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Local Studies and Family History

Most City Libraries have Local Studies materials but the main collection can be found on Floor 1 of Nottingham Central Library. 

Got a family history or research query? Contact us directly 

The collection includes one copy of nearly every book written about Nottinghamshire people, places and subjects. It includes information about the City of Nottingham and the County of Nottinghamshire. Some materials are available for loan, but most of the stock is for use in the library only.
Much of the collection, including all material for loan, is listed on the Online Catalogue.

Use our free app for iPad or iPhone to uncover highlights and rarities from the library's local studies collections.

Family History

General resources 

A collection of books containing information on how to start your research, guides to using the Internet for family history research and guides to using specific types of records e.g. Parish registers, military service records, wills and other documents.

Find My Past is free to use in Nottingham City Libraries. Search the census for England and Wales 1841 to 1911, the 1939 register, military records from 1760 to c.1920 as well as many other useful sources of information

Nottinghamshire Family History Resources

  • Copies of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Parish Registers 
  • Electoral Registers for Nottingham and Nottinghamshire
  • Nottingham newspapers
  • Local maps
  • Photographic collection
  • Historical directories
  • Nottinghamshire Census returns for 1841 to 1901 

One2One Family History computer help sessions

Support to explore some of the online sources available. The sessions are free and last for one hour.

Family History drop-in sessions

On the first Wednesday of every month, 10am to 12pm, in the Local Studies Library, floor 1, Nottingham Central Library. Anyone with family history questions is welcome, whether they are just starting or are already doing their research.

Historical Directories

Nottingham Local Studies Library has a large collection of historical trade and street directories dating from the late 1700s to the 1990s. 

Historical directories are a cross between modern day Yellow Pages and gazetteers. They list local businesses and individuals. Most directories include a historical and topographical summary of local towns and villages, and a list of well known residents.

Historical directories can be useful to local and family historians by:

  • Locating an individual, either by name, address or occupation
  • Discovering who has lived at a particular address
  • Finding out about the types of trades and occupations done in the past
  • Observing how a town or village developed over a number of years

Photographs and Picture Nottingham

The Local Studies Library has a significant collection of photographs of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire subjects.  Many of the images are now available on the Picture Nottingham website.

 World War 1 propaganda message on the Exchange, coercing men to fight and women to help. 1915 NTGM008982 


The Local Studies Library has a large collection of print and electronic maps covering the whole of Nottinghamshire. The maps include:

  • Ordnance Survey maps at a variety of scales from circa 1880 to date
  • Administrative maps of the County
  • Goad Plans
  • Geological maps
  • Tithe and Enclosure maps
  • Street maps of Nottingham

Current and historical maps of Nottingham can be found at Nottingham Insight, providing access to data, information and intelligence about Nottingham and the surrounding areas.



All the main Nottinghamshire county newspapers have been preserved on microfilm, and are held at libraries in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. Each title is kept at the most appropriate location for its coverage. 

If you are making a special journey to look at newspapers, it is advisable to contact the library in advance to book a microfilm reader, and to check availability of the film. 

The British Newspaper Archive provides access to several local papers and is available to use free of charge from library premises.

Register of Electors

Electoral Roll

The Local Studies Library has a set of all registers covering the whole county of Nottinghamshire from 1838 to 2000; there is a gap covering the City of Nottingham area from 1913 to 1932
a set of all City of Nottingham electoral registers from 2000 onwards, other similar directories, such as Burgess and Citizen rolls - please ask staff for further information

Current editions of electoral registers

Nottingham Central Library has the full, unedited current version of the City of Nottingham Electoral Register
Most of Nottingham's community libraries have the current edited Registers for their local area

Viewing a current Electoral Register

The current Electoral Register for the City of Nottingham may be checked in person but not over the telephone or via e-mail.

It may be necessary for you to make an appointment to view the Register, please contact Nottingham Central Library before your visit: 0115 915 2842 or email

Note: The Electoral Register does not have a name index - it is arranged by electoral ward and then by street. Please contact other local authorities in Nottinghamshire for further information about accessing their current registers

Availability of Current Local Electoral Registers Within Nottinghamshire 

Council Electoral Registration Office: Telephone: Email:
Nottingham City Loxley House, Station Street, Nottingham, NG2 3NG

0115 915 5555

Council Offices, Urban Road, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, NG17 8DA

01623 457321
Bassetlaw Queen's Buildings, Potter Street, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, S80 2AH 01909 533533
Broxtowe Town Hall and Council Offices, Foster Avenue, Beeston, Nottingham, NG9 1AB 0115 917 7777
Gedling Civic Centre, Arnot Hill Park, Arnold, Nottingham, NG5 6LU 0115 901 3901
Mansfield Civic Centre, Chesterfield Road South, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, NG19 7BH 01623 463463
Newark and Sherwood Kelham Hall, Newark, Nottinghamshire, NG23 5QX 01636 650000
Rushcliffe Civic Centre, Pavilion Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham, NG2 5FE 0115 981 9911

Oral History

The collection includes recorded interviews with ordinary people, as well as some well-known names, who lived and worked in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

They recall their memories of work at Boots, Players or Raleigh, in the lace and textile industries, in the countryside, down the mines and in a variety of other jobs.

They also tell of life on the dole, home life, schooldays, entertainments and social life.

Theatre Collection

The Local Studies Library maintains an index of performances at Nottingham City's major theatrical venues from the early 1900s to date. The index is a record of local productions and local performances by significant artists, and also an aid to finding playbills, programmes and ephemera associated with each production.

The main index may be viewed in the Local Studies Library. 

Research and Enquiry Service

Do you need some extra help with research? Or do you have a detailed enquiry that you don't have time to follow up? Our specialist staff may be able to help.
Searches can be carried out on local, house, place and family history.

The research is undertaken by an experienced, trained member of staff. 
We will accept a maximum of 3 hours research per order.

Specialist Research and Enquiry Service


Public Rate 

First half hour of research is free, plus charge for copies and administration (max of 3 free enquires per year).

Research done beyond half hour: £10 per half hour, plus charge for copies and administration.

Commercial Rate

Research: £20 per half hour, plus charge for copies and administration.

Fees and Charges

Reproduction Services : specialist printing and copying

A4 Black and White

£0.50p per side

A3 Black and White

£1.00 per side

A4 Colour

£1.00  per side

A3 Colour

£2.00 per side

Scanned copying

Digital reproduction cost per item



Administration charge

(to a maximum of 10 items)


Nottinghamshire Information Index

The index, originally compiled by W.E. Doubleday, is a major resource containing information on Nottinghamshire people, places and events, from the earliest times to the present day.

Nottingham born W.E. Doubleday spent his life recording information about Nottinghamshire and the Local Studies Library has added to the index, making it a valuable, unique resource for researchers. It can be viewed in the Local Studies Library at Nottingham Central Library.

Nottinghamshire Companies Index

The Index reflects the wide diversity of industries that have existed in Nottinghamshire and helps to illustrate the change over time from a manufacturing to a more service based local economy and is updated on a regular basis.

Almost every sector of local industry and commerce is represented in the Nottinghamshire Companies Index, including:

  • chemical industries (such as Boots)
  • coal mining and its ancillary industries
  • construction industries (such as Trent Concrete and Kirton Brickworks)
  • designers (such as Paul Smith)
  • engineering companies (such as Brough Superior and Raleigh)
  • food and drink manufacturers (such as Castle Rock Brewery and Pork Farms)
  • textile trades, including lace and hosiery manufacturers (such Thomas Adams and Pretty Polly)
  • tobacco industries (such John Players)

In general, the Index includes only those companies for which there is a significant amount of information available (e.g. news cuttings, annual reports etc). Once a company has been located in the Index, further information may be obtained from the Local Studies Library.