People have been searching for relatives online in the same way for decades. However, one of the stalwarts of family history has a new tool that helps you find elusive ancestors and discover more about their lives.


TheGenealogist has spent the last few years pinning its records to map locations. You can view these pins on their ‘Map Explorer’, travelling through time as you browse through the various record collections: from census, land records, cemetery records, war memorials and more.

Never before have you been able to find a genealogical record online and simultaneously see exactly where your ancestor lived on a map. You can discover where they went to school, where they worked and even where they socialised at their local pub!

TheGenealogist has collections that cannot be found anywhere else, such as the National Tithe Record Collection, Lloyd George Domesday Records and Maps, Fully Searchable RAF Operations records and much more.

A case study

Using the Master Search allows you to search across all record sets simultaneously. Start by entering broad details such as a name and birthdate. If this returns too many results then you can refine it by looking within a record set like the census and selecting a county.

More like this

You can add some keywords to help with your search. Use anything that you already know about the ancestor to narrow down your search to the person that you are looking for. This could be an area in which they lived, or an occupation that you know that your ancestor pursued. Alternatively, it could be a birthplace, an age, or anything else that could have been written down on the record.

Searching for George Cadbury, from the famous cocoa and chocolate family, we can easily find him by searching for the keywords ‘cocoa manufacturer’. Selecting the 1881 census we see the household members in the transcript at 32 George Road, Edgbaston. Under this result is a map locating the house. Clicking this pin will open the Map Explorer that shows George Cadbury’s house marked on a historic map. Using the Opacity control you can then reveal the house on a modern map.

It is possible to search from the dropdown menu on TheGenealogist’s Master Search for a family. This will allow you to use the forenames of the family to refine right down to the correct group of people.

Master Search can be used to also search for an address. This is an option few other websites offer, and can be really useful to locate a residence in the census or to track a household through time.

TheGenealogist is offering every reader of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine a free 14-day trial – plus £40 off the top-of-the range Diamond Subscription (normally £139.95, but just £99.95 for readers). The offer also includes a fantastic free Digital Research Pack worth over £64 and a lifetime subscriber discount. Claim your special offer HERE. Offer ends at 11.59pm on Tuesday 28 February 2024.

Five easy ways to find your ancestors

1. Keywords

Search using keywords related to birthplace or occupation, for example farmer.

2. Family

Search for a family by forename and surname, for example John, Emma and Mark Smith.

3. Address

Search for a specific address by county, parish or street name, for example Park Avenue.

4. Map Explorer

Pinpoint your ancestors’ records using georeferenced historic maps.


SmartSearch finds related records for you, for example children from a marriage.