Researching your Family History

How to Begin

If your ancestors have passed down rumours of royal blood, or of links to the rich and famous, what should you do?

A good starting point is to follow the story to as near to the source as possible, and interview those family members (preferably on tape or video if they are willing). This will give you information to use as a starting point for your research. Very often there is more than a grain of truth in stories passed down through the generations.

Once you are armed with all the information you can glean from your relatives, work back along the family line to find the ancestor with the royal link. Genealogy websites, such as TheGenealogist can help with this.

There are lots of Records you can use to Trace your Ancestry

These include census records, birth, marriage and death records, parish records, directories, military records and more. You can find information on tracing your ancestry at, a simple guide to researching your family history. This site include lots of information on the different types of records and how to use them, and lots more about genealogy and family history. It's a fantastic guide for beginners.

TheGenealogist has a whole section of its website dedicated to Peerage, Gentry and royalty records, which are worth looking through if one of your ancestors had a title or was a member of the aristocracy.

Discovering Royal Ancestors

Discovering that you are related to Royalty can be very rewarding - we have included a case study on this website of someone who found that he had connections to William the Conqueror!

To begin your research into your family history and to find out whether you are descended from royalty, offers a free search at their website. RootsUK also offers a free search.

The Genealogist - UK census, BMDs and more online
Knights of England

The Knights of England WM. A. Shaw

The Knights of England 1127-1904, available at TheGenealogist

TheGenealogist offers The Knights of England 1127-1904 as part of its Diamond subscription, which is the definitive two-volume publication. It is described in the frontispiece as "A Complete Record from the Earliest Time [1127] to the Present Day [1904] of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and of Knights Bachelors."

Using the website's search tool, you can search for names or other words in this book, or across all their peerage, gentry and royalty records. You can then view the page on which any matches are found. Alternatively you can browse through the whole book to discover more about the knighthoods available throughout history.

Other records available from TheGenealogist include:

  • Peerage and Heritage Records
  • Royal Calendars
  • Visitation Records
  • Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes
  • Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage of the British Empire