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

Sarah Forbes Bonetta (1843-1880)
Black History Month

Among the burial registers in the collections of the Society of Genealogists is the entry for Sarah Forbes Bonetta (1843-1880), who died in Funchal, Madeira. Bonetta had a remarkable life, surviving capture and the death of her family to become a goddaughter of Queen Victoria.

Bonetta’s wedding in Brighton in 1862 was a social highlight of the year, and her experiences help to illuminate a little-known aspect of Black lives in Victorian England.

The First Universal Races Conference
Black history month

1911 was an eventful year for historians and genealogists in London and the UK. The Society of Genealogists was founded that year, and the First Universal Races Congress was held.

Taking place in London in July 1911, the Congress aimed to challenge the racism of the day against a backdrop of rising immigration and growing interest in eugenics. The Congress was pioneering in many ways and featured significant Black thinkers of the day, including W. E. B. Du Bois (1868 – 1963)..

Black in the British Frame: Black People in British Film and Television 1896-1996

Stephen Bourne’s Black in the British Frame: Black People in British Film and Television 1896-1996 (Cassell, 1998) can be found on the Professions/Occupations shelves of the SoG Library. The book is remarkable for highlighting the lives and work of Black British performers over a century of creativity.

The book fills a gap in theatre, film, and television history, and provides some useful insight into Black stars, such as Earl Cameron CBE (1917-2020).

Upcoming talks and events

An Update on DNA Research: Expanding your Family Tree
Four-week Course

Get the most from your autosomal DNA test and interpret and use your results for further research, with Mia Bennett, Michelle Leonard & Debbie Kennett.

We will cover working with DNA third-party tools, methods and techniques for research, but also look at privacy and consent, including law enforcement.

Marriage Law for Genealogists - in England & Wales
Half-day Course

To help you interpret your findings, Dr. Rebecca Probert explains the law underpinning where and how couples could marry.

Rebecca discusses divorce, bigamy, bereavement and remarriage. She examines the laws and social practices from the 1700s through to the late 20th century.

Lambeth Archives - for Local and Family History Research
One-hour Talk

Join Len Reilly, Archives Manager at Lambeth Archives, for an overview of the Archives’ collections, many of interest to local and family historians.

The Archives’ holdings and collections include architecture, black history, geography, social history, biography and transport, as well as ephemera.

My Ancestor Came from Essex: Family History Sources
One-hour Talk

Do you have people on your family tree from Essex? Gill Blanchard aims to help you discover the main Essex resources online, in local archives and elsewhere.

Learn which records can be used for family history and also for local history research. Gill covers the well-known places and some hidden gems.  

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.

Keep up to date with news and events

Subscribe to our newsletter

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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