Connecting with your heritage is one of the best ways to discover more about yourself, your history, and your family. You can embark on this journey by doing anything from unraveling the life stories of your ancestors to embracing the customs and experiences of your cultural heritage. If you’re researching your United Kingdom genealogy, your heritage is closer than you think.
Having ancestry in the United Kingdom means that your ancestors are from England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. These four countries, while relatively small in size, reflect a diverse range of cultures, customs, languages, foods, and more.
Discover what your heritage means to you as you learn about your ancestors and their experiences. You can start by researching United Kingdom genealogy using FamilySearch records, exploring your family tree, or diving into the customs and history of the United Kingdom. Here are some resources to get you started:
The more you learn about your ancestors, the more you understand your own story. Take the dive into the cultures and customs of the United Kingdom and your British ancestors.
A Look into the Past
A lot has happened to bring about the United Kingdom as you know it today! A complex and rich history shaped the individual countries and later their unification.
Before the Union
Celtic and Gaelic groups were some of the earlier residents of the United Kingdom. However, the area was under foreign rule in later years.
First, the Romans conquered Britain. Then Germanic tribes started taking over in what we know today as England. Later, Norman and Viking raids peppered Britain for hundreds of years.
These foreign powers brought many changes with them, including the first roads, development of cities, and spread of Christianity. Indirectly, Viking involvement also made way for England and Scotland to emerge.
As a United Kingdom
England (Wales included) and Scotland remained at odds with one another for centuries. However, in 1707 they united to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. Nearly 100 years later, Ireland joined to form the United Kingdom.
In the centuries that followed, the United Kingdom became a major world power.
Life in the United Kingdom Today
The culture of the United Kingdom is recognized around the world. When you think of the United Kingdom, your first thought might be drinking a cup of tea or enjoying fish and chips. There’s much more to it than that!
English is the main language in the United Kingdom, and it is spoken by 98 percent of the population. However, Welsh, Scots, Scottish Gaelic, and Irish Gaelic are also commonly heard in Wales, Ireland, and Scotland.
Even among English speakers, there’s a lot of variety. Dozens of distinct dialects make for a unique linguistic map. Try using this map to listen to recordings of many British dialects and hear how your ancestors from different areas may have spoken.
Because the United Kingdom is made up of four countries, there is a mix of culinary traditions. That being said, you can often expect to find dishes with meat as an entrée and sides of vegetables and potatoes.
Popular dishes include Yorkshire pudding, fish and chips, haggis, and roast beef.
The United Kingdom has produced some of the biggest international sensations of the past century, which have had a global impact. Harry Potter, the Beatles, Lord of the Rings, Adele, and Doctor Who are just a few.
United Kingdom Genealogy
Feeling motivated to learn more about your British heritage? Get started with some of the following resources: