Discovering Links: 17 Links for London Genealogy Research

Here’s another of my “Discovering Links” post. These posts consist of a collection of links that I have discovered, or found useful, and simply want to share with others. But rather than just giving you a whole batch of random links each time, I am grouping them by Australian state, country, county or topic. And you can see my previous Discovering Links posts here.

For this one I’ve decided to share my London links. As will all my Discovering Links posts, it is not intended to be an exhaustive collection of links, but they are simply ones that many will find useful, and it may include some that you hadn’t previously known about.

And while many people think that genealogy costs a lot of money, let me tell you that all of the links below are free. Personally I find that it’s often a matter of knowing where to look beyond the big-name websites, and hopefully this will help with that.

Now an important tip to remember when researching London, is to remember that there are three London’s: London city, London county as well as Greater London – with each covers different areas, as well as different areas over time as boundaries changed. When documents just say ‘London’ it does make it hard to know which, but you do need to keep that in mind – particularly as Greater London incorporates areas from neighbouring counties.

=== LONDON ===

Archives in London and the M25 Area “is a major project to provide electronic access to collection level descriptions of the archives of over fifty higher education institutions and learned societies within the greater London area.” A work in progress, AIM25 provides online access to collection level descriptions from the archives of over one hundred and archives and organisations within the region, for the purposes of research, teaching and public enjoyment. While not giving “actual records” they doe highlight places to go to for specific collections, many of which are quite unique.

Compare the streets of London then and now. Charles Booth’s Inquiry into the “Life and Labour of the People in London” comprises over 450 volumes of interviews, questionnaires, observations and statistical information documents the poverty of London, highlighting all of its contrasts during the 1886-1903 period. Thanks to the London School of Economics (LSE) now you can search for present-day locations, including streets and postcodes, as well as 19th-century parishes and landmarks, and you can compare Booth’s map with a present-day map of London using a slider and you can display also notebook entries for individual locations on the map as well.

The Dictionary of Victorian London includes extracts from Victorian newspapers, diaries, journalism, memoirs, maps, advertisements and and the full text of several dozen books.

The GENUKI site (Genealogy UK & Ireland) is one that all UK researchers should bookmark. As it has a wealth of information on London (not to mention every other county), it’s worth listing here. For details on the types of records, the archives, the geography and a whole lot more, be sure to check out GENUKI.

The HHARP website is the home of 19th century children’s hospital records, and now lists over 140,000 admission records to four children’s hospitals: three in London, the Great Ormond Street Hospital, the Evelina and the Alexandra Hip Hospital for Children, and one from the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow. Between them the databases cover a period from 1852 to 1921. Medical historians and demographers will find HHARP an invaluable tool in the study of the early development of paediatric medicine. Family historians and local historians will find a treasure trove of information on Victorian families and healthcare in Victorian and Edwardian London and Glasgow.

The University of Leicester has literally hundred of historical directories scanned, and as such the Historical Directories website is one that would be familiar to most English researchers. But on checking the site, I see there’s links 91 different London Directories, so it is worthy of a mention here, and certainly worth checking out if you haven’t before.

This website allows you to search a wide body of digital resources relating to early modern and eighteenth-century London, and to map the results on to a fully GIS (geographic information systems) compliant version of John Rocque’s 1746 map.

The City of London Cemetery and Crematorium opened in 1856 and since then over 150 years of London burials have been recorded in the Cemetery Burial and Cremation Registers. There are 88 Registers, each weighing around 25kg each, with over 300 pages of recorded interments or cremations per register. Approximately 600,000 people have been interred in this cemetery, with the remains of over 30 other London churchyards also placed on the site, so the figure is approaching 1 million. Searchable by year, you can then view the original images. Please note, the site if free, but there is a fee if you request that the Cemetery does a search for you, and you can find those charges here.

LONDON GAZETTES (and Edinburgh and Belfast)
The Gazette has been at the heart of British public life for almost 350 years. As the first official journal of record and the newspaper of the Crown, The Gazette became an authoritative and reliable source of news, and conveyed important news to those overseas.

LONDON LIVES 1690-1800
What was it like to live in the first million person city in modern Western Europe? Crime, poverty, and illness; apprenticeship, work, politics and money; how people voted, lived and died; all this and more can be found in these documents on London Lives.  This website is a fully searchable edition of over 240,000 manuscripts from eight archives and fifteen datasets, giving access to 3.35 million names.

The London Picture Archive is a collection of over 250,000 images of London from the collections at the London Metropolitan Archives and the Guildhall Art Gallery,  which together possess the largest collection of London images in the world.

An added feature of the London Picture Archive is the London Picture Map, which shows a map of London, together with dots with numbers in, meaning how many old photos they have for that area. The London Picture Map allows you to browse the City of London collections geographically and it’s a great way to discover images of a particular street or building. Many of the images that have been placed on the map are of buildings that no longer exist, giving you an intriguing view of ‘Lost London’.

If you are interested in the Lord Mayors of London, the London Wiki site is the place the look. Complete with links to further biographical details for almost all Lord Mayors listed from 1189, it is a great resource.

A work in progress the London Pubology site aims to “one day to be a database of all London pubs past and present”. It began as a way to catalogue the photos that the website owner was taking, but now has a goal to “have photos of all London pub buildings that are still standing”. Currently it’s organised by postcode area, and the pubs are plotted on a map.

The Map of Early Modern London is comprised of four distinct projects: a digital edition of the 1561 Agas woodcut map of London; an Encyclopedia and Descriptive Gazetteer of London people, places, topics, and terms; a Library of marked-up texts rich in London toponyms; and a versioned edition of John Stow’s Survey of London. These four projects draw data from MoEML’s five databases: a Placeography of locations (e.g., streets, sites, playhouses, taverns, churches, wards, and topographical features); a Personography of early modern Londoners, both historical and literary; an Orgography of organizations (e.g., livery companies and other corporations); a Bibliography of primary and secondary sources; and a Glossary of terms relevant to early modern London. All of the files in our databases use a common TEI tagset that enables us to work with primary and secondary texts simultaneously. The Map allows users to visualize, overlay, combine, and query the information in the MoEML databases that populate the Encyclopedia, Library, and Stow editions.

The Old Bailey website makes available a fully searchable, digitised collection of all surviving editions of the Old Bailey Proceedings from 1674 to 1913, and of the Ordinary of Newgate’s Accounts between 1676 and 1772. It allows access to over 197,000 trials and biographical details of approximately 2,500 men and women executed at Tyburn, free of charge for non-commercial use.
In addition to the text, accessible through both keyword and structured searching, this website provides digital images of all 190,000 original pages of the Proceedings, and over 4,000 pages of Ordinary’s Accounts.

PhotoLondon is a database of 19th-century photographers and associated trades in London between the period 1841 and 1901. It is a gateway to London’s public photograph collections. While the database is no longer being added to, there is still a vast collection of information on the website.

Happy researching!

One Response to “Discovering Links: 17 Links for London Genealogy Research”

  1. Pauleen says:

    Lots of great tips Alona, thank you! Love those Booth poverty maps. Maybe I need to revisit my challenging Partridge/Thompson ancestry in London?

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