UK Family History Society Library

The UK Family History Society Library is a valuable resource for individuals researching their family history in the United Kingdom. The library houses a wide range of materials, including archives, books, maps, and microfilm. It is a rich source of original documents from organisations such as churches and governments.

Archives and Libraries

Archives are institutions that collect and preserve original documents, while libraries generally focus on published sources such as books, maps, and microfilm. When planning a visit to a repository, it is advisable to contact them beforehand to gather information about their collection, opening hours, services, and any applicable fees. Some repositories may require visitors to have a reader’s ticket, which can be obtained by providing evidence of being a responsible researcher.

While the records you need may be held in an archive or library, it is worth noting that the FamilySearch Library may have microfilmed and/or digitised copies of them, which can be accessed online.

Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts Commission

The Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts joined forces with the Public Record Office in 2003 to form The National Archives. This commission has been responsible for inventorying records in archives and private collections. The National Register of Archives (NRA) is a valuable resource provided by the commission, with over 191,000 lists of manuscript collections and close to 5,000 finding aids and annual reports from various repositories.

The commission has also published guides to sources for British history based on the National Register of Archives. These guides provide information on the location of collections described in the reports and calendars series.

National Inventory of Documentary Source in the United Kingdom and Ireland

The National Inventory of Documentary Sources in the United Kingdom and Ireland is a microfilm collection that contains calendars and finding aids for archives, libraries, and museums in Britain. It provides detailed listings of the contents of various collections, including box, folder, and individual document details.

An index to this collection, called the “Index to National Inventory of Documentary Sources in the United Kingdom and Ireland,” is available in a few archives and libraries. This index allows researchers to search for specific names and subjects within the collection.

County Archives, Libraries, Museums, and Record Offices

At the county level, there are numerous archives, libraries, museums, and record offices that house valuable genealogical records. These institutions vary in terms of their holdings and services. To find archives and libraries at the county level, refer to the Wiki articles provided in the links below:

City, University, Occupational, and Ecclesiastical Archives

City, university, occupational, and ecclesiastical archives can also hold valuable family history information. The holdings and services of these archives vary widely. To find specific archives in the UK and beyond, you can refer to the links provided:

Additionally, Cyndi’s List provides 92 links to a variety of archives across different specialities.

The British Library

The British Library is the national repository for all published materials in England. While its collection is extensive and complex, it is primarily used by experienced researchers. The library is located at:

British Library at St. Pancras
96 Euston Road
London NW1 2DB

The British Library offers various services, including the ability to search their main catalogue and explore archives and manuscripts.

Guildhall Library

The Guildhall Library is another valuable resource, particularly for guild (occupation) and business records. It is located at:

Guildhall Library
London EC2P 2EJ

The library houses collections related to maritime history and the City of London.

The Society of Genealogists

The Society of Genealogists is a specialised library that focusses on genealogy and family history research. It offers a wide range of resources, including books, manuscripts, and other materials. The society is located at:

The Society of Genealogists
14 Charterhouse Buildings
Goswell Road
London EC1M 7BA

Public Libraries

Public libraries in the United Kingdom also hold valuable resources for family history research. They collect published sources such as local histories, city directories, maps, newspapers, family histories, and parish registers. The Public Libraries in the United Kingdom website provides a directory of libraries, often with links to their online catalogues.

Record Offices

Record offices play a crucial role in preserving and providing access to historical records. The General Register Office, in particular, houses birth, marriage, and death certificates from 1837 to the present for all of England and Wales. These certificates can be ordered online or by post.

Additionally, each county in England has its own record office, where valuable genealogical records are stored. These records can include land records, church records, taxation records, probate records, and more. It is advisable to contact the specific record office for information on their holdings and access requirements.

General Guides

There are several useful guides available for researching in English archives and libraries. These guides provide addresses, maps, and other information to help researchers navigate these institutions. Some recommended guides include:

  • Gibson, J.S.W. and Pamela Peskett. “Record Offices–How to Find Them.”
  • Church, Rosemary, and Jean Cole. “In and Around Record Repositories in Great Britain and Ireland.”
  • “Record Repositories in Great Britain: A Geographical Guide.”

These guides offer valuable information on the locations and contact details of repositories, making them useful resources for researchers.

In conclusion, the UK Family History Society Library and other archives, libraries, museums, and record offices across the United Kingdom are valuable resources for individuals researching their family history. These institutions house a wide range of materials and provide access to original documents, published sources, and other resources that can help researchers uncover their ancestors’ stories. By utilising these resources and following the recommended guides, individuals can delve deeper into their family history and gain a better understanding of their roots.

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