Good sources for researching hymns

This is a list of various sources that can be used to research song or hymn requests.

There are many, many websites that can be used to search for the lyrics of and background information about particular hymns - and the hymn-finder tool is an easy way to search all of them (and nothing else) at once.

But there are some sites and sources that stand out, for the depth of the information they provide, or because of their focus on a particular area of hymn search.    These sites are listed here.

Note:  finding information about hymns is quite different to finding hymn suggestions for particular services.

A Dictionary of Hymnology

This book describes itself as " ..Setting Forth the Origin and History of Christian Hymns of All Ages and Nations". It was written by English clergymman John D Julian (1839-1913) and published 1892, it is now in the public domain and is available for download here.

The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology

Ton-line initiative, started in 2015, aims to continue the work of the 1892 Dictionary. It is subscription based, but makes three entries available for free reading each day.


This website presents an extensive database of hymns and hymnology resources, including the Dictionary of North American Hymnology, which was started by the The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada in 1952 and aimed to be a comprehensive database of North American hymnals published before 1978. In recent years, its focus has extended to include published hymn books from other countries (eg Australia), and denominations whose works were under-represented in the original DNAH materials.

Other websites

As well as these major sources, there are a number of websites, typically run as hobby-projects by individuals, which share information about particular hymns and Christian songs which have attracted the attention of the site authors.

Oremus Hymnal

This website has a particular emphasis on the Anglican tradition, and has indexed over 50 Anglican hymnals published during the past 140 years.   Some of the detailed files are missing, and the site appears to have stopped being updated in 2011, but it is still an excellent source of information for the material it includes.

Originally set up to help the author research gospel hymns that circulated in Asia in the early/mid 20th century, this website has evolved to cover a lot of be American material, mainly from evangelical / Pentecostal / non-denominational backgrounds. It includes a discussion forum, which means there are enquiries and sometimes answers about a wide range of hymns.

Church Music (

This is the blog-about-hymns that the author wanted to read but couldn't find, so started himself.   He started by working through the contents of Australian publication "As One Voice", but now includes many hymns, including ones suggested by reader-comment-ers who share the music selections from their churches.

Started as a website to share PowerPoint files of public domain hymns, this site focuses on material from New Zealand, Ireland, the folk-hymn era (roughly 1960 onwards), England and Scotland, and Roman Catholic material.

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