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Record Offices

Local Studies Centres

LDS Family History Centres

Family History Societies

Local History Societies



There is a wealth of archived records to be found in county based repositories and other local centres of genealogical information.

Of particular value are local council Record Offices which hold local archived records, many of which are not accessible even in copy form anywhere else. The further back you go in tracing your family tree, the more critical Record Offices are likely to be in progressing your research. Much administration before the 19th century was conducted at the local level with:

  • locally managed registration of births, marriages and deaths
  • locally controlled prisons and workhouses
  • agricultural estates (manors) being the key units of administration
  The archived records for this local level administration (parish registers, manorial records, etc.) are normally held at Record Offices.

Although many do not hold original archived records, council run Local Studies Centres often provide excellent facilities for family historians with free access to a wide variety of genealogical sources (microfiche indexes to registered births, marriages and deaths, access to the International Genealogical Index, local history publications, etc.)

Other very useful local centres providing access to genealogical sources are the Family History Centres run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (more commonly known as the Mormons). There are no less than 80 of these centres spread across England and Wales (and over 4,000 world wide). They are effectively branches of the vast and comprehensive Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah and as such provide access to a wide variety of extremely valuable sources of information for genealogists.

There is at least one local Family History Society in every county in England and Wales. Many counties have several (Yorkshire has around 20). It is well worth joining your local Family History Society plus those in counties where your ancestors came from. The contacts you will make could prove invaluable in progressing your family tree.

Finally but not least are Local History Societies. Some positively welcome family historians. Most provide access to a wealth of information on local history, much of it of value to genealogists - not least in fleshing out the bones of individual ancestors in your family tree and providing an insight into the way your ancestors lived.

This page last updated: 21 March 2006