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.

Founded in 1911, the Society of Genealogists is a charity with a unique purpose – to help people discover their place in history. We preserve the records of everyday lives and make them available to anyone wanting to understand where they’ve come from – grassroots sources, rich data of unlikely origin, exceptional assets that capture the unfolding, unofficial history of us all.

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

We provide a well regarded programme of education and training enabling people to research their roots and to understand what they’ve found – confident that trees are sound, ancestors belong, and written names can become real and rounded family members. We’re a diverse community – expert, novice, published historian, first-time tree-tracer – learning and improving together, sharing ideas and advice, generous with our knowledge and time.

We are UK based but international in outlook with members across four continents. We’ve got 110 years under our belt but we’re as committed and curious as ever, staying true to our own history, championing those whose lives lie undiscovered. Knowledge of our past helps illuminate the present and guide the future – so we continue to research, learning from the extraordinary lives of ordinary men and women, of every race and place and class and creed.

Our collections are particularly valuable for research before the start of civil registration of births marriages and deaths in 1837 but there is plenty for the beginner too, including the Free Family History Access area where beginners can get a taste of some of the online sources that will help them start their research.

We have many unique unpublished manuscript notes and printed and unpublished family histories. We hold the largest collection of parish register copies and many nonconformist registers. Along with registers, we hold local histories, copies of churchyard gravestone inscriptions, poll books, trade directories, census indexes and a wealth of information about the parishes where our ancestors lived.

Many of our unique indexes are online including Boyd’s Marriage Index with more than 7 million names, indexes of wills and marriage licences, apprentices and masters (1710-1774), London City Apprenticeships, Boyd’s Inhabitants of London as well as records such as the Bank of England will abstracts, Trinity House petitions and information on Teachers and Civil Servants. Preview


Our vision and mission

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.

Our mission is to be the leading national organisation concerned with family history and genealogy and their associated disciplines.

There are 5 ways in which we seek to deliver our objectives in our day-to-day operations:

1. By promoting recognition

We are committed to promoting recognition of the worth of family history research by:
- Influencing academic standards
- Providing education, skills and standards for genealogical research

2. By helping our members and the public

We aim to assist both members and the public in their research objectives by:
- Publishing an expanding collection of records, guides and other material both in the library and online.
- Providing access to expertise via (a) research advice (in the library, at external events or remotely) and (b) signposting to other external sources
- Increasing the range of material by undertaking projects for transcription, indexing and digitisation.

3. Through our advocacy

We will continue to be an effective campaigning voice for:
- The integrity and preservation of records relevant to current and future research
- Optimum access to such records

4. By being the authority on genealogy

We will strive to remain the essential contact for appropriate media, commercial and public sector interests

5. Through co-operation

Through the co-operation with and provision of support for both individuals and organisations we can effectively contribute to the Society's vision.  In particular catalysing, coordinating or contributing to transcription, indexing or other group projects or objectives with a wide range of other people.



Graham Walter

Vice Chairman
Heather Nowlan

Rebecca Gregory and Natalie Pithers

In this section, you can also find information relating to Governance, the Board of Trustees, Annual Reports & AGM, and Society Policies.

Become a member

Join us

As a 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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