The “Who Do You Think You Are?” phenomenon strikes again!

Marriage record in the registers of St Martin in the Field, 1816

Marriage record (John Constable & Maria Elizabeth Bicknell), 1816

August has been an extraordinarily busy time here at Westminster Archives Centre as Who Do You Think You Are? hit British television screens for its 7th season. Suddenly our already crowded inbox is bursting at the seams with enquiries about long lost ancestors, old London streets and buildings. The searchroom buzzes with activity and excitement as people uncover yet another forgotten family connection, unearth a family secret or find uncanny parallels.

Find out more about Westminster's Community History

Extract from Kelly’s Paddington and Bayswater Street Directory, 1903

It happens every year: this wildly popular BBC documentary reawakens our curiosity in that most fundamental of questions – “who are we and where do we come from?”.


Westminster City Archives is a great place to start your search, especially if you have ancestors from the Westminster area. One of the first ports of call is the General Register Office’s index of births, marriages and deaths, which covers life events in England and Wales from 1837 to the present. The census is another goldmine of information, giving a unique snapshot of households every 10 years for most of the 19th Century.

You can also search two amazing resources online using the computers within any Westminster Library: Ancestry and Find My Past. Take a look at the Family History section of our ‘Gateway to websites’ for more suggestions of where to look online too.

If you’re a bit of a pro at genealogy and want to trace your Westminster ancestors back further than 1837, we have at the Archives Centre a wealth of parish registers, rate books, directories and administrative records ready for you to delve into in our archives searchroom.

So if the tales of Monty Don, Rupert Everett and friends have sparked your interest in your own family’s past, come over to the Archives Centre, check out the family history information on our website  or get in touch with us on



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