What are archives?
Archives are the record of everyday activities of governments, organisations, business and individuals. Archives can take many different forms- handwritten, typed, printed, photographic or electronic, and include audio-visual material such as video and sound recordings. As authentic and reliable records, they are preserved permanently because of their historical and evidential value.
What do you keep at Gloucestershire Archives?
Our archive collections include several million unique documents dating from the 1100s to the present day. Our holdings also include a wide range of books, publications and other published material. Together they offer an unrivalled resource for anyone interested in the history and heritage of Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire.
What don't you keep at Gloucestershire Archives?
Our collections have been built up according to our collections development policy which sets out what we do and don’t look to acquire and preserve. You can find out more here.
What's available online?
Many of our key family and local history resources have been digitised. You can see them via www.ancestry.co.uk. Find out more about which documents this applies to here [https://www.ancestryinstitution.com/search/collections/catalog/?title=Gloucestershire].
Our key series of historic maps have been digitised and can be viewed via Know Your Place, a free digital mapping platform. Find out more here.
Our guides and information sheets on particular topics and types of document will tell you if relevant material has been digitised and how you can see it. And our online catalogue will tell you when a document in your hit-list has been digitised.
What's available on site?
With a very few exceptions, you can visit us to look at any of the material we hold. Use our online catalogue Epexio to identify what you want to see and to order it up from the strongrooms. You can then visit us to look at the items in our research room.
What's not available on site?
A small percentage of material we hold is subject to special access arrangements. Such items are clearly marked in the online catalogue. You can find out more here.
How do I find out what you have?
The online catalogue, used in combinations with our guides, information sheets and other resources, is the key to interrogating our holdings and finding items of interest to you. You can get going with a simple search straight away by typing in a name, place, keyword or Archives reference number (if you know it). Or to explore more sophisticated ways of searching, watch our tutorial here.
What are digital archives?
Gloucestershire Archives continues to collect and preserve material relating to Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire that is 'born digital'. That means there is no paper or physical version of the information, only the digital version stored on a hard drive or CD-ROM.
How do I know if something is in digital format?
Most digital material is identified as such in our Online catalogue so you'll know what format the material is in.
What if I want to look at digital material?
We use our SCAT (Scat is Curation And Trust) tool to 'package' digital archives as 'GAip' (Gloucestershire Archives Ingest Package) files. These files are then stored in our dedicated digital archive. If you would like to consult digital material we will need to make an access copy available. This may take up to five working days.
What if I need extra help?
Our trained staff will be on hand during your visit to answer your questions. But if you would like extra support or need guidance on your research, you can book a dedicated 121 session with Gloucestershire Archives staff or Heritage Hub partners, as appropriate. Appointments can be onsite or virtual and are usually held on Tuesday afternoons. To book an appointment, email us at email@example.com or phone 01452 425295. Another option is to employ an independent researcher.
Why not browse our research guides to help you along.