Online books from the library of the Society of Genealogists

While not everything in the Society of Genealogists Library is ours to publish online as we, of course, respect other people’s copyright, we do have a significant number of books from the library available to view online. These can be found on SoG Data Online.

Some of these books have been scanned and digitised because they are out of copyright or fragile and being able to make them available online means we can move them out of the library to free up valuable space. Most of the books are reproduced as JPEG images which means, unlike an PDF, they can’t be searched by optical character recognition (OCR) but can be browsed through page by page. If something has been uploaded as a PDF, like issues of the Genealogists Magazine, it can be searched as you would any PDF. Often, we may have a copyrighted book in the library that would be so much more useful if it were indexed by a name and several of our volunteers have added value to books in the library by compiling a name index which we have managed to upload.

Particular effort has been made to upload rare items from the library. Our collection of poll books, almanacks and directories before 1850 are extremely useful and of course uploading images of the books has meant volunteers can work from home to index the names within. We also have uploaded military books from our collections, along with many published school records and histories, published pedigrees and guides, local and family histories, several local parish magazines, published parish registers and monumental inscriptions, local poor law extracts,   name rich lists from our occupations shelves, journals and books on British India, indexes and abstracts of wills, texts books and topographical guides.

Of course, as these are images of the books you won’t find information in them by doing surname searches in the data bases, You have to find the book and read it online while you have time in lockdown and in the comfort of your own home.

Finding Images of Books

There are a number of ways to find digitized books in SoG data online and I shall list just a few:

You can use the purple search box on each page of the website to browse the subject classification of records in the data base.  You will, however, find a comprehensive yet quick list on the guide to Using SoG Data within the Search Records pages of the website. Click here

 Click here to find the What’s On SoG Data Online link to a current and  live update of ALL  the data sets and images listed in subject order.    

Here’s a hint! If you are a member look at this list after you have logged onto the members' area of the website. Then you can just click on the book icon for the item and it will take you directly to the images you want.If you're not a member then the links will show a £ sign which links to the joining pages of the website.



Our cataloguers are busy creating links to digitized books from the catalogue. If you see a catalogue entry that has a globe/arrow icon on it then, if you are already logged into the Members Area, it will take you straight to the images of that book. We intend to digitize much more of the library and are already on our way. After the lock down we'll continue with our partnership with FamilySearch to scan and digitize all the compiled family histories and biographies in our collection. These will be available to view in the library and we’ll publish those we can. 

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