Local records

This guide was last updated in 2011

County or city archive offices, operated by the local authority, are the historical treasure troves in our midst.

Carrying free local census, property and other civic records as well as special collections bequeathed to them, they are an invaluable resource for confirming those hinted-at details gained from talking to relatives.

Arrange to visit the archive office serving the area where your distant relative lived (or died) and then be guided by the staff or volunteers working there. You will need a Reader Card to research the records. (A Counties Archive Research Network card is useful if you expect to visit several archive offices.) Just remember: many Travelling people had no marriage or birth certificates. And watch out for unusual addresses in the census such as “Under the River Bridge” or "Tent on Common”.


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