Family History Resources

Family History Resources

Explore your family history with Ancestry, Findmypast, and other resources, free to access with your library card.


Ancestry is available to library members in all West Sussex Libraries (not from home), and includes a collection of worldwide databases covering everything from census returns to passenger lists.

Read our Ancestry helpsheet or watch the video below, which will give you a quick introduction to Ancestry and how to search for your ancestors. Please be aware that the Ancestry homepage has recently changed and this is not reflected in this video.


Findmypast is available to library members in all West Sussex Libraries (not from home) and offers a range of UK databases to help you trace your family tree. Unique collections include the 1939 register of households at the start of WW2, and school admission registers and log books from the beginning of the 20th Century. 

The 1921 Census is now included in our library subscription.

Please note that our although our FMP subscription does not include access to the British Newspaper Archive, we have a separate subscription to the BNA, (available in our libraries only).

Read our Findmypast helpsheet or watch this video:

British Newspaper Archive

British Newspaper Archive contains regional historical newspapers covering the 18th-20th century from the British Library collection. Available to library members in all West Sussex Libraries (not from home). You will need to set up a free account with the British Newspaper Archive. When you next log in, you will be able to access the archive and a personal 'My Research' area. Read or download our British Newspaper Archive helpsheet.

Dictionary of National Biography

Dictionary of National Biography is available to library members from home. It gives a huge amount of information on famous or notable people who shaped the history of the British Isles and beyond. It includes biographies of over 60,000 men and women who died in or before 2016.

Read or download our Dictionary of National Biography helpsheet.

Illustrated London News

Illustrated London News is available to library members from home. It was the world’s first fully illustrated weekly newspaper. The publication presented a vivid picture of British and world events — including news of war, disaster, ceremonies, the arts, and science — with coverage in the first issue ranging from the Great Fire of Hamburg to Queen Victoria’s fancy dress ball at Buckingham Palace.

Read or download our Illustrated London News helpsheet.

Oxford Dictionary of Famiy Names

The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names covers English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, Cornish and immigrant surnames in the UK. It includes every surname with currently more than 100 bearers and those with 20 or more bearers in the 1881 census. Every entry gives you the name's history and includes famous people who have held the name in the past.

Read or download our Oxford Reference helpsheet for help with accessing the Oxford Dictionary of Family Names.

Times Digital Archive

Times Digital Archive (TDA) is available to library members from home. It is an online archive of more than 200 years of The Times, covering 1785 - 2019.

Read or download our TDA helpsheet.

Family History Magazines

You can read Who do you Think You Are magazine and Family Tree Magazine for free with your library card from our eMagazines.

Read our Libby helpsheet for help with setting up an account to read emagazines and ebooks.

Who's Who

Who's Who and Who was Who is available to library members from home. It is an encyclopaedia of influential and noteworthy people in all areas of public life. It includes authors, pop stars, royalty and many more.

Read or download our Who's Who helpsheet.

More help and information

For further information and help with any of these resources, please fill in an Ask a Librarian form and the Enquiries Team will be happy to help.

You can also read our Family History helpsheet.

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