you joined or visit the London List web

page (address as for the archives) and send your request to or

as appropriate, with the single word ‘unsubscribe’ in the message

subject and body

Best wishes and happy hunting to all,

John Brown

Leic., Eng.


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