Skip to main content

Useful websites

The Local Studies and Archive service recommends the following websites

Ancestry Library Edition - Researching your family tree? Discover genealogy, family trees and family history records online. Free to search in Tower Hamlets libraries and Idea Stores

Anglo-German Family History Society- research the family history of people from German-speaking parts of Europe who emigrated to the UK

Archon Directory - search for UK archive collections by location

Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives - hire professionals to undertake family history research on your behalf

BBC Family History - hints, tips and ideas for tracing your family history

British History Online - includes digitised copy of the 'Survey of London: Volume 27 Spitalfields and Mile End New Town’

British in India - Online Maritime Guides- background information for researching mariners

British Library - England's national deposit library with an extensive online collection, also holds talks, events and exhibitions

British Newspaper Archives - digitised historic newspapers, free to search in Tower Hamlets libraries and Idea Stores

British Pathé - highlights from British Pathé and the Reuters historical film collection

Building History - guides to researching historic buildings in the British Isles

Charles Booth Online Archive - includes the poverty maps of East London as well as digitised excerpts from survey notebooks, police notebooks and records of the Stepney Union workhouse

COLLAGE The London Picture Archive - Over 250,000 free images of London from the collections at London Metropolitan Archives and Guildhall Art Gallery

Cyndi's List - useful starting point for genealogists

Dead Pubs - pub history of London and the surrounding area, including photos and descriptions of pubs that no longer exist

Deceased Online - the central database for UK burials and cremations

East London History Society - for those interested in the history of East London, including the London Boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham

East of London Family History Society - covers the whole of East London including Tower Hamlets

Eastside Community Heritage Hidden Histories – East London community archive which holds over 4,000 oral histories, thousands of photographs and videos

Family Search - free online genealogical research website. Includes non-conformist registers not found on Ancestry

Federation of Family History Societies - includes a directory of member societies and useful information sheets about family history

Find A Will – Search and order copies of UK wills for any person who died after 1858

FreeBMD - free searchable database of UK birth, marriage and death index entries

Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park - for researching individuals buried at Tower Hamlets Cemetery

General Register Office - order copies of UK birth, marriage and death certificates

Genmaps - images of English, Welsh and Scottish local history maps

GENUKI - for genealogists and family historians in the British Isles

Hackney Archives- for all enquiries relating to the London borough of Hackney

Historical Directories of England and Wales – digitised historic street and trade directories

History of the County of Middlesex Vol. 11 Stepney and Bethnal Green - published history of the area from the 11th to the 19th century, taken from the Victoria County History series

History Pin - collaborative website which allows users to pin historical photos to maps in order to show what areas once look like

Huguenot Library - Huguenot collections at UCL

Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland – member for those who respect and admire the Huguenots and seek to perpetuate their memory

Historic England photos – searchable database of historic images

Island History Trust - dedicated to recording and preserving the history of the Isle of Dogs and the people who live there

JewishGen - Jewish family history website including the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry

Jewish Genealogical Society- British genealogy society for people researching Jewish family history

LAGNA - Lesbian and Gay Newsmedia Archive comprises 200,000 cuttings taken from the non-gay press on all LGBT matters since the late nineteenth century, as well as reference books on LGBT topics

Layers of London - access free historic maps of London including some a selection from Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

London Metropolitan Archives - includes London parish registers, school and workhouse records

London’s Screen Archives – view digitised historic films from over seventy London repositories, including Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

LSE LGBT Collections - primary source material relating to gay and lesbian history, including the Hall-Carpenter Archives

Making Britain - discover how South Asians shaped the nation between 1870 and 1950

Moving Here - 200 years of immigration history

Museum of London Docklands - history of the docks and the surrounding areas, part of the Museum of London

The National Archives Discovery Catalogue - search for archival material held at the National Archives and other UK institutions

National Library of Scotland Map Images - access high-resolution zoomable images of over 130,000 maps of Scotland, England and Wales

Numbi Arts - Somali community arts organisation based in East London

Old Bailey Online - free online database to search for trials at the Old Bailey

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography - for free access to this subscription service enter the 'TH' followed by your library card number.

Refugee Council Archive - over 35,000 items relating to migration and refugees, at the University of East London

RootsChat - large forum for discussing family history, sharing research and making research requests

Swadhinata Trust - secular Bengali heritage and history group, includes oral histories, photographs, workshops, walks and publications

Tower Hamlets History Online - includes many interesting articles about social conditions in the borough's past

A Vision of Britain Through Time - using census returns, maps and other sources this site attempts to create a picture of life in Britain over the last 200 years

Women's Library - most extensive women's history collection in the UK, providing talks and workshops on women's history as well as exhibitions

The Workhouse - excellent resource for finding out more information about workhouses.