Local Studies and Family History
Looking to find out about Nottingham's history?
While much of our collection is only available in Nottingham Central Library, our local studies staff can still support you while we are closed.
Want to discover the story of Nottingham’s rich history; keen to investigate the lives of your ancestors; or just feeling nostalgic? Then look no further than our staff picks of their favourite trusted websites.
Discover Nottingham’s History app
Free to download to Apple or Android devices, our app allows you to discover Nottingham’s unique history revealed through historical images, posters, news articles and ephemera held in the Nottingham Local Studies library.
Check out the app to find out about Nottingham’s iconic buildings; Lord Byron, Nottingham’s celebrity poet; the legend of Robin Hood; the changing face of transport in Nottingham and the history of Nottingham Forest Football club.
New for June 2020: We’re proud to announce a new gallery showcasing 150 years of Nottingham’s public libraries. Find out about the early reading rooms, the introduction of electric lighting and when Nottingham’s Central Library moved to Angel Row.
Download the app from Apple iOS store 'Discover Nottinghams History'
Photographs and Picture Nottingham
Want to see old and historical images of Nottingham?
Look no further than Picture Nottingham, host to over 20,000 photos, postcards, glass plates and engravings from the Nottingham Local Studies Library. The image library covers over 150 years of history from the local community, iconic buildings, industry, Robin Hood, Nottingham at leisure, Goose Fair and much more.
See something you like? Then why not brighten your home with your favourite image on a print, mug, cushion and more.
Aerofilm Collection - search through 95,000 aerial photographs of Britain from 1919 to 1953 and see how our landscape has changed. As well as exploring the content, you can also share and record your memories and knowledge about the places in the collection.
Can you find an aerial view of Nottingham’s Council House in 1928 – and the curve of shops with awnings on Wheeler Gate?
Images of England is the website of Historic England. Find out about listed buildings and scheduled monuments and more. Click on the link to look for a place – e.g. Nottingham – or a specific building like Shipstone’s Brewery
Want to research your family history?
There are lots of free online resources to help get you started. If you have no experience of family history research, don’t worry.
Don’t forget, pop back in to Central Library once it re-opens, to carry on your research and tap in to resources only available in the Local Studies collection.
Our staff picks:
Founded in 1917, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission aims to honour the 1.7 million who died in both World Wars. Find out about the history of the commission and use the search facility to find information about those who died in war as well as details about specific cemeteries.
Deceased Online gives access to UK cemetery records by country, region, county, burial authority or name. Search for free and get a brief summary of results; note: there is a charge for access to the grave details, burial register scan and grave location.
Family Search contains thousands of family history records from around the world which are free to search. Note: registration is required to use the website, but there is no charge for use.
FreeBMD provides free to search Civil Registration indexes of births, marriages and deaths for England and Wales births from 1837 to 1983.
Use FreeCen to search census transcripts for England, Wales and Scotland from 1841 to 1891. Nottinghamshire has 100% coverage for all census years but this is an ongoing project and not all counties have full coverage.
FreeReg gives access to transcripts of parish registers for England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, although be aware that coverage varies – check coverage by county under the ‘transcription’ heading. Records include Anglican, Catholic and non-Conformist records with several search filters to narrow your search.
Use the GRO website to freely search birth and death indexes. The births indexes include the mother’s maiden name, and death registrations include age at death. You will need to register before you can search (which is free) or to purchase certificates – to register or to login and search use the ‘order certificates online’ option.
Genuki is a reference library of genealogical information with particular relevance to England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Find out historical details about counties and places, as well as a wealth of subjects from wills to census returns, churches to maps.
Search for 1st World War military and civilian Prisoners of War from the International Red Cross archives. Results include details of regiment, next of kin and place of internment, as well as tips to help with your search.
The Nottinghamshire Great War Roll of Honour is a searchable archive as well as a permanent tribute to local men and women who died during the First World War. Names have been collected from across 677 Nottinghamshire memorials in villages, town centres, churches and churchyards, parish halls, places of work, schools and sports clubs.
The War Graves Photographic Project aims to photograph every war grave, individual memorial, and family memorial of serving military personnel from WWI to the present day, for all nationalities and military conflicts, and make them available on a searchable database.
The government’s Wills and Probate website holds English and Welsh records from 1858 to the present day. Search is free with an option to purchase a copy of a will for a small charge.
Local Heritage Resources
Nottingham’s Green Places is a community history project which investigates the social history of some of Nottingham’s parks and open spaces. Find out when the parks were opened and how they have changed over time, and discover the tree trail which guides you through Nottingham’s enclosure parks highlighting some of the best and most interesting trees in our city.
The Nottinghamshire Heritage Gateway, designed by Nottinghamshire's Thoroton Society, hosts a variety of county-wide heritage resources. Search by place, people, themes and events to find a brief overview of a local topic plus a list of key resources for further research.
The Nottinghamshire History website hosts a wide range of digitised books and articles reflecting the rich and fascinating history of the county. Browse through the ‘people’ and ‘places’ of Nottinghamshire, or search for a specific name or place.
Nottingham Local History Association was established in 1953 to bring together people and organisations interested in history and heritage in Nottinghamshire. Their website includes a regular newsletter, as well as news items and useful information about local history societies.
The Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire is the main historical and archaeological society. Established in 1897 it is named in honour of Dr Robert Thoroton who published the first history of Nottinghamshire in 1677. Find out about the society, as well as their current projects, newsletters and publications.
Our Notts is a forum all about you, where you can share your memories, photographs and stories about Nottinghamshire history. Browse pages about local people, places and subjects, add comments or even create your own pages.
Historical directories are a cross between modern day Yellow Pages and gazetteers. They list local businesses and individuals.
Visit Historical Directories website to view over 680 digitally scanned directories for England and Wales from the 1760s through to the 1910s. With at least one directory for every English and Welsh county for the 1850s, 1890s and 1910s, search for a person, place or occupation.
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
Nottingham Insight is Nottingham City Council’s dynamic mapping website for Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. With a variety of resources from historical maps to current road maps as well as aerial views, look up your street, see local information about your area or go back in time to see how it has changed.
Want help to use the website, you can view a help video here.
The National Library of Scotland website contains digitised maps from their collection covering Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland, as well as the rest of the world. Search, view and download a range of maps from Ordnance Survey maps to those showing land use, soil and geology.
While our libraries are closed the following services and resources will not be available.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
|Bassetlaw||Queen's Buildings, Potter Street, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, S80 2AH||01909 email@example.com|
|Broxtowe||Town Hall and Council Offices, Foster Avenue, Beeston, Nottingham, NG9 1AB||0115 917 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Gedling||Civic Centre, Arnot Hill Park, Arnold, Nottingham, NG5 6LU||0115 901 email@example.com|
|Mansfield||Civic Centre, Chesterfield Road South, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, NG19 7BH||01623 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Newark and Sherwood||Kelham Hall, Newark, Nottinghamshire, NG23 5QX||01636 email@example.com|
|Rushcliffe||Civic Centre, Pavilion Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham, NG2 5FE||0115 981 firstname.lastname@example.org|
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.
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
First half hour of research is free, plus charge for copies and administration (max of 3 free enquires per year).
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
£1.00 per side
£2.00 per side
Digital reproduction cost per item
(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.