Welcome to the Child Ballad Database (CBDB)

Francis James Child

Francis James Child (February 1, 1825 - September 11, 1896), was an American scholar and educationist, and collector of what came to be known as the Child Ballads. His final collection was published as The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (1882-1898), incorporating 305 ballads from England and Scotland, and their American variants. Typical topics of these ballads are romance, supernatural experiences, historical events, morality, riddles, murder, and folk heroes.

Over the years, but especially after the folk revival in the 60's, many (folk) artists (re)discovered the beauty of the poetry of these ballads; this Child Ballad Database (CBDB) is an attempt to list all those recorded versions of Child ballads.

The CBDB is a combined effort by Audie OFyle (database architecture) from the USA and Halewijn (data compilation) from the Netherlands. It presently stands at over 10,000 recorded versions and this number is still growing every day. The purpose of the CBDB is to offer collectors a way to keep track of the Child Ballads they're having in their own collection. On this website, only the most basic data of the recordings are given; the standalone CBDB offers much more features, including a variety of search facilities. Press the Services button on the left (page opens in right frame) to find download and installation directions of the CBDB you'd like to obtain; some screenshots are displayed as well to give you an idea of what the program looks like.

Last but not least: the CBDB is not made out of commercial reasons and is therefore free available. We had lots of fun putting it all together and we're hoping you're satisfied with the outcome.


Questions? Remarks? Corrections? Additions? Let us know!