Welcome to the Society of Genealogists

Discover your family history

Join us and explore the UK's premier collection of family history records.

Whether you're a beginner or already on your journey of discovery, we have something for everyone.

We all have a history and we exist to help you find yours.

Featured Stories

Why did our ancestors celebrate Michaelmas?

29 September, or Michaelmas, was one of the most significant dates in the lives of our ancestors in the UK. Michaelmas was the feast day of St Michael and All Angels. It was also the day that marked the end of the harvest and of blackberry eating, and provided an occasion for socialising and merriment.

Michaelmas was not only a religious feast, but also had serious secular implications. Read on to discover some of the traditions that our ancestors would have experienced.

Percival Boyd

Each month, we’ll be using this space to highlight notable members of the Society of Genealogists. We begin the series with one of the most well-known names among the Society’s shelves.

Percival Boyd was born on 29 June 1868 in Clapton Square in north east London to Thomas Boyd, a draper, and his wife, Sarah. Boyd followed in his father’s footsteps to become a textile warehouseman.

Jewish New Year 2021

Those of us with Jewish ancestors may be thinking of how our families marked Rosh Hashanah, or Jewish New Year, in the past.

This year, Rosh Hashanah begins on the evening of Monday 6 September and ends on the evening of 8 September

Upcoming talks and events

Using Forenames to Build the Family Tree
One-hour Talk

All too often we accept an ancestor’s given names without much thought about their choice. But a new or changed pattern of naming can indicate an important event.

Sue Swalwell demonstrates how paying more attention to the usual and unusual naming patterns within our family can help us further our research.

Research Before Parish Registers
Half-day Course

Have you traced your ancestors back to the records held when the first parish registers started? Some family historians think that's where it ends. How wrong they are!

Ian Waller looks at early sources, the information these records hold and where to find them.

Historical Tour through Hampstead Cemetery
One-hour Talk

Join Rhona Levene on a virtual tour of this wonderful Victorian cemetery in north west London. Hampstead Cemetery is the resting place for many well-known names.

With over 60,000 graves to choose from, she uncovers a small selection of the resident dead and brings their stories to life.

Getting the Best from the SoG Online Collections
90-minute talk

Learn how to get the best from the Society of Genealogists at a distance. We will look at the many online resources from the SoG collections and library catalogues.

A demonstration followed by a discussion, bring your questions along to be answered.

Explore our collections

Court Records

Our ancestors appeared in many different types of courts – criminal, civil and equity – either as plaintiffs or defendants, criminals or victims.

Parish registers

First introduced in 1538 the Parish registers of the Church of England record baptisms, marriages and burials.

Poor Law Records

Many of our ancestors lived precarious lives and if they grew old and inform could not work or fell ill or bore illegitimate children they may have become a burden on the community.


Evidence of apprenticeship is more likely in 18th century than at any other time from town freemen records, London guilds, parish pauper apprenticeships and the tax levied on apprentice indentures.

Find out more

About us

We all want to know where we’re from; to solve the mysteries of our past; to connect with people whose lives lead to ours; to feel as they felt; to wonder what we would have done in their place.

Our mission and vision

Our vision is a world in which everyone has convenient, affordable access to records, finding aids, knowledge and skills necessary to conduct authoritative research into family history.

We are moving!

We have now officially given notice to our landlords here at Charterhouse Buildings and are very excited for our next chapter and a place which will better suit your needs and ours.

Get Involved

Join today and become a member

As member you can make the most of our resources, access our experts and find a welcoming community of people interested in family history and genealogy.

We all have roots. Let’s find them together.

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Sign up today to receive regular updates including our monthly newsletter full of hints, tips and special offers. You can also choose to receive information on upcoming events, talks and lectures to help you discover your roots.

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