Links to Useful Websites

This table contains a selection of links to websites that may be useful for family historians

Note: This list was accurate when it was compiled in April 2019 but sites have a habit of changing their names, their URLs, or of merging with others. If you get a "page not found" error on any of these sites, please use the Help > Contact option to tell us, and let Google be your friend in finding the new link.
Abingdon Library Local Studies CentreAbingdon Library has a Local Studies section and Berkshire Family History Society's Vale of the White Horse Branch holds regular advice sessions here.
AIM25Gateway to collection details of over 100 archives in the London and M25 area.
AncestryLike Findmypast, Ancestry provides access to English, Welsh and Scottish census records. The 1911 collection is not fully complete for England and Wales and there are no 1911 Scottish census details
Arborfield Local History SocietyOur village is steeped in history, and our society exists to make it known more widely
Archives HubGateway to holdings at nearly 200 less well known UK archives.
Berkshire Archaeological SocietyBerkshire Archaeological Society exists to explore, protect and promote the Historic Environment (including the archaeology, history and architecture) of pre-1974 Berkshire and the present county. It thus covers parts of Berkshire that were moved into Oxfordshire in the 1974 local government re-organisation.
Berkshire Archaeology Research GroupBerkshire Archaeology Research Group (BARG) is a voluntary group that is dedicated to investigation of the archaeology of the county of Berkshire. The Group takes an interest in uncovering evidence for human activity in the Royal County across a broad period, ranging from prehistoric times to post-medieval and modern periods.
Berkshire Industrial Archaeology GroupThe Group is for researchers interested in industrial archaeology, especially those who live or work in or close to the English county of Berkshire.

It aims to encourage wider appreciation of industrial archaeology and to prompt wider study of Berkshire's industrial heritage. The Group undertakes recording, restoration and preservation projects.
Berkshire LandscapesExplore digital images of original maps and land awards that show the sequence of enclosure over 150 years (between 1738 and 1883) of the common fields of the county of Berkshire.
Berkshire Local History AssociationBerkshire Family History Society and many of Berkshire's other historical groups and interested individuals are members of the Association.
Berkshire Record OfficeBerkshire Record Office holds the original records of the pre-1974 Royal County of Berkshire, including those for towns and villages in North Berkshire and the Vale of the White Horse.
Berkshire Record SocietyBerkshire Record Society was founded in 1993 to print scholarly editions of key documents on the history of Berkshire, held at Berkshire Record Office and elsewhere. It aims to publish one printed volume each year.

In December 2012, the society additionally published An Historical Atlas of Berkshire (Second Edition).

The society is backed by the History Department of the University of Reading and by Berkshire Record Office.
Bracknell Local StudiesBracknell Central Library has a small local studies section, including newspapers and books.

The Bracknell and Wokingham Branch of Berkshire Family History Society holds monthly drop-in help and advice sessions at this library, generally on the second Tuesday each month.
Buckinghamshire Family History SocietyMeets at Aylesbury, Bletchley and Bourne End.
Buckinghamshire Genealogical SocietyMeets at Aylesbury.
DiscoveryDiscovery is the new TNA catalogue designed to host, search and display the many TNA databases and datasets.
East Ilsley Local History SocietyThis website is devoted to the history of the village of East Ilsley, its environs and its inhabitants and is maintained by East Ilsley Local History Society.
East Surrey Family History SocietyMeets at Croydon, Lingfield, Richmond, Southwark and Sutton.
British LibraryFor instant search of the main BL catalogue with records for nearly 57 million items, including 13 million records for books, journals, newspapers, conferences, maps, scores; 37 million journal articles; thousands of electronic journals, ebooks and hundreds of databases; sound archive items; web archive links and over 400 research datasets.
Families in British India Society (FIBIS)A very useful site for those seeking ancestors, including military ancestors, who spent time in the Indian sub-continent.
FamilySearchFamilySearch is the family history arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The world's largest genealogy organisation, for over 100 years, the Church has actively gathered, preserved and shared family history records worldwide.
Faringdon Community WebsiteThis section of the community website gives useful information on Faringdon in earlier times.
Federation of Family History SocietiesThe Federation is an educational charity supported by many family history societies (but not all) with members including national, inernational, regional and one-name groups.
FindMyPastOffers the most complete online index to Births, Marriages and Deaths for England and Wales from July 1837 to 2006, with links to General Register Office index pages.

The site holds a wide range of census, military, migration and other records. Some (but not all) of Berkshire Family History Society's parish register transcriptions are available on FindMyPast.
FreeBMDFreeBMD (Free Births, Marriages, and Deaths) is an ongoing project to provide free internet access to the Civil Registration indexes of England and Wales. Now essentially 'complete' from 1837 into the 1960s but always check precise coverage.
FreeCEN(Free Census) project to provide "free-to-view" online searchable database of the 19th century UK census returns. It contains little Berkshire information but Scottish content is valuable (and free).
GRO (Scotland)Information about Scotland's People
GenUKI searchSearch the contents of all the GENUKI (UK and Ireland Genealogy) pages, including a comprehensive Berkshire section.
GRO Certificate Ordering ServiceUse this site to order copy certificates of Births, Marriages and Deaths for England and Wales. Ther's now the ability to order them in electronic format, for speed.
House HistoriesHome Advisor provides information about researching the history of a house. It's a US site and therefore has an American bias, but the principles are the same wherever you are researching, and some of the sites cater for UK locations.
Guild of One Name StudiesGuild members conduct one name studies of ancestors bearing a particular surname and its variants. Such studies are distinct from family history research but share some of the research techniques.
Hampshire Genealogical SocietyGroups meet at Alton, Andover, Basingstoke, Brockenhurst, Fair Oak, Fareham, Fleet, Gosport, Highcliffe, Portsmouth, Ringwood, Romsey, Southampton, Twyford (computer Group) and Waltham Chase. Research Centre is in Cosham.
Hungerford Historical Association
Huntley and PalmerThe website tells the story of this great biscuit company from its beginnings in 1822 to the 1980s. Includes information on employees and the company's influence on the development of Reading. (See also "Records of Huntley and Palmer")
London Metropolitan ArchivesHome to an extraordinary range of documents, images, maps, films and books about London. The LMA holds many of the records for the Greater London area and the City (but not those of the City of Westminster).
Museum of English Rural LifeExtensive collections include: records of major agricultural manufacturing firms, organisations and cooperatives, personal records and journals of farm workers, farm accounts from across England and films of the countryside and agriculture.The museum holds many images of agriculture, landscapes and rural life, including historic local photographs of Berkshire and adjoining counties, large collections of images from the farming press, photo agencies, and publications of Britain's leading agricultural engineers.
National ArchivesThe National Archives (TNA), formerly the Public Record Office and Historical Manuscripts Commission, is based at Kew in Surrey.

It is the official archive and publisher for the UK government and for England and Wales. Its 21st-century role is to collect and secure the future of the government record (digital and physical), to preserve it for future generations and to make it as accessible and available as possible.
National Archives of IrelandHolds the records of the modern Irish state.
National Records of ScotlandThe website of the National Archives of Scotland (NAS). In April 2011, the General Register Office for Scotland merged with the NAS to become the National Records of Scotland (NRS). The website remains active but has been partly superseded by the NRS website.
National Library of Wales
Oxfordshire Family History SocietyMost family history societies work to pre-1974 county boundaries, but OFHS extended an interest into North Berkshire/Vale of the White Horse post-1974. The society meets north of Oxford in Kidlington.
Oxfordshire History CentreFor records of pre-1974 Oxfordshire. Holds post-1836 returns from Berkshire to the diocese (pre-1836 returns were made to Salisbury) including bishops' transcripts and consistory court wills (1836 to 1857 only).
Project PurleyA local history society devoted to the history of Purley-on-Thames in the county of Berkshire
Public Record Office of Northern IrelandHome of Northern Ireland's records.
Purley-on-Thames Parish CouncilPurley on Thames lies between Reading and Pangbourne on the south side of the river Thames.
Reading ForumSections of the forum cover genealogy, memories of Reading past and lost friends, work colleagues etc.
Reading Museum ServiceDetails of two locations and their holdings: Reading Museum and Town Hall and the Riverside Museum at Blake’s Lock.
Reading University LibraryThe library is open to the public but is best visited outside term time.
Records of Huntley and PalmersThe archives cover the period 1837-1995 and comprise documentary materials from all areas of the business, including financial records, correspondence, sales records, promotional material, production records, packaging designs and specimens, photographs, published material and audiovisual items.
Registration Districts in England and WalesLink to GENUKI pages giving details of English and Welsh Registration Districts from 1837 to 1974—by county, district and places/dates covered. Districts were also units for census organisation from 1851 until 1911.
Royal Windsor WebsitePlenty of information on Windsor and the local surroundings, with a valuable Windsor history discussion forum and research section.
S&N Genealogy SuppliesS&N Genealogy Supplies is the largest UK genealogy publisher and retailer, with over two decades of experience serving the needs of computer-based family historians. Founded in 1992, we publish and retail a broad range of family history research material, software, books, binders, and much more. We offer the widest choice of family history software and data CDs and are determined to provide you with the highest quality and keenest prices.
Slough LibraryHas a good local studies section and access to findmypast and Ancestry.

The society's Windsor, Slough and Maidenhead Branch provides help and advice at monthly family history sessions at the main library.
Society of GenealogistsThe Society of Genealogists (SoG) is one of Britain’s leading family history organisations. It maintains a major genealogical library and education centre in Clerkenwell in central London, and is especially useful for research before 1837.
Thatcham Historical SocietyThe society promotes an interest in the local history of the Thatcham area and in historical matters in general.
Twyford and Ruscombe Local History SocietyEncourages research and interest in the history of Twyford and Ruscombe
UK Births, Marriages and DeathsGateway to details of LOCAL registrations (as distinct from General Register Office records) of UK Births, Marriages and Deaths, with links to county sites (including Berkshire) and others that offer online indexes to transcriptions of registration entries first created and still held by local register offices. These can be very useful in filling gaps, errors and omissions that exist in central (and secondary) GRO records.
Wargrave Local History SocietyProvides a meeting ground for study and discussion of, and research into, history in general, and of the Wargrave area in particular.
West Berkshire and Family HistoryFor more about Newbury Library and its family history resources (including Ancestry) search the West Berkshire Council website for "genealogy"
West Middlesex Family History SocietyCovers the ancient parishes of Middlesex, including Chelsea, Fulham, Hammersmith and Kensington.
West Surrey Family History SocietyCovers the ancient County of Surrey, both rural Surrey and the metropolitan area—parts of the county that are now in Greater London.
Who Do You Think You Are? MagazineA magazine that many family historians may find of interest.
Wiltshire and Swindon History CentreAs well as being Wiltshire's archive, WSHC holds certain records from pre-1974 Berkshire, including pre-1836 Berkshire returns to the diocese (of Salisbury) amomg them bishops' transcripts, consistory court wills, wills from two of the three Berkshire  'peculiars', marriage licences and other material.
Wiltshire Family History SocietyMeets at Chippenham, Devizes, Malmesbury, Salisbury, Swindon, Trowbridge and Westbury. The Resource Centre at Devizes opens by pre-arrangement with due notice given, subject to a volunteer being available.
Windsor Local History Group
Wokingham LibraryThere is a useful collection of Family History information and access to Ancestry at Wokingham Library, Denmark Street, Wokingham.

Berkshire Family History Society's Bracknell and Wokingham Branch holds regular drop in help and advice sessions on the last Tuesday afternoon of the month.
WorkhousesA rich source of information on Poor Law history, early workhouses and those that followed the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act. Covers the UK and Ireland—either search for 'Berkshire' or look under 'Workhouse Locations' in the main menu.

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Berkshire Family History Society works to meet the needs of those researching their ancestry across the UK and overseas – as well as those looking for former relatives in historic Berkshire.  You do not need to be a member to benefit.

The society offers:

  • Research Zone in central Reading that is free to use and open to all

  • Free access at The Centre for Heritage and Family History to online resources like FindMyPast, the 1939 Register, The Genealogist, the British Newspaper Archive and Ancestry (the worldwide edition)

  • Regular free help and advice sessions

  • Meetings in Abingdon, Bracknell, Newbury, Reading, Windsor and Woodley — open to everyone

  • Online discussion list for members  informed answers to research queries and advice from experienced researchers

  • Members’ Area with data and other information not readily accessible elsewhere

  • Indexes and transcriptions of Berkshire’s historic records on CD — parish registers, probate documents, monumental inscriptions, maps, First World War history and more

  • Quarterly magazine, the Berkshire Family Historian, for members

  • a chance to join in project work, recording, transcribing and helping to preserve records

  • Links to the research experience, advice and support of members worldwide

  • Opportunities to volunteer and so help others with their family history