Many people in Britain have their ancestral roots in Europe, and any attempt to trace the family tree means looking across the Channel to the Continent. Be warned, though, the biggest problem you'll encounter is language. Records, where you can find them (given the way Europe has been ravaged by war), will be in the native language, with no handy translation. That will make finding what you need a great deal harder, and then, of course, you have to make sense of what you've found. So unless you're fluent in the language, or have access to a good translator, you'll be in trouble. Also, a lot of countries don't have their archives online, meaning either a trip or hiring services locally.
- In France you'll need the Centre Historique Des Archives Nationale. Unfortunately, there's very little you can access online, although they do tell you how to make an appointment to consult the records.
- The German Federal Archives claims to have an English version of it's site, but it's not yet available. Although the archives seem extensive, quite how useful still remains to be seen.
- Spain has the Archivo Historico Nacional, which doesn't have a real web presence. They're in Madrid, and can be contacted on +34 917 688 500.
- The Hungarian National Archives has resources in English, German and Magyar, very useful for foreign researchers. However, all research has to be done physically at the archives in Budapest. That said, they do offer some databases online, which will at least speed the physical process.
- Poland, too, offers a web site translated into English for its State Archives and some helpful hints. Although it can help you locate records, it really doesn't have much online. For foreign researches, you can use Latin characters for your search, rather than trying to get a Polish font.
- In Sweden there's also a site in English for the Archives with concise information on what's available and how to access it (again, in person, rather than online). Some basic understanding of the language is necessary.
- The Greek General State Archives, once more, have a site in English. It's of limited use however, expect possible links to the Hellenic Archives whose site is all in Greek.