In March 1995 a new website dedicated to research in the British Isles. Seventeen years later, GENUKI is the oldest and largest website dedicated to research in this area. GENUKI is a “virtual reference library of genealogical information of particular relevance to the UK and Ireland.” It is a charitable trust (non-profit to Americans) and run by volunteers. It is a very valuable tool for those researching in the UKI.
The site is subdivided into the major regions: Channel Islands, Ireland, Isle of Man, England, Scotland, and Wales. The region pages provide information that applies to the entire area. Each region is subdivided into counties, then into towns and parishes within the county. As one would expect, the county pages provide county-wide information, while the town and parish pages provide the details for specific localities. Links at the top of each page allow users to easily navigate through the different levels of the site.
The regional pages provide information on a wide variety of resources. The England page, for example, has material for more than 40 different categories of information, from archives and libraries to town records.
The county pages are also very useful and informative. For example, among the material provided on the Oxfordshire page:
- Lists of Archives and Libraries
- Bibliography of important resources
- Information about church records and civil registration
- Genealogy specific resources
- Probate resources
- List of towns and parishes
The list of quick links on the home page is extremely useful if you are new to researching the British Isles, or new to the site itself. In addition to the guidance for these two groups, a list of Frequently Asked Questions can assist even those who have been researching for awhile.
My two favorite quick links, however, are the gazetteer and the church databse. The gazetteer is a searchable database of place names in the UKI. You can limit your search by county, or search the entire database at once. You can search on partial words as well as full words. The results can be displayed on a map or a tabular table. You can also get a list of nearby places.
The church database can be of great assistance when trying to locate church records. By putting in a place name, you can get a list of churches in the area. For example, I searched for Ecton, Northamptonshire, and received a list of 11 churches within three miles of the town. Currently the database contains parish churches that existed at the start of the 19th century, but there are plans to expand the database in the future.
Altogether, GENUKI is a premier tool for researching your ancestors in the British Isles. The site has a list of articles that have been written about it over the years. You may find it helpful to read some of them for more information.