Libraries – Family History Research

Public Libraries in the UK can be an excellent place to research your Family History. Some local councils provide excellent Family History resources and local Genealogical information.  Many UK Public Libraries employ knowledgable staff trained in Family History matters.  They may also provide research assistance – sometimes for a modest fee.  Some run regular Family History courses.  You may be able to access free Genealogy software such as Ancestry and FindmyPast and Newspaper Archives.

Local Public Libraries may also provide free viewing of Parish Records including Birth, Marriage and Death records often on Microfiche or microfilm records.

We’ll be updating this section of our Family History website with UK Public Libraries that we know provide Family History research facilities. So get out there, enjoy yourselves…and use your Public Libraries!

Library of Birmingham – Excellent Family History Resources at the Library of Birmingham including Ancestry Institution version available on the Library’s computers.

Edinburgh Central Library – Edinburgh Central Library based at George IV Bridge holds extensive Family History records within their ‘Edinburgh & Scottish Collection’ including old parish records covering most of the Church of Scotlands baptism records, marriage records and burial records for the period 1600-1855.  There are also many census records from 1841-1901 and Edinburgh’s electoral rolls from 1832 to the present day. There are valuation rolls for Edinburgh, East Lothian, West Lothian and Midlothian which give information on property owners and tenants.

Leeds Central Library – Local and Family History library is located on the 2nd floor of the Leeds Central Library.  Over 180,000 items including books, local newspaper archives and historic newspapers, journals, directories, maps, photographs, electoral registers, and parish records including BMD records.

Liverpool Central Library – Liverpool Central Library has excellent Family History resources.  The Liverpool Record Office is situated within the Library and is the main centre for Family History research in the City of Liverpool.  A Family History Helpdesk runs once a week and there are regular courses and information on Family History.  Library members may access Genealogical websites free of charge on the Library’s computers.

Libraries Northern Ireland – Experienced staff are based in the main ‘heritage location’ libraries in Northern Ireland to offer Family History advice and research assistance. Libraries NI also offers free access through the public library network to Ancestry Library Edition.

City of London – Guildhall Library – Extensive Family History records are held at Guildhall Library in the City of London.  Open weekdays and selected Saturdays (see website).  Some of the records are national records i.e. Boyds Marriage Index which is held on microfiche contains over six million entries drawn from English marriages for the period 1538-1837.  There are Apprenticeship records, Census material, Occupational listings, London directories, Trade directories and Telephone books, Sources for tracing London criminals, and the London Gazzette.

Newcastle – City Library – Based in Newcastle upon Tyne, the new City Library holds the North East’s largest collection of local and family history material.  There are Parish Register Transcripts and Indexes, Electoral Registers and poll books for Newcastle, Census Returns for Newcastle, and Monumental Inscriptions.  There is also access to Ancestry’s Library Edition and Find My Past.  Library staff can conduct research work on family history or local history matters for a reasonable hourly fee – up to max of 2 hours (see website for more information on this service).

Northampton Central Library –  A large collection of local and family history resources are kept in the Discover area at Northampton Central Library. Census Returns for Northamptonshire from 1841-1901 (microfilm and fiche), Electoral Registers and poll books for Northamptonshire, BMD records, and internet access to Family History websites.  Also hold historical maps for Northamptonshire and local newspapers (on microfiche) from 1720.

Nottingham Central Library – Family History Resources are located on the 1st Floor of Nottingham Central Library.  There is a large collection of Family History records including Nottinghamshire Parish Registers, Nottinghamshire Electoral Registers, Nottinghamshire Census Returns for the years 1841 – 1901 (the 1911 census can be accessed via the library’s Find my Past subscription. They also offer free one to one one hour Family History help sessions and they run Family History events during the year.