This is a round-up of online genealogy resources in archives in Britain. If you can’t visit an archive, you may be able to find a record online, or something else that’s useful. I’ve mostly only included records available on the archives own websites. Most of these resources are free to access. However, a couple are pay per view, like Essex parish registers and Scotland’s People.

How to find online genealogy resources in archives. Bespoke Genealogy

English online genealogy resources in archives

First a look at the national repositories.

National Archives

The National Archives (TNA) in London hold records that go back 1000 years. These records cover the armed forces, the courts and prisons, foreign and colonial history, the medieval period and many other topics.

About five percent TNA’s records have been digitized and are online. You can find a complete list of these records here. Some of these online records can only be accessed on other database sites like  Findmypast and Ancestry. The other records (listed here) can be downloaded directly from the TNA site.

There is normally a charge to access most of these records. However, at the moment, and during this pandemic, the charge has been waived and documents can be downloaded for free.

You’ll need to register an account to view the records. More information as well as a link for account set up can be found here.

The following are most of the National Archives collections that can be viewed online for free. Click on the link to read the research guide for the collection and access the records (once you’ve signed in):

British Library

The British Library in London has about 30,000 items (mostly maps and books) that can be viewed online. Visit the Online Gallery here.

Several counties in England have online resources:


Bedfordshire Archives hosts transcripts of the surviving records from the Bedford Gaol and House of Correction 1770-1904


Buckinghamshire Archives has a few online resources, including:


You’ll find Tithe Maps on the Cheshire Archives website. These are early 19th century maps used to determine the rentable value of land and property. See my post on English and Welsh tithe records for more information on this resource.

The website also hosts the  Cheshire Image Bank.


Kresen Kernow is the home of Cornwall’s Archives. You can browse historic images of the county on their website.


The Derbyshire Record Office website is the portal to the following resources:


Essex Record Office’s entire collection of parish registers have been digitized and can be accessed on their website. You will need to buy a subscription to view them. The records are not indexed. However, there are partial indexes on the free sites Family Search and FreeReg. There are fuller indexes on the subscription sites Findmypast and Ancestry


The Herefordshire Archives website hosts the following online indexes:


Lancashire Archives has an online collection of historic photos of Lancashire


You can view historic photos from the Leicestershire Record Office on the Image Leicestershire website.


Historic parish maps can be viewed on the Norfolk Record Office website.


The Oxfordshire History website has digitized maps from the archives, including tithe maps, 1910 valuation maps as well as other historical maps.


The Staffordshire Archives site hosts a Name Index, taken from various collections from 1600 – 1961.


The Surrey History Centre hosts a number of indexes from a range of collections including Poor Law vaccination records and various military records.

East Sussex

The Keep in Brighton is the home of the East Sussex Record Office as well as the archives of Brighton and Hove City Council and the University of Sussex. Tithe maps for the area can be accessed on the website.

West Sussex

You’ll find a collection of historical images on the West Sussex Record Office website


Warwickshire County Record Office hosts the following online collections:

Yorkshire East Riding

Historical Maps can be found on the East Riding Archives site.

Welsh online genealogy resources in archives

National Library of Wales

The National Library of Wales, based in Aberystwyth, is the legal deposit library for Wales. The NLW has substantial online resources, including:


The Powys Archives website is the portal to some digitized content. For a list, visit the Digitized Records page.


The Archifdy Ceredigion Archives website has a number of pages containing digitized images of documents. Visit this page for a list and links.

North East Wales

The North East Wales Archives website hosts a number of digital resources including enclosure maps, historical photographs and tithe maps. You will need to register to view. Visit the “What’s online” page for more information.

Scottish online genealogy resources in archives

I couldn’t find any online records in the Scottish county archives. However, the national repositories have some great digital resources.

National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland (NLS) has a number of very useful online resources:

National Records of Scotland

The most well known NRS resource is probably Scotland’s People. This pay per view site allows you to download historical vital records, census returns, wills and other documents. For more on SP, see my earlier post.

Another NRS resource, this time free, is Scotland’s Places.  Here you’ll find early Scottish tax records. These include Carriage tax rolls (1785-1798), Cart tax rolls (1785-1798), Clock and watch tax rolls (1797-1798), Dog tax rolls (1797-1798) and many more.

For more on this useful resource see: Free Scottish Genealogy on ScotlandsPlaces

Some other NRS historical records can also be accessed on the Scottish Archive Network website.

I hope you find some of these resources useful.

Happy researching!

For further reading, you may find these books useful:

Please pin a pin to Pinterest:

How to find online genealogy resources in archives. Bespoke Genealogy
How to find online records in UK archives. Bespoke Genealogy
Online records at British Archives. Bespoke Genealogy
Online British genealogy resources in archives. Graphic of a laptop with books on the screen. One of the books is coming through the screen.