Tracing your Family History Online

Tracing your Family History Online

Newcastle Libraries Online Resources

We have plenty of online resources which you can use for Heritage and Family History Research.  You can access most of these from home, all you need is your library card! If you are not a library member, please join online.

Tracing your Family History at home with …

During social distancing and limited access to libraries, these fantastic family history resources have been made available. They are normally free when accessed at your local library, but during these times you can access them for free, from home. 

Ancestry Library Edition

Ancestry will allow you online access from home. Through this database you can search and view thousands of family records such as census, military records, births, marriages and deaths. You need to go through the portal in the library catalogue, logging in using your library card number and password. Then click on the link to Ancestry on your account summary page.


We have subscriptions to a couple of sites that provide access to historical newspapers. They are accessible via the Online Reference Resources  page all you need is your library card.

  • 19th Century British Library Newspapers

The Nineteenth Century Newspapers database includes three northern titles: The Newcastle Courant, The Northern Liberator and the Northern Echo. It includes a range of regional and national titles too, such as The Illustrated Police News.

  • Times Digital Archive

Search through the complete digital edition of The Times from 1785 up until 2009 . You can retrieve either a specific article or a complete page. The entire newspaper is captured with all articles, advertisements, illustrations and photos.

Our Photographic Collections

We've uploaded 7,000 local historic photographs from our collection on Flickr. Find out where your relatives used to live and what it looked like.

Newcastle Libraries Factsheets

You can access our collections guides via our Local Studies and Family History webpages. They offer useful information about resources and how to get started with your research.

Bereavement Services and Register Office

Find useful information on Newcastle City Council’s Registrars webpages about researching family history and how to apply for copy Birth, Marriage and Death certificates.  You can find information about the city's burial sites and crematoria from our Bereavement Services.  Most councils will have this information on their own websites, if you are searching for details from other areas of the UK.

Northumberland and Durham Family History Society

Based in the City centre on Percy Street, the Society provides resources and help with family history research and sells a range of publications which can be provided by email. Check out their website for further details.

West Newcastle Picture History Collection

West Newcastle have a wonderful collection of photographs and maps etc. relating to the West End of Newcastle. The collection is based at West End Library and their representative is usually there on Mondays from 10am until 4pm, but for now you can check out some of their fantastic collection online.

St James’ Heritage and Environment Group

The group work to promote and share the heritage of Benwell and Scotswood. Ordinarily, they have an extensive programme of interesting talks , but for the moment you can see films and publications on their website. Email them and you can receive regular quizzes and information while they are out of action.

Regional Resources

Some websites cover the North East region including Newcastle upon Tyne. Here are some regional resources.

Tyne & Wear Archives

This is the place to find archives relating to Tyne & Wear including company, court  and school records. They have photographs and much more including an excellent online catalogue and user guides to their collections.

Woodhorn – Northumberland Record Office

This is the archive service for Northumberland. They have an online catalogue providing information about some of their collections and links to National Archive catalogues.

Durham Record Office

This is the Record office for Durham and Darlington. You can access some of their collections via their website.

Northumberland Fusiliers

North East War Memorials Project


National Resources

Government help and advice

The official government website has useful links regarding life event documents (births, marriages and deaths), and where to access National Archives and other official records.

The General Register Office keeps information on births, deaths, marriages, adoptions and civil partnerships in England and Wales.  They maintain the archive for births, deaths and marriages from 1837. You can order copies of certificates directly from them.

National Archives Online Resources

The National Archives for the UK Government, England and Wales offer advice and information about researching family history and where to find the records you need. There is an online catalogue that you can use to search their holdings and those of other institutions. 

Find out about your Scottish ancestors on Scotland’s People, the official Scottish Government site for searching government records and archives. It's the gateway to all the Scottish Records.  You need to register to use parts of this site and there are charges to access records.

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) is the official archive for Northern Ireland.  Access records on Northern Ireland's PRONI website.

We've included records for Ireland too for ease of reference.

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