Researching your ancestors from Great Britain and Ireland

A guide to researching your ancestors in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, using resources at State Library Victoria.

England & Wales

The first major survey of England was completed in 1086 with the Domesday book. It was commissioned by William the Conqueror so he could determine the resources and taxable values of all the boroughs and manors in England. The next national taxation assessment didn't occur until 1662 with the introduction of the Hearth Tax which required every household head to pay a tax of two shillings a year for each hearth or chimney in their property.

A national Land Tax was first introduced in 1692 and continued in various forms until it was finally repealed in 1963. The tax was administered locally with records being kept at Country Record Offices. From1780 to 1832 copies of the Land Tax Assessments were also placed in the quarter session records.

Available from home

  • Domesday book - National Archives UK. Completed in 1086 this manuscript is a record of the `Great Survey' of England and parts of Wales.
  • Hearth tax 1662-1689.The first national record since the 1086 Domesday book.
    • Hearth Tax Online - includes the London and Middlesex tax for 1666 and searchable lists and maps for various other counties. Maintained by the Centre for Hearth Tax Research, University of Roehampton..
    • The London Hearth Tax, available on the British History Online website. Covers the City of London (1662), Westminster (1664) and the City of London and Middlesex (1666).
  • Land Tax Assessment records 1780 -1832. Search the Family History Library Catalog for Great Britain, then look for the Board of Inland Revenue – Land Tax Assessments. You can then order and view the records through one of the Australian LDS Family History Centres.
  • King's Remembrancer, particulars of account and other records relating to lay and clerical taxation. Digitised copies can be viewed at any FamilySearch  Family history center or Affiliate library..

Available in the library

Further information