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your family tree can be fascinating though it can also be a time consuming and complex process. The first steps are to read an introductory book and to find out as much as possible about your family from relatives, Nottinghamshire Archives is the main centre for family history research in the county. Many County Libraries also have a wide range of source material. A Finding List for Family Historians: Nottinghainshire Parish & Denominational Registers is available for purchase from the Archives, or by post from the Nottinghamshire Family History Society.


Census Returns The first detailed census returns were recorded in 1841. These list each person in a household and give details of their name, age and occupation. From 1851 to 1891, the relationship of household members to each other and their place of birth is given.

Parish Registers The official recording of Anglican baptisms, marriages and burials was introduced in 1538, though only a few registers survive from that date. The registers are a primary source of information about people before civil registration in 1837 (see below).

Bishop’s Transcripts are copies of parish register entries sent annually by clergymen to the bishop.

International Genealogical Index (IGI) This worldwide index of names has been created by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The entries are mainly births, baptisms and marriages extracted from parish records and other sources c1500-1850. Although it is not comprehensive or completely accurate, it is a very useful research aid.

Nonconformist Registers From the 1600s onwards, increasing numbers of people were baptised and buried in nonconformist churches. The vast majority of nonconformists, except the Quakers, married in Anglican churches until 1837. Even after 1837, only a small number of chapels were licensed for marriages and only a few bad burial grounds.

Probate Records include wills, inventories (list of possessions of the deceased) and letters of administration (granted when a person dies without making a will). Before 1858 wills were proved in church courts hut after 1858 in civil Probate Registries.

Electoral Registers The Reform Act of 1832 required the registration of all persons entitled to vote and the publication of registers. Entries show the name and address of electors and their polling number. However, not all adults were entitled to a vote until 1928

Trade Directories list the principal inhabitants and tradespeople of each town and village. They were compiled at frequent intervals from c1800-1950.

Other Sources which may assist you include cemetery burial registers, newspapers, marriage licences, taxation records, monumental inscriptions and printed pedigrees. Please consult archive/library staff concerning the availability of these sources.

Extracts from "Discovering your Family History in Nottinghamshire" transcribed by Jeff Orford-Perkins, with kind permission from Nottingham Archives Office.