A researcher using a family history website on a computer A researcher using a family history website on a computer Show image info

Using a family history website

Online resources

We provide wi-fi and have four computers available for public use, all free of charge, which you can use to research your family history. There is no charge for using the computers or any websites.

There are an increasing number of records available online to support family history research and many of them are available on these websites. If you are having difficulty finding the resources or want advice on where else to look, please ask a member of staff.

Subscription websites

We maintain subscriptions to three database websites so you can access them for free:

  • AncestryLibrary: access to the worldwide collection of records, including Somerset Parish records. May be used on your own device using our wifi during your visit.
  • Findmypast: access to the worldwide collection of records, including the British Newspapers database.
  • British Newspaper Archive: searchable access to digitised newspapers from the British Isles from the early 18th century to about 1950 (some are later). Includes Bath Chronicle 1760-1950 and other local titles.

Please note, as we are restricted to a single user logging in to Findmypast at one time, please telephone or email us in advance to book to use this database. It is also recommended that you book a place if your time in the Record Office is restricted and you wish to secure a computer for use. We have free wifi in the searchrooms.

Bath Record Office databases

We have compiled some of our own databases that may be of use if your ancestors were locals:

  • Bath Ancestors: selected records compiled from the Archives collections. Copies can be ordered directly.
  • Bath Burial Index: searchable index to the burial sites in Bath and expanding outwards. Does not include recent burials or cremations – see Deceased Online where the more recent records can be accessed (paid site).
  • Georgian Newspaper Project: hand-indexed selection of Bath Chronicle newspapers, 1770-1799. More accurate than the scanned images on the BNA.
  • Bath in Time: images from the Local Studies, Bath Preservation Trust and private collections relating to Bath and the immediate vicinity.

Non-subscription websites

These are some of the free sites that the staff use regularly for their research:

  • FreeBMD, FreeREG, FreeCEN: transcriptions of BMD indexes, Church Registers and Census returns. A good alternative to large databases on the subscription sites.
  • BathBMD: transcriptions of the BMD indexes held by the Bath & North East Somerset Register Office. Includes mother’s maiden name for births, pairing of marriage partnerships, and records sub-registration districts. Details to year only, not quarter.
  • Bath Historical Directories: searchable database of selected Bath Directories 1791-1935 digitised by the History of Bath Research Group.
  • Maps:
  • Library online resources – Bath & North East Somerset Library Service subscribes to several useful reference websites that you can access from home with your library membership number, including ODNB, Oxford English Dictionary, Who’s Who, Who Was Who, as well as Music and Art biographical databases.