If you’re working on any kind of historical book, fiction or otherwise, these are some of the most helpful places to find what you’re looking for.

Ancestry.com – An American genealogy company based in Lehi, Utah. The largest for-profit genealogy company in the world, it operates a network of genealogical, historical records, and related genetic genealogy websites.

Workhouses.org.uk – Created by Peter Higginbotham, this site is dedicated to the workhouse — its buildings, inmates, staff and administrators, even its poets. A unique source of information on the English Poor Laws of the 19th Century, and everything to do with the workhouses they created.

Findmypast – A UK-based online genealogy service owned, since 2007, by British company DC Thomson. The website hosts billions of searchable records of census, directory and historical record information.

National Archives Catalogue (UK) – The National Archives is the UK government’s official archive, containing over 1,000 years of history. They give detailed guidance to government departments and the public sector on information management and advise others about the care of historical archives.

Library and Archives Canada: Passenger Lists – Much of this is searchable online, other records are on microfiche and can be requested. Also has records of ships arriving at American ports.

Wikisource – An online digital library of free-content textual sources on a wiki, operated by the Wikimedia Foundation.

Google Books – Useful for accessing previews and snippets of books.

GENUKI – Provides a virtual reference library of genealogical information of particular relevance to the UK and Ireland. It is a non-commercial service, maintained by a charitable trust and a group of volunteers.

Internet Archive – They have thousands of public domain books, including loads of historical memoirs.

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey – Records of court cases at the Old Bailey dating back to 1674. Fascinating!

The Victorian Web – Contains a wealth of information on society, literature, technology, and other areas relating to Victorian Britain.

Old Maps Online – A useful search engine for historical maps.

The Ships List – A free website listing passengers, ships, pictures of vessels between 1760 and 1917.

The Phrase Finder – The meanings and origins of thousands of English idioms, expressions and sayings.

Maclean’s Magazine Archives – The complete Maclean’s archives from December 1910 right up to the present day. No better way to get a handle on what Canadians were doing, thinking, and talking about for the past 100+ years!

And . . .

https://books.google.com/ngrams/info My cousin who writes under the name Brenda Gayle has sent me this link. It’s great, she says,  for looking up when a phrase may have been first used. Thanks, Brenda!