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Family Histories

The following is a guide to compiled English family histories, articles, and pedigrees. Unless thoroughly documented, such histories should be considered as second-hand information to be verified by research in original sources. The following approach is helpful any time uncommon surnames have been traced to specific places. Fortunately, the FHL has simplified the daunting task of finding published materials pertinent to one family in a specific geographic area by consolidating some of the available guides and creating indexes to published materials found in their library before 1990.

The simplified approach outlined here consists of 3 steps:

  1. Check the "British Isles Surname Index" found in volumes 1-10 under FHL Ref (designated in blue under the title of HER on the England/Wales reference shelves located just to the south of the reference counter) 942 D4ar. This index consolidates The Genealogist's Guide first compiled by Marshall and updated by Whitmore and Barrow (available on FamilySearch Books and and Burk's Family Index. These 3 books are also available at BYU. Each surname should be associated with a place where the desired family was located. Avoid common surnames without a known geographic reference. If a likely name and place are found, copy the number assigned to the source of that information plus its short title, volume and page number. Then go to volume 11 of the same work to find the FHL call number for that source.
  2. Search Smith's Inventory of Genealogical Sources under FHL Ref (designated in blue under the title of BIB on the same reference shelves) 942 D23s and on microfiche 6110526 at BYU. This book is also available on FamilySearch Books. Check the county of interest for the subjects of Family Records, List of Names, and Pedigrees.
  3. Check Thomson's Catalogue of British Family Histories, 3rd edition under FHL Ref (designated in blue under the title of BIB on the reference shelves) 942 A3t 1976 and BYU Religion/Family History Reference CS414 .X1 T56 1980. Then search the catalogs of both libraries for the desired book.

Genealogical Periodicals

Periodicals of the 18th-19th centuries are more oriented towards family histories than modern genealogical periodicals but they focus on the well-to-do. This can be beneficial for pre-1700 research when pedigrees of all social classes may begin to merge. Try the following routine:

  1. Start with the index created by the FHL for the Gentleman's Magazine, 1731-1868. The index is found under FHL 942 B2g index and the actual magazines are next to it. Also accessible on
  2. Next consider the guides produced by Stuart Raymond, particularly British Genealogical Periodicals, 1991, under FHL 942 D23rs. Start with the "Index of family names"" on pages 51 and 81 of his volume1 to Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica, 1834-43, Topographer and Genealogist, 1846-58, and The Ancestor, 1902-05. Raymond's volume 2, page 38 of part 1 and all of part 2 refers to The Genealogist, 1877-1921. Raymond's volume 3 (1993), page 77 of part 1 and all of part 2 refers to Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica, 1868-1938. All of these periodicals are available at the FHL. Also at the FHL are two more that have separate indexes in the back of each of their volumes: Herald and Genealogist, 1863-74 and The Genealogical Magazine, 1897-1904.
  3. Try also Stuart Raymond's British Genealogy in Miscellaneous Journals (FHL 942 D23rs, supp. 1, 1994, especially pages 76-80). This is a guide to four archaeological journals, the last three of which are at the FHL. He also indexes the Northern Genealogist, 1895-1903 and Reliquary, 1860-1902, which are at the FHL as well.
  4. You may also want to try Notes and Queries, 1849-present. Start with either Oxford Journals or the FHL microfilms beginning with the first series on FHL 845,024.

NOTE: You may also find some of the above titles on Google Books, FamilySearch Books,, or