Connecting with your heritage is one of the best ways to discover more about yourself, your history, and your family. You can embark on this journey by doing anything from unraveling the life stories of your ancestors to embracing the customs and experiences of your cultural heritage. If you’re researching your United Kingdom genealogy, your heritage is closer than you think.
Having ancestry in the United Kingdom means that
your ancestors are from England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. These
four countries, while relatively small in size, reflect a diverse range of
cultures, customs, languages, foods, and more.
Discover what your heritage means to you as you
learn about your ancestors and their experiences. You can start by researching
United Kingdom genealogy using FamilySearch records, exploring your family
tree, or diving into the customs and history of the
United Kingdom. Here are some resources to get you started:
The more you learn about your ancestors, the more you understand your own story. Take the dive into the cultures and customs of the United Kingdom and your British ancestors.
A Look into the Past
A lot has happened to bring
about the United Kingdom as you know it today! A complex and rich history
shaped the individual countries and later their unification.
Before the Union
Celtic and Gaelic groups were
some of the earlier residents of the United Kingdom. However, the area was
under foreign rule in later years.
First, the Romans conquered
Britain. Then Germanic tribes started taking over in what we know today as
England. Later, Norman and Viking raids peppered Britain for hundreds of
These foreign powers brought
many changes with them, including the first roads, development of cities, and
spread of Christianity. Indirectly, Viking involvement also made way for
England and Scotland to emerge.
As a United Kingdom
England (Wales included) and
Scotland remained at odds with one another for centuries. However, in 1707 they
united to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. Nearly 100 years later, Ireland
joined to form the United Kingdom.
In the centuries that followed,
the United Kingdom became a major world power.
Life in the United Kingdom
The culture of the United
Kingdom is recognized around the world. When you think of the United Kingdom,
your first thought might be drinking a cup of tea or enjoying fish and chips.
There’s much more to it than that!
English is the main language in the United Kingdom,
and it is spoken by 98 percent of the population. However, Welsh, Scots,
Scottish Gaelic, and Irish Gaelic are also commonly heard in Wales, Ireland,
Even among English speakers, there’s a lot of
variety. Dozens of distinct dialects make for a unique linguistic map. Try
using this map to listen to recordings
of many British dialects and hear how your ancestors from different areas may
Because the United Kingdom is made up of four
countries, there is a mix of culinary traditions. That being said, you can
often expect to find dishes with meat as an entrée and sides of vegetables and
Popular dishes include Yorkshire pudding, fish and chips, haggis, and roast beef.
The United Kingdom has produced some of the
biggest international sensations of the past century, which have had a global
impact. Harry Potter, the Beatles, Lord
of the Rings, Adele, and Doctor Who are just a few.
United Kingdom Genealogy
Feeling motivated to learn more about your
British heritage? Get started with some of the following resources:
- Find records using FamilySearch’s database.
- Search United Kingdom record collections on FamilySearch.org.
- Explore United Kingdom genealogy with the help of the FamilySearch wiki.
- Join the Family History UK community to get help from other people who are also looking for their families.
Source: Family Search