Research family history
You can research family history at Lincolnshire Archives even if your ancestors did not live in Lincolnshire.
If your ancestors did live in Lincolnshire, then you may want to look at the census returns, parish registers and the pre-1858 Lincolnshire probate records such as wills and inventories. Our reference books and other archives will help you to find out more about where and how your family lived.
But before you visit, you should ensure that you have enough information to make your visit worthwhile. The list below offers advice on starting your search.
- Write down everything you can remember about your family. Include full names, dates and places.
- Look for anything that records details about your family: letters, diaries, certificates, family bible, de-mob papers, photographs
- Organise a series of key questions for other members of the family.
- Contact neighbours - they often know about things about your family too.
- Let anyone you interview see new information you have received - they may remember a bit more.
- Ask if you can make copies of documents and photographs in other people’s possession. Offer them a copy too.
- Create a family tree from all the information gathered.
- Take pictures of the houses where they lived (with the present occupier’s permission), the schools they attended, the church where they were baptised, etc.
- Take pictures of their gravestones. Write down the inscription at the same time, in case some of the words are unclear on the photography. Gravestone inscriptions can become illegible, or the stone itself lost or damaged.
If you need more information you may need to consider obtaining a copy of a birth or marriage certificate, or a census record. If you know where they were living at a given time, the parish registers may increase your knowledge of the family.
Family history sources at Lincolnshire Archives include:
- Parish Registers of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials: Most Lincolnshire parish registers can be viewed for free online on the Lincs to the Past website. They also be viewed on microfiche in the Search Room at Lincolnshire Archives.
- Banns Books: The original Banns Books can be seen in the Search Room at Lincolnshire Archives
- Nonconformist Records (Methodist etc): Many Nonconformist registers can be viewed as originals in the Search Room. Early registers may only be available on fiche.
- Overseer of the Poor Records including Settlement Certificates, Settlement Examinations, Removal Orders, Bastardy records and Apprenticeship records can be seen in the Search Room at Lincolnshire Archives.
- Poor Union (Workhouse) Records: Records about Workhouse inmates such as Admission and Discharge records etc can be viewed as original document in the Search Room. Please note: a 100 closure period may apply to these records.
- Census Records: some census records are available to view on fiche or film in the Search Room at Lincolnshire Archives. All census records up to 1911 can be accessed online via the Ancestery.com website (fee to use in the Search Room).
- Electoral Registers: Lincolnshire Archives holds a large collection of Electoral registers. The original documents are available to view in the Search Room.
- The General Register Office (GRO) Index Of Birth, Marriage & Dearth certificates: Fiche of the GRO Index area available to view in the Search Room on request. The FreeBMD website is also available in the Search Room on the People’s Network computers. Lincolnshire Archives does not hold the Birth, Marriage and Death certificates. They are held by the Registration Service.
- Wills and other probate material: Indexes of Lincoln Consistory Court wills from 1700-1799 are available online. Volumes of wills dated between 1858-1941 can be viewed at Lincolnshire Archives but not copied. Copies of post-1858 wills must be ordered from The Postal Searches & Copies Dept, Leeds District Probate Registry, York House, Leeds LS1 2BA. Wills from 1800 onwards are listed on the Lincs to the Past website.
- Lincolnshire Family History Society (LFHS) Indexes: Digital and paper copies of the various LFHS area available in the Search Room at Lincolnshire Archives.
- Hospital and School Records: Many hospital and school records can be viewed in the Search Room at Lincolnshire Archives. Some Case Books for the St John’s Hospital at Bracebridge Heath can be viewed for free online on the Lincs to the Past website. Please note: a 100 day closure period may apply to both records.
What can I find out about my ancestors?
The staff at Lincolnshire Archives have prepared a number of information sheets called “What Can I Find Out About My Ancestors in…?”.
Each sheet, which can be sent to you by email, explains the family history information that can be gleaned from a certain type of document.
All the information sheets along with other useful information can be bought on a disc called “Lincolnshire Archives Guides to Sources” available at Lincolnshire Archives.
- Apprenticeship Records
- Bankruptcy Records
- Banns Books
- Boatmen Records
- Census Records
- Constabulary Records
- Coroners Records
- Electoral Registers
- Enclosure Awards & Maps
- Hospital Records
- Land Tax
- Lincolnshire Regimental War Diaries
- Marriage Bonds
- Methodist & Dissenter Records
- Petty Sessions
- Poll Books
- Protestation Returns
- Quarter Sessions
- Removal Orders
- School Records
- Settlement Certificates & Examinations
- The Workhouse Records
- Tithe Maps
- Trade Directories
If you would to see any of these information sheets, email firstname.lastname@example.org