• Join our 'Brick Wall SWAT Team'

    We have been inundated with responses so have closed for this year. ___________________________________________________

    Can you spend some time on Saturday March 7th, and in the run-up, to help researchers break down their brick walls with our records?

    Do you love donning your detective hat to help people push their family trees back a generation? We're holding a 'Genealo-thon' on Saturday the 7th March, for Open Data Day 2020 (link opens in new tab) and are looking for a team of 'Brick-Wall-Bashers' to use the records in FreeBMD, FreeCEN and FreeREG to help break down some of our researchers' brick walls.

    Things to note: 

    • You do not have to be a Free UK Genealogy volunteer to join the Brick Wall SWAT Team.
    • We will attempt a manageable number of cases. 
    • Help is provided on a voluntary basis and dependent upon the records we have available in our databases. 
    • While we will do our best, success cannot be guaranteed and we reserve the right not to progress any question which has insufficent information.

    If you have the time, family history experience, and knowledge of how to use our websites, please register to help using the form below.

    There's more information about the challenge here: https://www.freeukgenealogy.or... but iIf you have any questions, send them to info@freeukgenealogy.org.uk

  • Brick Wall Challenge: Open Data Day 2020

    We have been inundated with responses so have closed for this year.


    We're holding a 'Genealo-thon' on Saturday the 7th March, using our records to help break down your brick walls.

    Why not get some fresh eyes on your Brick Wall Ancestor? This year for Open Data Day we're hosting a Brick Wall Challenge! Send us as much information as you have on your 'brick wall' ancestor (BWA) and the Free UK Genealogy community will try to help you push that ancestral line back a generation using our freely available Open Data.

    Use the form below to tell us as much as you can about your BWA and if your application is progressed we will be in touch!

    When sending us a FamilySearch tree link, please make sure the focus is on your brick wall ancestor, or other ancestor; if it is on yourself, we won't be able to view your tree.

    If you'd like to be involved from the other side, to help break down the Brick Walls, this is the page for you: https://www.freeukgenealogy.org.uk/news/2020/02/14/brick-wall-team/

  • The GRO Permits Sharing of FreeBMD Screenshots

    Good news for those who want to share their family history discoveries online. The GRO has permitted users of FreeBMD to take screenshots of entries and share them online.

    FreeBMD is one of a suite of free to use, forever, family history database - users are already free to share screenshots of FreeCEN (nineteenth-century censuses) and FreeREG (registers of baptism, marriage and burial from the Church of England and other bodies).

    Pat Reynolds, Executive Director of Free UK Genealogy said “Personally, I love being able to share family history discoveries with my family on social media - I’m delighted I can now do this for the civil registration data we hold on FreeBMD”.
    Free UK Genealogy is a registered charity,  where thousands of volunteers - transcribers, developers and others -  make historic documents freely accessible to all on its websites www.freebmd.org.uk, www.freecen.org.uk, and www.freereg.org.uk.

  • Accessibility Improvements: New Colours For FreeCEN & FreeREG

    In the summer of 2016, Free UK Genealogy began a journey to make all of our websites accessible to a minimum AA standard of W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. People may struggle to access our services due to advancing age, long-term health issues, and/or disability, which can often make access difficult or impossible. We're committed to removing all barriers to access of family history information and so we arranged for our most newly-developed website at the time, FreeREG, to undergo accessibility testing at The Shaw Trust (you can read about that here, in our News article)

    A few weeks later, we received the report which told us what we already knew: users with accessibility issues found it difficult or impossible to use our websites, even with assistive technologies. So we set to work to make the improvements required, with the vast majority of it being done by our volunteers. 

    One of the biggest jobs to come out of the audit was the insufficient colour contrast. The report stated:

    The combination of text and background colour should be set to create an easy to read website. Using colours that are similar for the background and foreground can cause blocks of text to become difficult to read.

    If the text size is at least 18 point if not bold and 14 point if bold, the minimum colour contrast ratio should be at least 3:1, if the text is less than 18 point if not bold and less than 14 point if bold, the minimum colour contrast ratio should be at least 4.5:1.

    Throughout the site there are combinations of colours that fall below the minimum contrast levels that make the text difficult to read.

    “There are instances where the text is made harder to read because of the colour combination used on the website when reading and hovering the mouse over certain links.”
    (Colour contrast tester)

    The new Free UK Genealogy logos

    It’s taken us longer than we would have liked, but we recently released the new colours on FreeREG and FreeCEN, and the new FreeBMD website (FreeBMD2) will also be part of this new suite. Alongside the design colours changing we’ve also made the font heavier, as the text being to light and difficult to read was a complaint we frequently heard from our users. We hope that these advances provide genealogists using our websites with a more enjoyable research experience!

    Visit FreeCEN and FreeREG now, to see these improvements and let us know what you think via the Contact Us link in the footer.