The Kay Family Association UK

Some Useful Links

Here are a few links for those doing research on-line that we have found useful. Suggestions for others will be gratefully received.

Please remember when doing research that just because something’s been posted on the internet, it doesn’t mean it’s true. What you’re seeing is probably the result of a transcription, or of a transcription of a transcription, and there is always room for errors there. Even worse, you may be looking at the results of someone else’s research – many people are scrupulous about checking their results, some are not, and it’s best always to try and get back to verify what you’ve found against the original document. Luckily for us, more and more scanned images are being made available on-line, so you don’t always have to go trekking off to local records offices

New Starters

If you’re new to researching your family, is an excellent introduction to what’s available on-line, and is well worth a visit. The Federation of Family History Societies ( has some useful information on free websites and research tips.

Subscription Sites

Using a subscription site will cost you money, but is well worth the investment as they are adding new records all the time. The most popular ones are Ancestry ( and FindMyPast ( Ancestor Search has a good summary of the sites and their costs.

Family Search

Originally known as the IGI, this is hosted by the Church of the Latter Day Saints and provides access to a large database of birth and marriage records ( The new website is a big improvement on the IGI, and has many more records, including burials which were excluded from the IGI.

Avoid the user-submitted genealogies like the plague – there are some real horrors there! Stick to the Community Indexed results.

National Burials Index

This is an attempt to do for burials what the IGI has done for births and marriages, and build a comprehensive database of burials in England and Wales. It is not available on-line but can be bought as a CD. It is also available on FindMyPast.

This is still an on-going project – the database was last updated in 2010 and contains over 15 million records, but coverage is patchy – for example there are over 2 million entries for the West Riding of Yorkshire which is great if your family originated from there, but less than 500,000 for Lancashire and the areas covered there tend not to be where Kays were centred. We have copies of the NBI so can answer specific queries.

Other Sites for Births, Marriages and Deaths

There is also a number of volunteer projects that are offering free on-line indexes births, marriages and deaths. is working from the GRO indexes and aims to cover the whole of England and Wales. is working from the original local registers and aims to cover the whole of the county of Lancashire for the period 1837 to 1974. Using the original local records should ensure more complete and accurate indexes that those provided by the GRO indexes. The project has over 18 million events recorded and covers the areas where Kay families were most numerous. is also working from the original local registers aims to provide coverage of the whole of the county of Yorkshire. Unfortunately coverage is not yet as great as for Lancashire and the most numerous area of Kaye activity (Huddersfield) has not yet been touched.

If you are interested in Lancashire Kays, the Lancashire On-Line Parish Clerk site ( is well worth a visit. It has transcriptions from many parishes in Lancashire with Kay families and also contains some non-conformist and Roman Catholic churches.

Census Returns

Census Returns have been taken every ten years since 1841 and the information they provide will give you with valuable information on your ancestors such as where they lived and what jobs they did. One entry will often give you a complete family – a good start to guide you to the registers, and a healthy check against the temptation to use the registers on their own to construct complete families (not something to be done lightly in areas where Kays are thick on the ground).

Census returns for the years 1841 to 1911 are available on both Ancestry and FindMyPast. Many returns are available on CD, but these are expensive and not always well indexed.


If you are lucky enough to have ancestors who left wills that have survived, these also provide good primary evidence. Wills since 1858 are handled by the Principal Probate Office and the annual indexes (called calendars) are available online. The index can also be found at If you have a .gov account for pensions, tax, etc. you can login using that.

Wills before 1858 were proved at the diocesan consistory courts, and generally now held at the local records offices. Those for Lancashire, for example, are all held at Preston. You may not be so fortunate with other counties where they could be held in several places. You should be able to find indexes on line; the Lancashire Wills Index, for example, is now available on FindMyPast.

The one exception is that between 1653 and 1660, all wills were lodged at Canterbury; those that have survived can now be found at the National Archives in Kew.

Passenger Lists

If you are not resident in the UK and are trying to find out where your ancestors came from, passenger lists are a good place to start. They can give you useful pointers for your research, such as where a person came from, age and trade, all helpful in building up a picture of your ancestors. Ancestry are good for these. For an example of how they can be used, have a look at this site Researching your family’s history from ship’s passenger lists.

Other Sources

If you are looking for other sources such as taxation records, the National Archive’s web site ( is an excellent place to start. Many records not held at Kew are catalogued there, with the location where they can be found.