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Genealogy Guide: United Kingdom and Ireland

England & Wales

The National Archives

The National Archives is home to millions of historical documents, including, but not limited to, wills, military records, migration and naturalization documents, and historic maps. The “Looking for a Person” section of their website is a comprehensive portal to the many kinds of records that may offer clues to your ancestors’ lives. 

General Register Office

The General Register Office oversees civil registration in England and Wales. They maintain the national archive of all births, marriages and deaths dating back to 1837. It is possible to order birth, marriage, and death certificates, as well as records of civil partnership and adoption events, directly from this office. 


The National Archives of Ireland (NAI)

The National Archives of Ireland holds many records that are relevant to Irish genealogy and local history.  The genealogy section of their website describes the different types of genealogy records available and explains how to go about accessing them.  

Health Service Executive Civil Registration Service

On the official Health Service Executive website, you may order certificates of birth, adoption, stillbirth, marriage, civil partnership or death using a secure payment facility.  NOTE:  See the Questions and Answers page to learn which years’ certificates are available for purchase online.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom, situated in the northeast of the island of Ireland, having been created as a separate legal entity on 3 May 1921, under the Government of Ireland Act 1920.  Records prior to the legal separation may also be found in some of the resources noted below for Ireland.

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) holds many valuable sources for family history research. In the Family History section of their website, you will find a description of the records available online, as well as guides to ‘getting started,’ ‘key sources,’ and ‘how to use the archives.’

Government Records Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI)

The Government Records Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI) website allows you to view some life event records online.  The system uses credits, which can be purchased online.  The credits are used to search records, and view indexes and images.  NOTE:  The credits may not be used to purchase birth, marriage, or death certificates. 


National Records of Scotland

The National Records of Scotland (NRS) was established in 2011, following the merger of the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS) and the National Archives of Scotland (NAS).  The NRS is responsible for the registration of events such as births, deaths, marriage, civil partnership, and adoptions and for the maintenance of other types of records that are valuable to genealogists, such as census, military, property, and probate records. The family history section of their website offers detailed research guides on all of these subjects.

ScotlandsPeople Fee-Based Website

ScotlandsPeople makes some of Scotland’s civil registration registers available online. The system uses credits, which can be purchased online.  The credits are used to search records, and view indexes and images.

Images from Great Britain

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