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Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

CD Roms and the Internet for Family History


Family history is the second most popular subject on the Internet. There are many CD-ROMs and Internet sites useful to genealogists.

Access to the Internet in the Central Library

Printouts from websites and CD-Roms cost 10p per page black-and-white and 50p for colour. You can now save to USB flash drives on some computers. You can book one one-hour session per day or just drop in. For further information, please see Free access to the Internet is available on PCs throughout the Central library or call (0121) 303 4549.

The Internet as a source of information

The quality and reliability of information on the Internet vary hugely. Some sites cover a wide geographical area - e.g. Family Search. Some act as a gateway, leading you into many other sites, - e.g. Cyndi's List, Genuki. Some tell you where you can find specific information. Some are idiosyncratic - a page entitled 'Vatican Genealogy' began with the words Unfortunately our first entry is for Mother Theresa of Calcutta!

Some are highly specialised, concentrating on a particular location, or topic - for example the surnames of Worcestershire. Some sites charge for access. Many pages on the Internet have been set up by individuals. Some are excellent; some may be inaccurate, or contain out-of-date information. Birmingham Libraries cannot take responsibility for any of the information accessible on the Internet, searchers have to use their own discretion.

Searching the Internet

The easiest way to find sites is by typing in the address (or URL) of a page, which will take you directly to it. When you type the URL into your browser, you need to copy the punctuation and spelling exactly.

Here is a list of websites for family history you can print out.

The following are good starting-points, giving access to large databases, or to many other sites:

  • Ancestry Library Edition available on library computers

    UK and Ireland Genealogical Information Service (GENUKI)
    www.genuki.org.ukGood source for family history societies and their holdings. Some world genealogy.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
    Access to the IGI worldwide.
  • National Archives
    This gives information about records, but does not give access to them on the Internet.
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission
    Soldiers from the Commonwealth who died in both World Wars.
  • Find my past

Sites offering good links to many sites:

Keyword searches

If you don't know a website address, you can use one of the many search engines on the Internet. Two well-known engines are Google and Yahoo!. Once you have reached the opening screen of the search-engine, type your keyword or words into the text-box and select "Search". A multi-search engine, for example Metacrawler will survey several databases for you.

If you find sites you would like to recommend please tell us.


These are some of the CD-Roms available on Floor 6 of Birmingham Central Library:

  • 1881 British Census and National Index (the CD-Rom version includes Scotland)
  • 1851 Census - Devon, Norfolk, Warwickshire (This includes a name index. Warwickshire covers Birmingham.)
  • Vital Records Index British Isles
  • Vital Records Index Western Europe (Some information from the IGI)
  • Family Archives, Index to Griffiths Valuation of Ireland 1848 - 1864
  • National Burial Index (England and Wales)
  • Genealogical Research Directory 1990 - 1999 600,000 research queries
  • Soldiers who died in the Great War 1914 - 1919 (Searchable by name, it is not essential to know the regiment)
  • A dictionary of occupational terms

Archives and Heritage Service
Tel: 0121 303 4217, 0121 303 4549 or 0121 303 4220
Fax: 0121 233 4458
E-mail: archives.heritage@birmingham.gov.uk
Please note We are not responsible for the content of other organisations' websites.

Family History
Parish Registers - Church of England
Black Family History - African & African-Caribbean
Electoral Registers
International Genealogical Index (IGI)
Trade Directories
GRO Indexes
Websites for Family History