Family History Resources
Whether you're just embarking on your family history or you are an experienced researcher, the Heritage Hub has plenty of resources for you.
These include expert advice from volunteers of the Gloucestershire Family History Society, original documents held by Gloucestershire Archives, transcriptions and copies as well as free online access to a wealth of family history resources.
- collect as much information from relatives, family papers and old photos as you can so that you have a name, place and approximate date to start from.
- don't worry if you can't find out much - often we can help you to get started. You can spend time with the knowledgeable members of the Gloucestershire Family History Society or book 1:1 support from one of our research room buddies. Contact us to arrange this.
- decide what you want to do - do you want to trace the male line or both sides of your family? It is better to concentrate on one branch of the family at a time.
- bring details of all the information you have - it may provide a clue you hadn't realised.
- read a book - there are many guides to tracing family history that will give you basic information about sources to help you, and show you how to organize your work.
- get organised - you can find information in a wide variety of sources so you need to keep careful notes of what you find and where you found it. It is important to make a note of all the sources you check, even if those which don't provide any useful information.
- most of our parish registers (baptisms, marriages and burials) are available via the Ancestry website. You can access Ancestry for free from libraries in Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire as well as from Gloucestershire Archives and Gloucestershire Family History Society at the Heritage Hub. Or you can access it from home with a subscription.
- our research mini guides explain how to use key archives and how to find them in our online catalogue.
- our online catalogue- contains descriptions of the sources available in your area. You can then pre-order documents which you would like to see. Our short online tutorials will show how to get the most out of your catalogue search.
- did your family come from a place now in South Gloucestershire? Many records relating to South Gloucestershire are held at Gloucestershire Archives @ the Heritage Hub under a partnership agreement with South Gloucestershire Council. But some sources may be held at Bristol Archives or elsewhere. Use our downloads to help you find what's where. (The South Gloucestershire research mini guide will give you an overview. The Guide to Archive Sources in South Gloucestershire is a more comprehensive and detailed resource.) And remember, these places were all in the historic county of Gloucester until 1974 so "Gloucestershire" information and sources may still be relevant.
Sources for beginners
Civil Registration Records
- Partial index to births, marriages and deaths registered in Gloucestershire
- General Register Office Index, 1837-1996 (formerly known as the St Catherine's House Index) gives limited information so that a copy of a birth, marriage or death certificate can be obtained from the General Register Office or the Superintendent of the district in which the registration took place
Census enumerators' returns
Church and chapel registers and bishops transcripts
- Registers of many of the parishes in the diocese of Gloucester with bishops transcripts (contemporary diocesan copies of the registers) are available through Ancestry. You can see a complete list of parish registers.
- Registers of many of the nonconformist chapels in Gloucestershire. A list of these can be found in the Non-conformist Records Guide
Probate Records: wills, administrations and inventories
- Wills and administrations proved in the Diocese of Gloucester, 1541-1858, and wills proved in the Gloucester Probate Court, 1858-1941, and Gloucestershire Inventories, 1587-1800
Indexes and Transcripts
- Many indexes and transcripts held by the Gloucestershire Family History Society relate to original material held in other counties in England and Wales. You can download a comprehensive list of these resources
- Genealogical databaseOpens new window relating to Gloucestershire and wills and inventories, 1541-1858, gaol calendars, 1815-1879, parish overseers' settlement papers, pre-1834, and some nonconformist registers, 19th century
- Indexes and transcripts of some parish registers (on-going) and memorial inscriptions
- Indexes and transcripts of some civil burial and cremation registers
- Indexes and transcripts of some electoral registers
- The International Genealogical Index (IGI) compiled by the Latter Day Saints with access to the index on-line for the most up-to-date version
- General index to personal names and other specialist indexes compiled from the cataloguesOpens new window of collections held by Gloucestershire Archives
Sources to take you further
Records for Criminals
- Admission registers and other records of the County Gaol and Houses of Correction, 1780s to 20th century. Most registers are available on Ancestry
- Records of the Gloucestershire Quarter Sessions from the mid-17th century and the Petty Sessions from the mid-19th century
Records for the Poor
- Parish settlement, apprenticeship and bastardy records for many parishes in Gloucestershire, mainly 18th and early 19th century. Records of the Boards of Guardians including admission and discharge registers for the Union Workhouses, 1834 to early 20th century
Records for the insane
- Records for the 1st and 2nd County Asylums in Gloucester, 19th and 20th century including admission and discharge registers and case papers. Please note that medical records less than 100 years old are not available for research but can be accessed through the NHS Partnership trust. Records of the private asylums in Gloucestershire
- Records from the county Coroners from 1844 including registers of inquests and inquest files. Please note that these records can be incomplete, especially for the Cheltenham/north Cotswold area and that records less than 75 years old can only be accessed through the Coroner's Office
- Some earlier records survive for Gloucester (GBR, D1406), Tewkesbury (TBR) and the south of the county (D260)
- Local newspapers often include detailed reports of Inquests
- Records of many of the schools in Gloucestershire
- Lists of evacuee children who were admitted to county schools during WW2
Records relating to Employment
- A wide variety of records relating to employees, the police, the clergy, apprentices, freemen and Freeminers. Records of the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars
Electoral registers and Poll Books
- The poll books from 1763 and electoral registers from 1832 include the names of those entitled to vote. They cover the whole county but do not include every person over 21 years old until 1928. Most of them are available on Ancestry.
Trade and Street Directories
- These survive from the late 18th century and cover the whole county with individual volumes for Gloucester, Cheltenham and some of the market towns in the county
- Gloucester Journal, 1722-1992 and The Citizen, 1876-2004, with other county papers (see a detailed summary of our newspaper collections)