All About Historical Records

As romantic and exciting as family history may be, the truth is, it’s based upon simple facts. That’s where the names, dates and places in historical records come in. These details connect people and events in history to create the big picture of how you got here today. Historical records also hold fascinating facts about ancestors’ cultures, interests and more — and can help you create timelines of their lives.

View a sample record

How can you find your ancestors in historical records? is the world’s largest online collection of historical records. You can search these records directly. However, we think the best way to find your ancestors in historical records is to begin your online family tree.  Enter any names, dates and places you can from recent family history into your tree. We’ll use what you enter to immediately start searching for missing details about your ancestors. You’ll see a hint ( ) in your tree when we find a related record.

Here are some details on specific historical records

UK Census Records

Census records give you details about households, relationships to the head of household, marriage, ages, places of birth, the household size, number of children and occupations of those that lived there as well as their address.

[+] Enlarge

Military Records

Discover the hero in your family. Search WW1 Pension and Service records, check Medal Rolls for awards. Discover biographical details, where they served, which regiment, which battles they fought in and when they served.

[+] Enlarge

Immigration & Emigration Records

Discover your ancestral homeland and recreate family journeys across oceans. Learn ancestors’ birthplaces, the ports and dates of departure and arrival, the names and types of ships they travelled on and the people they travelled with.

[+] Enlarge

Newspapers and Periodicals

Explore millions of pages in our collection of newspapers covering hundreds of years of history. Find family members in wedding and birth announcements, obituaries, legal notices, classifieds and more.

[+] Enlarge

Many Other Useful Records also has millions of birth, marriage and death indexes, Parish and Probate documents, family and local histories, plus historical maps, photos from the mid–1800s, millions of member-contributed photos and audio stories – and much much more.

New to family history? Find out where to begin

Curious about what’s free on

Wondering where historical records come from?