The Traditional Ballad Index

An Annotated Bibliography of the Folk Songs of the English-Speaking World

Click here to access the Ballad Index song list or here for the short contents

If you do not know your song title, or could not find it in the contents, you may search by keywords or content using the search engine below:

Please note: Because this is a Google search, it will likely have some ads at the top. The real results are below that.

For those who prefer it, here is a DuckDuckGo search (you might want to try both; they produce significantly different results):


The Traditional Ballad Index is a collaborative effort designed to help people find reference information on folk ballads. This page is designed to let you find ballads by entering titles or keywords.

The database offers a variety of information about each song, including a brief description, a bibliography, and historical background. Alternate titles are given. Most songs also have a list of keywords to help you search. You can find the list of keywords here. The instructions for the Ballad Index are here.

To perform a search, simply type in the words you want to search for in the form above. For example, if you wanted to find all songs about birds, you would type in BIRD. To find songs about birds in which someone dies, use BIRD AND DEATH. You may use OR as well as AND, and multiple keywords are (obviously) permitted. The search BIRD -DEATH ("Death" with a hyphen attached to the begining) will net you all the songs about birds but exclude those in which death occurs. Upper and lower case don't matter.

For more detailed searches, note:
In this customiued Google seach engine (which searches only the directory "Ballads" on this web site), all words matter and the operator "AND" is implied. You may also use the operator "OR" (all in caps). Words enclosed in quotation marks are treated as a single unit; thus "Robin Hood" (with quotes) yields the different results than Hood Robin (without quotes). Wildcards are permitted: the asterisk * stands for none to multiple characters (so that WILD* will get you "wild" "wilder" "wildly" or even "Wildomar"). You can use parentheses for complex searches.

Once you submit the form, you will be shown a list of songs that match your criteria, with what the Index considers to be the best matches appearing first. Click on a particular song title to see the entry for that song.

In the event that the Google search engine returns 10 pages, you may get more complete results by doing a regular google search at, putting the phrase:
in front of your search criteria, e.g. Robin Hood

Click here to return to the Ballad Index main page.

If you wish to download a text version of the complete Ballad Index, click here for a ZIP version for PC or here for a ZIP version for Mac..

The Traditional Ballad Index ©2022 by Robert Waltz and David G. Engle.

Our thanks to California State University, Fresno, Folklore for hosting this site.