The Genealogist’s Internet

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Internet Genealogy Timeline

Entries in italics are general online developments, not specifically of genealogical importance.

1983October 31stFirst genealogy newsgroup: net.roots
1985July Creation of the .uk top-level domain
1986September 20thFirst posting to soc.roots, replacement for net.roots
1987December 12thROOTS-L — first genealogy mailing list
1990April 7thRoots Surname List announced
1990December Hytelnet — directory of telnet sites, including many library catalogues
1990December Remote access to National Register of Archives
1991August 6thWorld-Wide Web publicly released
1991November JANET IP service: UK universities start to connect directly to the Internet (most early UK genealogy sites are hosted on university servers)
1991December Launch of Genserv, e-mail based GEDCOM matching service
1993June Alan Stanier puts STANIER family tree online — first personal UK family tree online?
1993November 11thMosaic 1.0 browser for Windows and Mac released (a UNIX version had been released in April)
1993December 6thFTP archive at Penn State University makes genealogy software available for download
1994April 28thPaddy Waldron sets up Irish genealogy pages on the Trinity College Dublin web site
1994May 31stFrode Kvam posts source code for GECDOM -> HTML conversion program to ROOTS-L
1994July 10thGene Stark announces GED2HTML, a program to create an on-line pedigree from a GEDCOM file
1994July 16thThe Genealogy Home Page — first directory of internet genealogy resources
1994July Channel Island Surname Interest List — first UK surname interest list?
1994November 9thLaunch of HM Treasury web site — first UK government department on-line
1994November 14thReorganization of genealogy newsgroups into the soc.genealogy hierarchy
1994December 7thNorth of Ireland FHS web site — first FHS web site?
1994December 8thInaugural meeting of the Archives and Internet Group
1994December Genserv moves to the Web
1994December Launch of .Net and Internet — the first UK Internet magazines
1995January Phil Stringer publishes "Online genealogy information about the UK", the forerunner of Genuki
1995February 2% sample of 1851 census available for download by FTP
1995February John Fuller and Chris Gaunt launch Genealogy Resources on the Internet
1995March 7thPRO leaflets made available on Malcolm Austen's web site (later moved to Genuki)
1995March 25thThe Web overtakes file transfer (FTP) as the main use of the Internet
1995March Announcement of Genuki on soc.genealogy.computing
1995April Historical Manuscripts Commission
1995April Manchester and Lancashire mailing list started
1995June — first newsgroup for genealogy of the British Isles
1995June Elizabeth Powell Crowe, Genealogy On-line — first internet genealogy book?
1995July 1stMicrosoft’s Internet Explorer 1.0
1995July Dr Ashton Emery's A-Z of British Genealogical Research
1995September 15thDemon Internet announces local call access for the whole of the UK
1995October Genuki is by now hosting pages for a number of family history societies (including Clywd, Devon, Dyfed and Gwynedd)
1995October National Archives of Ireland Family History & Genealogy page
1995October Historical Manuscripts Commission web site; telnet access to the National Register of Archives.
1995November FFHS publications catalogue made available on Genuki
1995December 15thThompson one-name study
1995December Archives Online
1995December Mailing lists for some individual Scottish clans in existence
1995December AltaVista, first major search engine
1996January 15thFirst issue of Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter
1996January GooNS web site
1996February 20thLottery Grant for Images of England
1996February David Hawgood: "Internet for Genealogy" — first UK internet genealogy book?
1996February Launch of the RootsWeb "genealogy co-operative"
1996March 4thCyndi's List
1996March 14thSomerset Record Office becomes first UK record office to launch a web site
1996March National Library of Wales
1996March Society of Genealogists hosts its first lecture on the internet
1996March Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) Web site launched
1996April 18thLiverpool Record Office
1996April Pedigree Users Group starts a mailing list
1996May Greater Manchester CRO
1996May Lincolnshire Archives
1996June USGenWeb
1996September 5thNorfolk Surnames list
1996October Web site for Computers in Genealogy
1996October WorldGenWeb launched
1996December launched
1997April 9thBooks We Own — first lookup exchange?
1997May Society of Genealogists registers its domain name
1997May Cheshire Wills on the Web
1997June British Library makes its catalogue accessible via the web
1997June Familia launched, with details of the genealogical holdings of public libraries in the British Isles
1997July Manorial Documents Register goes on-line with data for Wales and Yorkshire
1997July Britain and Ireland newsgroups split
1997August County Lookup Exchange announced
1997October Cyndi Howells, Netting Your Ancestors: Genealogical Research on the Internet
1997November 4thGuild of One-Name Studies domain name registered
1997December Genealogy programs start to include Web page creation facilities
1998March 16thFFHS registers its domain name
1998March 23rdSociety of Genealogists' web site
1998March 26thPublic Record Office web site
1998March 27thGenuki registers its own domain name
1998April 6thScots Origins launched with Scottish BMD certificates — first pay-per-view site for UK public records
1998July 2ndARCHON Directory provides details of record repositories
1998September 7thFreeBMD announced
1998September 15thSociety of Genealogists Bookshop online
1998September 30thGoogle launched
1998November 11thDebt of Honour Register — first complete on-line "genealogical" dataset to cover the whole of the UK
1998December National Register of Archives accessible via the Web
1999January 18thGenfair launched as an on-line shop with "stands" for individual family history societies
1999January Launch of Collage, Corporation of London image databse
1999March 26thCrown copyright waiver: genealogists can publish their own transcriptions of PRO documents without permission
1999May 24thPowys Digital History site (started june 1998)
1999May Launch of FamilySearch puts the IGI on-line
1999July Start of FreeCEN project
2000January Workhouse History site launched
2000February The Federation of Family History Societies registers its commercial domain name
2000March 19thRob Thompson starts his Family History Newsletter
2000June Old-maps
2000June 12thLaunch of Federation of Family History Societies' on-line bookshop
2000June 21stRootsWeb acquired by
2000June 22ndFailure of soc.genealogy.surnames newsgroups
2000September 1stUK Government portal UKonline launched
2000October Images of England launched
2000October New Genuki search engine, covering Genuki and other UK family history bodies
2000October Caroline Peacock: "Good Web Guide Genealogy"
2000October CheshireBMD — first UKBMD project
2000November 24thNational Archives of Scotland web site launched
2000November 30thScottish Archive Network goes live
2000November Genuki trade mark registration
2000December 15thFamilyRecords launched to provide a government genealogy portal
2000December British Library Newspaper Library‚Äôs catalogue goes online
2000December ARCHON Portal
2001January 18thGROS announces plans to add digital images to Scots Origins
2001January 25thLaunch of Origins with data from the Society of Genealogists — first UK genealogy data service
2001January Cornwall Online Parish Clerks (OPC) project launched
2001February 7thGenuki becomes a charitable trust
2001February 12thGoogle takes over archive of newsgroup messages from
2001April 20th1891 census pilot goes live
2001July 2ndARCHON Portal launched
2001July 150 digitisation grants announced by New Opportunities Fund, many for historical material of interest to genealogists, including Collect Britain, Digital Handsworth, Moving Here.
2001August 6th1881 census index & 1891 census images added to Scots Origins
2001August General Register Office for Northern Ireland (GRONI) launches independent web site (original site was hosted by Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency)
2001November Peter Christian: The Genealogist’s Internet
2002January 2ndNLS launches two on-line map collections
2002January 7thWhite Paper, 'Civil Registration: Vital Change' published by the Office of National Statistics, includes plans to move to electronic registration
2002January 22nd1901 census
2002January 22nd1901 census site closed down
2002September launched with 1891 census
2002September 18thScotlandspeople launched, taking over Scottish records from Scots Origins
2002November 5th1901 census relaunch
2002November 21stGenesConnected (now Genesreunited)
2003January 8thFamilyHistoryOnline
2003January Gazettes on-line
2003February 2nd1881 census added to FamilySearch
2003February 25thMerger of Genfair & FFHS Publications
2003February 26thSoG online bookshop closes
2003February GRO announces relaxation of rules on publication of BMD indexes from April 1st
2003March 5thRod Neep launches, with dozens of new mailing lists for the UK
2003March 14thThe National Archives’ DocumentsOnline
2003March Old Bailey Proceedings
2003April 1stThe PRO and HMC combine to form the National Archives (TNA) (though their web sites are not combined till June 2004)
2003April 1stFreeBMD starts to include post-1900 events
2003April 2nd1837online (now Findmypast) puts GRO indexes online
2003July 8thGRO launches on-line certificate ordering
2003July Launch of FreeCEN search engine with 1891 census transcriptions
2003August Launch of National Archivist
2003September Launch of Archives Network Wales
2003November 14thNational Audit Office report on 1901 census
2004January 26thAncestry starts on 1871 census
2004March 1stThe Archives Task Force report Listening to the Past, Speaking to the Future proposes the creation of an Archives Gateway
2004March 24thLaunch of Directgov, replacing UKonline as government portal
2004April 14thAncestry starts 1901 census
2004April 22ndEnd of GENDEX
2004May Launch of independent GRO site
2004June 28thFreeBMD adds images
2004June 28thThe National Archives launch new web site
2004July 23rdOrigins relaunched as subscription service under the name Origins Network
2004July DOVE (Digitisation of Vital Events) invitation to tender
2004November 8thFirst version of this timeline ;-)
2004November 9thA Vision of Britain Through Time
2004December 3rdThe National Archives & launch the 1881 and 1891 census under the Licensed Internet Associateship (LIA) initiative
2004December 31stGenuki Family History News ceases publication
2004December The GRO's proposals for reform of Civil Registration are rejected by committees from both Houses of Parliament
2005February 15th1837online launches 1861 census index and images
2005March 1841 Census Index launched on British Origins
2005August 1stDOVE contract signed — Siemens to digitise GRO records
2005August 21stQinetiq sells 1901 Census to GenesReunited
2005September 9thLDS Church announces plan to digitise and index all its microfilmed records
2005November 3rdChannel 4 & the Imperial War Museum launch database of WW1 war memorials in connection with the "Lost Generation" TV series
2005December 6thMedway Archives put images of 90 Kent parish registers online
2005December 6thAnnouncement of agreement between the National Archives of Ireland and Library and Archives Canada to digitise Irish Census Records for 1901 and 1911.
2005December 14thGenesReunited (as part of FriendsReunited) bought by ITV
2006January 10thAncestry makes images of the GRO indexes available free of charge
2006January 18thThe National Archivist announces the acquisition of its datasets by 1837online
2006March 4thCyndi's List celebrates its 10th anniversary
2006April 20thScotlandspeople release the 1841 census index and images for Scotland. All Scottish censuses are now available online.
2006April 22ndAncestry release the 1841 census index for England & Wales. All censuses are now available online.
2006May 8thThe Genealogy & Heraldry Bill 2006 is presented to the Irish Parliament, proposing an online National Inventory of Genealogical Records
2006September 16thAncestry put phone books for the Greater London area 1880-1984 online
2006September 20thDick Eastman's first UK Genealogy Skypecast
2006December 13thIn response to a Freedom of Information ruling, The National Archives announce that data from the 1911 Census will be available online from 2009 rather than 2012.
2007January 8thONS announces that online searching of GRO indexes will start to be available from early 2008.
2007January 11thAn online petition requesting improved access to the censuses and other archives closes with 225 signatories.
2007January 16thFindmypast launches the BT27 Outward Passenger Lists for 1890-99 on a new site, Ancestorsonboard.
2007February 15thBritish army World War One service and pension records go online at Ancestry
2007February 23rdThe Federation of Family History Societies publishes its first online-only newsletter, EZine, replacing the printed 'Newsflash'
2007March 8thAn online petition to reduce the classified period for census data from 100 years to 70 years closes with 23,602 signatories.
2007May 5thFindmypast announces the purchase of the online family tree software PedigreeSoft with the aim of integrating it within their site.
2007May 14thThe National Archives launches its 'Your Archives' wiki
2007September 1stImages of non-conformist registers from TNA classes RG4 and RG5 go online at BMDregisters
2007September 14thFFHS announces that its datasets at FamilyHistoryOnline are to be transferred to FindMyPast
2007December 4thIrish 1911 census for Dublin goes online
2008January 18thScotlandsPeople adds indexes to birth and death registrations up to 2006.
2008January 22ndScotland Online buys Findmypast with aim of consolidating it with ScotlandsPeople
2008July 3rdFamilySearch, Findmypast and Origins announce a joint project to make UK census indexes available on FamilySearch and at Family History Centers.
2008July 6thDeceased Online launches an online database of municipal burials and cremations sourced from local authorities
2008July 21stIt is announced that GROS will license data to sites other than ScotlandsPeople
2008July GRO announces delay in DOVE project after contract with Siemens is not renewed
2008September 14thFreeBMD reaches 200 million records
2008October 7thScottish Coats of Arms are made available on Scotlandspeople, the first official heraldic records for the UK to go online
2009January 13thIrish civil registration indexes are made available on the FamilySearch Pilot site
2009January 16thLaunch of the 1911 census for England and Wales
2009January 23rdPublic Records Office for Northern Ireland catalogue (eCATNI) goes live
2009February 5thThe National Archives of Scotland launch the official Scottish Register of Tartans
2009March 2ndScottish death and burials from parish registers go online at ScotlandsPeople
2009March 31stClosure of FamilyHIstoryOnline
2009June 9thThe 1911 census for England & Wales completed with the release of all Welsh counties
2009August 6thAll counties available for the 1911 Census of Ireland
2009August 28thGenesReunited purchased from ITV by Brightsolid (ScotlandsPeople, Findmypast)
2009September FamilyRecords portal closes
2009October 16thThe National Library of Wales makes over 190,000 Welsh wills available.
2009November 2ndThe GRO announces the Digitisation and Indexing (D&I) Project to replace the stalled DOVE project
2009November 6thThe Information Commissioner rules that the NHS must grant access to information in the 1939 National Identity Card Registration relating to people who are now deceased.
2009November 9thThe Office of Fair Trading approves the purchase of Genes Reunited by Brightsolid (who run Scotlandspeople and Findmypast).
2009November 25thThe Irish government launches with free access to1.3 million church records
2009December 14thThe University of the West of England announces a research project for an online database of UK surnames
2010May 19thBritish Library and Brightsolid announce project to digitise up to 40 million pages of historic newspapers
2010June 2nd1901 Census of Ireland goes online
2010June 3rd1911 Census made available on GenesReunited
2010September 13thThe GRO announces suspension of the Digitisation and Indexing Project pending the government's Comprehensive Spending Review
2010November 5thAncestry & TheGenealogist announce joint project to make the 1911 census available on their sites
2011March 2ndLaunch of the Open Genealogy Alliance
2011March Irish government makes a commitment to release the 1926 census as part of commemoration of the 1916 East Uprising.
2011April 5th1911 Census for Scotland released on ScotlandsPeople
2011May 5thLaunch of Findmypast Ireland
2011November 29thLaunch of British Newspaper Archive
2012April 2ndThe National Archives launch the Discovery service as a replacement for its existing catalogue and DocumentsOnline service.
2012June 19thLaunch of Records of London's Livery Companies Online (ROLLCO)
2012September 5thPeople of Medieval Scotland launched (" a database of all known people of Scotland between 1093 and 1314")
2012November 8thThe National Archives of Ireland launches the National Archives Genealogy Website
2013March 5thThe Imperial War Museum makes its sound archive available online, with oral history material for the world wars.
2013March 13thLaunch of Welsh Newspapers Online (National Library of Wales)
2013March 18thFamily Tree goes live on the FamilySearch site (free, but requires registration)
2013April 8thThe National Archives announces that the digitisation of the First World War unit diaries has been completed
2014April 28thThe National Archives of Ireland adds pre-1901 census fragments and the 1841-1851 Census Search Forms to its census site.
2014June 17thFindmypast buys
2014July 3rdThe General Register Office of Ireland's enhanced indexes to civil registration records are placed online (and removed ten days later).
2014September 30thThe Probate Service for England and Wales places an index to post-1996 wills online
2015February 5thUK Government agrees to allow the publication of information from Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates in England and Wales to be issued "otherwise than in the form of a certified copy".
2015July 8thThe National Library of Ireland places the National Library of Ireland's entire collection of Catholic parish register microfilms online.
2015July 15th1901censusonline, the site for the original 1901 census digitisation, closes.
2015October Scotland's National Probate Index online
2015November 2ndThe 1939 Register of England and Wales goes online at Findmypast
2015December TheGenealogist completes collection of Tithe Maps for England and Wales
2016February 7thFriendsReunited closes
2016February 26thPartnership of FamilySearch with several commercial data services
2016March Findmypast indexes Irish parish register
2016September 8thScotlandsPeople relaunches site
2016September 26thIrish historic BMD registers
2016November 3rdGRO launches new indexes for births and deaths
2016November 17thOxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland
2017May 26thCynefin project puts Welsh tithe maps online
2017October National Library of Scotland completes scanning 25" maps of England and Wales
2017November Scottish Court of Session Digital Archive launched
2018February 18thFamilySearch announces Digital-Image-Only Collections
2018March Imperial War Museum launches War Memorials Register
2020May 21stClosure of RootsWeb mailing lists
2020October 23rdComplete Anglican records for Wales at TheGenealogist
2021March 17thKirk Sessions records at ScotlandsPeople
2021September 21stFamilySearch completes digitisation of microfilm holdings
2022January 6th1921 census for England and Wales
2022June 27thVirtual Record Treasury of Ireland
2022November 30th1921 census for Scotland
2023July GRO introduces instant access to historic birth and death records