Chris Porter's family history favourites

Note for visitors: This is a set of links to material I have found useful in tracing my Porter / Howes ancestry. It is placed here particularly for the use of my own family who are starting out in the genealogical game and is in no way intended to be comprehensive or systematic. For general researchers, there are many excellent sites providing links to a wealth of resources online, and in print. One of the most comprehensive and widely cited is Cyndi's List.

bullet.gif (903 bytes)My own Family
This link takes you to where you will find the data directly relating to my own family and research. The remainder of this page comprises links to sites I use frequently, find useful or have found interesting.

General Family History sites

bullet.gif (903 bytes)Findmypast
Subscription site with a vast variety of useful material - and getting more all the time. Includes historic newspapers amongst many more traditional resources.
bullet.gif (903 bytes)Ancestry - UK edition
Subscription site with lots of useful stuff.
bullet.gif (903 bytes)National Archives
Access to a wide variety of sources - a growing collection of digital items,including a number made available through Findmypast or Ancestry. Includes access to their catalogue - Discovery - and a number of useful search guides.
bullet.gif (903 bytes)FamilySearch Internet Genealogy Service
A good starting point for prelimary rummagings - especially useful for earlier material - ie. pre 1837. Much changed in recent times - with many links to interesting digitised documents,some of which require subscriptions to external services to view. Now virtually unusable without setting up an account.
bullet.gif (903 bytes)Find a Will
The National Probate Service's searchable index to UK wills from 1858 to the present. Allows you to request a copy of the will to be digitised for a very reasonable fee.
bullet.gif (903 bytes)IGI Batch Number Help
information about the 'batch numbers' used in the IGI - very useful for narrowing your search down to a particular parish
bullet.gif (903 bytes)American Family Immigration History Center
very interesting general information - covers immigration to the US from 1892 to 1924. Lots of useful and informative stuff, but of no practical relevance to us.
bullet.gif (903 bytes)GENUKI
An all-round good site - lots of useful information about British family history. Well worth exploring thoroughly.

Maps and places

bullet.gif (903 bytes)National Library of Scotland's Map Collections
Superb collection of maps - especially comprehensive for Scotland, but extremely good coverage of the rest of the UK
bullet.gif (903 bytes)GENUKI: Alphabetical list of places in Yorkshire
VERY useful list of which places are where, which parish they are in, information about the place, and nineteenth century directories.
bullet.gif (903 bytes)Historical mapping from the Ordnance Survey
Shows a variety of historical maps of mainland Britain from 1846 to the 1990s. As a snapshot of the country they are excellent - they tend to be poorer in towns, almost illegible, but a very good starting place. Now mainly a subscription site - though still useful for getting a sense of a place over time.
bullet.gif (903 bytes)Bolles Map Browser
Wide variety of historical maps of London from different ages. Easy to compare areas across centuries.
bullet.gif (903 bytes)Charles Booth's 1889 Descriptive Map of London Poverty
interesting map showing the socio-economic character of individual streets in London.
bullet.gif (903 bytes)Charles Booth Online Archive
excellent RSLP project from the LSE - not only the Booth maps, but digitised notebooks, some digitised books about nineteenth century London, and other goodies.
bullet.gif (903 bytes)Reynold's map of modern London from 1859
excellent map of London in 1859, with zooming to a very detailed level.
bullet.gif (903 bytes)Victorian London A-Z Street Index
useful partial listing of streets etc in the London of a former age, showing whereabouts the streets were located - in general terms. Useful for reference - but only part of the alphabet is currently covered
bullet.gif (903 bytes)Alan Godfrey maps
the definitive list of reprinted old Ordnance Survey maps produced by this fine company - they are currently being produced at the rate of a hundred a year - and check out the monthly competition to keep you entertained.

Civil Registration and Censuses

bullet.gif (903 bytes)GRO's record service
Index searches, and ordering facilities for the GRO's birth, marriage and death certificates. Now particularly helpful for finding 'mother's maiden name' back to 1837 and for 'age at death'. Search interface is quite clunky, but the data is fine!
bullet.gif (903 bytes)Scotland's People
Archival records of Scots and all things Scottish. Most searches require credits to search, as well as see the results. Extremely useful - not to say essential - for those of Scottish ancestry.
bullet.gif (903 bytes)GRONI Online
Records from the General Register Office Northern Ireland. Most searches require credits to search, as well as to see the results. Date range of records much more restricted than English/Welsh GRO records, but can be downloaded if they are available.
bullet.gif (903 bytes)Irish census records
Census records from the National Archives of Ireland. Only 1901 and 1911 are systematically available, as they are the only ones to systematically survive.
bullet.gif (903 bytes)FamilySearch's Census search page
Access to a range of international Censuses, with a mixture of transcriptions and transfers to partner sites. Can be very handy indeed. Now requires registration to use.
bullet.gif (903 bytes)FreeBMD Project
Becoming an excellent resource. A worldwide cooperative venture to transcribe all the GRO indexes - ie. the registers of births, marriages and deaths (hence BMD). When it is complete, it will be a fabulous resource - but it is getting there rapidly. A great free alternative to the subscription services.
bullet.gif (903 bytes)GENUKI: England Topics - Civil Registration
nice page giving good links on many important aspects of registration. A good place to look
bullet.gif (903 bytes)GENUKI: Registration Districts In England And Wales (1837-1930)
Very useful list of which places are in which registration district - can be invaluable in identifying the correct person in GRO indexes
bullet.gif (903 bytes)GENUKI: Yorkshire Genealogy
The Yorkshire section of GENUKI. A good starting point for a whole range of stuff.
bullet.gif (903 bytes)Bob O'Hara's information about searches at the Public Record Office
Bob is a researcher offering a commercial searching service in the PRO. He looked for W.W. Porter's military record, and did a good job of it - to be recommended.



bullet.gif (903 bytes)East Yorkshire Family History Society
covers Hull and Scarborough, together with all the area between. Very useful publications - don't forget that in 1851 Falsgrave counts as Scarborough District, as it did not become part of Scarborough until later.
bullet.gif (903 bytes)The City of York and District Family History Society
covers York and environs - includes Ganthorpe and Terrington, Malton etc. as well as areas closer to York such as Bishopthorpe.
bullet.gif (903 bytes)The Cleveland, N. Yorks. and S. Durham Family History Society
covers the North York Moors, Whitby etc.


bullet.gif (903 bytes)The Birmingham and Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry
covers Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Staffordshire.


bullet.gif (903 bytes)Oxfordshire Family History Society
covers Oxfordshire!


bullet.gif (903 bytes)Dorset Family History Society
although this Society just covers Dorset, it seems to have fewer relevant publications than the Somerset and Dorset FHS.
bullet.gif (903 bytes)Somerset and Dorset Family History Society
covers both Somerset and Dorset. Produces several excellent publications - including transcriptions of all censuses from 1841 to 1891 for Wareham and the Isle of Purbeck.

London and Middlesex

bullet.gif (903 bytes)London, Westminster and Middlesex Family History Society
covers the City of London.
bullet.gif (903 bytes)West Middlesex Family History Society
covers Fulham.

One-name studies

bullet.gif (903 bytes)The Guild of One Name Studies
Searchable list of people who research   people with a particular surname - includes: Boyes, Horseman and Cunnington - but, sadly, no longer Fancy, following the death in 2009 of the very helpful Will Fancy.
bullet.gif (903 bytes)Cunnington surname family history worldwide
... as I said ... Cunnington!


Created and maintained by Chris Porter. (
Last updated: 31 Jan 2018