FreeBMD was founded in 1998 by Ben Laurie, Graham Hart and Camilla Gemmingen von Massenbach after they realised the potential that the online genealogy community had to make records accessible to support research. Volunteers came together online to transcribe the General Register Office (GRO) indexes of Births, Marriages and Deaths for England and Wales.
Work continues to complete a transcription database covering the indexes from 1837 to 1983. All three founders are still actively involved with supporting and managing the organisation.
In 2003 the organisation registered as a charity under the name FreeBMD. In 2014 we changed the name to Free UK Genealogy which better reflected our aims, and in 2016 we became a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation).
Free UK Genealogy is committed to supporting the transcription of public records and making these available as free access public databases. We actively support other genealogical transcription projects: FreeREG is transcribing parish records and making them available in a searchable form for free online access, and FreeCEN is producing a free online access searchable database of 19th Century census returns. Volunteers have been working since 1999 concentrating on the censuses from 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871 and 1891.
Each of the projects is a significant undertaking and since the beginning more than ten thousand volunteers have contributed over 400,000,000 records. This achievement allows over 40,000 people each day to search the databases helping them in their family history research. Free UK Genealogy uses Apache Software License 2.0 as the preferred software licence. More recently the organisation has begun to open these databases using Open Database Licence 1.0 to provide additional benefit to researchers and the public.
We send out a Newsletter every two months, keeping subscribers abreast of our news and ongoing improvements to our projects- you can use the box on this page to subscribe. Previous issues can be found here.
Free UK Genealogy thrives and relies on the support of volunteers to help with the transcribing of records, managing the organisation and supporting the infrastructure so we welcome anyone that would like to give their time to help us.
Managing such a large infrastructure also costs significant amounts of money and we appreciate any donations that people can make to support us.
Join our mailing list
Get email updates on Free UK Genealogy’s work and latest project developments