England, the largest country of Great Britain and the United Kingdom, is bordered on the west by Wales, on the north by Scotland, on the east by the North sea, and on the south by the English Channel. Its' capital city, London, is the seat of national government, and historically the capital city of the British Empire. England is currently sub-divided into 48 geographic counties, most of which have their origins from ancient times. Due to changes in the geographic and administrative counties those listed below are not necessarily the ones in current use.
Archives and Libraries
The National Archives
020 8876 3444
Chapman codeThe Chapman code for England is ENG.
Chapman codes are used in genealogy as a short data code for administrative areas, such as county and country names.
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
We have a list of the Registration Districts in England and Wales, by county.
Directories & Gazetteers
We have completely transcribed Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, seventh edition, published in 1858. This gives descriptions of the parishes, hamlets, villages etc. and is an important edition as it also contains the recently introduced Poor Law unions.
We have many trade directories available online.
Old map of England and Wales circa 1895 (Gazetteer of England and Wales)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive started as a partnership between the British Library and findmypast to digitise up to 40 million newspaper pages from the British Library's vast collection. This has been extended and over 50 million pages from thousands of titles are now online, covering the 17th-20th centuries.
Prior to 1858 wills had to be proved by the church and other courts. The Prerogative Court of Canterbury was the most important of these courts. Copies of the probates of these wills can be searched and viewed online at the National Archives.
For wills after 1858 the Government Probate search service can be used. You will need to identify and copy some information from the National Probate Calendar to order a record, which is delivered online.
The National Probate Calendar is online at Ancestry.co.uk