More top tips

This guide was last updated in 2009

Other great resources

As is often the case, one of the best starting points for researchers is the Access to Archives network. This really comes into its own once you have identified which congregation or circuit your ancestor was involved with. For example, if you suspect your forbear lived in or around Barnstaple, type Barnstaple Methodist Circuit into the search engine at, and you will uncover the full range of related holdings currently housed at the North Devon Record Office.

Local records 

Some county record office websites will include guides to their nonconformist holdings. A good example is the Manchester City Council site Again, type the word ‘Methodist’ into the search engine and you will be presented with a detailed seven-page guide.

Specific churches

Many Methodist churches run their own websites, which vary in quality, but normally detail the chapel’s history and sometimes include advice and even archival holdings. The Kennington United Reformed/Methodist Church in Ashford, for example, offers a genealogical advice page


There are several historical websites and museums dedicated to John Wesley and the various branches of Methodism. The Museum of Methodism is currently housed at John Wesley’s House, a fine Georgian townhouse in London The museum of Primitive Methodism is at the Englesea Brook Chapel and you can find out more about exhibits at page=themuseum.

The Wesley Historical Society was formed in 1893 and has a number of regional branches across the UK, dedicated to the study of early Methodism. The basic website at www.wesleyhistorical includes a genealogical help page, offering advice and links.


The Chapels Society seeks to foster public interest in and knowledge of the architectural and historical importance of all places of worship and their related structures in the United Kingdom, loosely described as nonconformist.

Similarly the Historic Chapels Trust includes links to famous and lesser-known historic places of worship, such as the Bethesda Methodist Chapel in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, one of the largest nonconformist chapels outside London.

The Methodist Recorder

The Methodist Recorder was established in 1861 and is still published weekly. The paper’s basic website at hosts a series of features on Methodist history, and provides links to other sites of interest. A full archive of Methodist Recorder is held at the Methodist Studies Unit, Oxford Brookes University:


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