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"DERBYSHIRE, midland county of England, having Yorkshire on the north, Nottingham on the east, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, and Staffordshire on the south and Staffordshire and Cheshire on the west; length, north and south, 52 miles; greatest breadth, 85 miles; average breadth, 20 miles; area, 658,624 acres; pop. 461,914. The surface in the south is either flat or undulating, irregular in the middle and NE., and picturesquely mountainous in the NW. or Peak district. The principal rivers are the Trent, Derwent, Dove, and Wye; river communication is supplemented by the Erewash and Grand Trunk Canals. The road and railway systems are highly developed. The soil in the Vale of the Trent is alluvial and very productive. In the hilly districts the land is mostly in pasture; much of it is rocky and unproductive. Oats, barley, potatoes, and wheat are cultivated; and there are many excellent dairy-farms. Warm mineral springs are numerous, the most popular being those at Buxton, Matlock, and Bakewell. Coal is abundant; iron ore and lead are worked; among the other mineral products are zinc, manganese, and barytes. There are numerous and extensive quarries of limestone and marble; fluor-spar is found in the caverns, and is manufactured into a great variety of ornamental articles. Silk, cotton, and lace are the chief manufactures, but malting and brewing are also carried on, and there are some extensive iron foundries."

[Extract from Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]


  • Turbutt, Gladwyn - A History of Derbyshire. Merton Priory Press, 1999.
    • ISBN 1-898937-34-6
    At 120 pounds sterling this book is a considerable investment, but the serious student of Derbyshire History will find it an essential source of reference.


  • Salter, Mike - The Old Parish Churches of Derbyshire. Folly Publications.
    • ISBN 1-871731-33-X
    I can recommend this book personally - like others in his Old Parish Churches series, it is extremely well-researched, and for me, a regular source of reference.


Church History

  • Search for Derbyshire Anglican Churches on The Diocese of Derby website. Added 15 Jun 2007.


  • Hoskyns, Edwyn - Under the Heavy Clouds. Merton Priory Press, 2005.
    • ISBN 1-898937-63-X
    Subtitled ‘The Church of England in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, 1911-1915’, this book is an account of Edwyn Hoskins, Bishop of Southwell's parochial visitation of the diocese between 1911 and 1915.


  • Combes, Isobel - Anglican Churches of Derbyshire. Landmark Collector's Library, 2005.


  • A most interesting in-depth study of Derbyshire Sundials, with photographs.


  • Tomkins, Rodney - Derbyshire Churches & Chapels Open to Visitors. Covers over 200 places of worship in Derbyshire. The content is available online at www.derbyshirechurches.org.uk - a very attractive Website, built by Rev. Clive Thrower, Derby Diocese Tourism Officer.


  • Information about Derbyshire's Parishes, 1811 is available from Ann Andrews.


  • The Britannia, "America's Gateway to the British Isles" Index of Parish Churches amazingly features no Derbyshire Churches, but it's a nice site and other counties are represented (!).


  • You may also find it worthwhile searching in the GENUKI Church Database. Enter the name of the place in which the church is located:  

Church Records

  • Searchable database of Phillimore's Parish Registers - Marriages, provided by Nigel Batty-Smith.


  • Family History Sources on CD from Valerie NEAL - transcriptions of original Parish Registers &c. for sale from Ivor and Valerie NEAL. latest update Blackwell by Alfreton, 18 Jun 2011.


  • The searchable LDS website - IGI and Familysearch
    Note on using IGI Batch Numbers:
    It is not always easy to locate your ancestors in the IGI using the search mechanisms provided at the above LDS site. Manually typing the batch numbers into the IGI search screen can be tedious. Hugh Wallis has made an exhaustive search of the likely ranges of batch numbers and created a database of those numbers and the source records that they apply to. A very powerful feature included is a hotlink from each batch number to the actual search engine provided at the Family Search site, including the ability to enter the surname you are looking for. This makes it very easy to search all the batches for a particular geographic location using just the last name you are searching for - something that is not possible directly from the LDS site without doing a lot of typing. This is Hugh Wallis's site.


  • The searchable database of GenoGold contains a growing number of Michael SPENCER's transcriptions of various Derbyshire Parish Records (mostly burials).


  • Search Derbyshire Record Office's archive collections online via their web-site at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/leisure/record_office/. Or download PDF documents to view offline - as well as providing essential background information for research, the guides also provides covering dates for Church of England, Non-Conformist, and Cemetery Registers held at the DRO.


  • A list of Stray Marriages in Winster (marriages where one or both parties were not of the parish) is available on Dawn Scotting's All Things Winster blogspot - parties are from all over Derbyshire.


  • The Society of Genealogists web site has a list of their holdings of Parish Register Copies for Derbyshire.


  • Information on the location of Quaker Records in Derbyshire provided by the Quaker FHS.


  • Be sure to check the Derbyshire Marriage Index.

Civil Registration

Civil Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths in England and Wales began on July 1st 1837. Copies of certificates may be obtained from either the General Register Office (GRO), or from a Superintendent's Registrar's Office of the District at which the event was first registered. If the District no longer exists, this would be the Office to which its registers have been moved.
  • Obtaining a certificate from a Superintendent Registrar's Office.
    • The original records of events, completed by the Registrar of the time, have always been retained by the District Registrar. In Derbyshire, these records are currently held in seven different locations within the county, and in the past an application would be made to the Superintendent Registrar at one of these locations to search the local indexes he or she holds to the registers, and produce a certificated copy from the original record of the event. However in recent years, volunteers have been transcribing these records, and it may be possible to find details for yourself by searching an index to the records online.

      For more details of this service see Findmypast Blog. For details of the ongoing transcription project see Derbyshire Family History's Derbyshire Registrars BMD Index project. The cost of a certificate obtained this way is £9.00.

      Details of Local Register Offices to contact are on the above site, and a complete list of all districts may be found in Brett Langston's list of Derbyshire Registration Districts (1837-1974). The details required for such a request are name and surname, the event type (ie birth, marriage or death), and the year the event took place, and a search will be made of 5 years either side of that year, if an entry for that year isn't found.


  • Obtaining a certifcate from the GRO
    • Certificates from the GRO are issued from copies of the original records; however there is considerable advantage in being able to search indexes to the whole country in one place, so many people prefer to do this, rather than risk a protracted search locally. The first step is to obtain a GRO reference to the event. You can then order certificates online via the Certificate Ordering Service of the General Register Office website. From 6th April 2010, the cost of a certificate obtained this way is £9.25.

      You can obtain a GRO reference in several ways:-

      1. Searching microfilm or fiche at a Library or LDS Family History Centre.
      2. FreeBMD is an ongoing project to make the General Register Office (GRO) Indexes freely available online. More volunteers are needed and details of how you can help are available on-site.
      3. findmypast.co.uk (formerly 1837online) - images of the complete BMD indexes from the GRO online. Fee payable
      4. The images are also available on Ancestry.co.uk for which a subscription provides access to a wide range of other records.


  • Obtaining a certificate for a recent event
    • The cost of a certificates issued at the time of registration of a current birth, death or marriage is £3.50 for each copy.
    • After registration (for instance, the following day) the cost is £7.00, providing the register is still current (within 28 days of the last entry in the register)
    • After a registration book is complete, 28 days later, the register is deposited with the Superintendent Registrar of the district. From that point onwards, applications should be made to the appropriate district office, and certificates will cost the same as any 'old' certificate obtained locally - £9.00.

Correctional Institutions

  • The Prison Service Museum near Rugby houses HM Prison Service's historical collection of exhibits, illustrating the history of imprisonment from medieval times to the present day. Housed in a converted stable block, the museum contains reconstructions of Victorian prison architecture, and exhibits include the last set of Gibbet Irons used in England. Smaller items include bone carvings and paintings made by prisoners in their cells, and a nineteenth century sampler embroidered by a female prisoner from her own hair

    Admission to the museum is by appointment only, please contact:-

    The Curator,
    HM Prison Service Museum,
    Newbold Revel,
    Rugby   CV23 0TH

    [Information compiled from "The Penal Lexicon Home Page", formerly at www.penlex.org.uk/pages/index.html.]

Court Records

  • The Geograph British Isles project - "aims to collect geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometre of the UK and the Republic of Ireland..." Added 16 Jun 2007.


  • Picture the Past - project being managed by Derbyshire County Council to digitise thousands of historic images from Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, some as early as.1850.


  • Discover Derbyshire and the Peak District - site featuring a walk-through of 20 Peak District towns and villages, with an emphasis on local history. Whilst I haven't explored it fully mself yet, of the villages I looked at, all the salient aspects of local folklore appear to be covered, and with more to be added over the coming months. I can fully recommend this attractive, and well presented site.


  • Derbyshire UK has descriptions and photographs of many towns and villages in Derbyshire, and provides a wide range of information about other aspects of the county.


  • Hedgerow Publishing are selling high quality goods featuring scenes in Sheffield, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire. Their Nostalgic Prints are of particular interest.


  • A Website for the Peak District. (Cressbrook Multimedia). Provides useful information for visitors, featuring on individual Towns and Villages in the Peak District, and including maps and photographs.


  • The Peak District National Park - History and features. Contains some fascinating information on individual towns and villages.


  • Ok, so I'm a sucker for Peak District sites - how about a Peak District Sightseer's Guide - pages with information on Arbor Low (Stone Circle), Chatsworth, Cromford, Haddon Hall, and more.


Emigration and Immigration

  • For help finding your ancestors onboard ship - The Ships List - of particular interest are the large number of transcribed passenger lists, and records of some Marriages at Sea. Added 10 Dec 2007.


Derbyshire has some unique sayings, some apparently local, some adopted.


  • Nigel Batty-Smith's site providing UK Genealogy Archives of Derbyshire, has a description of the county from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5.


  • Colin HINSON provides a transcription of the section for Derbyshire from the National Gazetteer (1868).


  • The transcription of the section for Miscellaneous Descriptions from the National Gazetteer (1868) provided by Colin HINSON. Included here are the descriptions of major topological features (rivers, hills &c.) and a descriptions of the county hundred divisions.


  • You may also find it worthwhile searching in the GENUKI Gazetteer:



    The GENUKI Gazetteer covers the whole of England, Wales and Scotland and can be searched by place-name (or part of a place-name) or Ordnance Survey Grid Reference (six-figure, eg SK350350). If there are multiple place-names matching the name you enter, you will be presented initially with a drop-down list of the matching place-names, and (when known), their nearest identifiable place.


  • Transcribed text of the Derbyshire section of Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of England (1831). Added 28 Jan 2011. New


  • Peak District Landscapes - a study of the Peak District from prehistory to the present, with some interesting 'TimeLines'. It also has some genealogy content, as amongst its 'Frequently Asked Questions' is an answer to their #12, 'Do people from Biddulph Moor have Arab ancestors?'.


  • English Heritage Viewfinder - site with historic photographs, searchable by county. Has some unusual ones of the Industrial Age which won't be found amongst the more usual postcard collections!.


  • The Francis Frith Collection - a collection of over 700,000 photographs of the UK, Europe and the Middle East taken by the Victorian photographer Francis Frith.


  • A Vision of Britain Through Time - information about your home area from the 2001 census, and from each British census back to 1801. Presented both as maps of the whole country and as graphs showing change over time.


  • A digital library of medieval and modern sources of the history of the British Isles - British History Online. Notable sources include Journals of the House of Commons and House of Lords, Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae, and the Victoria County History. Added 14 Oct 2005.


  • Peakland Heritage, a wonderful new (as of March 2002) site provided by Derbyshire's Libraries & Heritage Department, the British Library and Peak District National Park Authority. A MUST to visit for background research material - has many mentions of individuals who achieved fame in their own modest ways, and provides insights into work and pastimes of days gone by.


  • A list of Contents of Topographical and Historical Account of Derbyshire, 1817, by Daniel and Samuel Lysons, transcribed by Barbarann Ayars.


  • The Domesday Book Online "to enable visitors to find out the history of the Domesday Book and to give an insight into life at the time of its compilation". Note this site does not provide the original text, but does include a list settlements existing in 1086.


  • An Encyclopaedia of British History: 1700-1950 - useful for seeing local events against a national perspective. Scroll down the introductory page on this site to see topics - Child Labour, British Railways, &c.

Inventories, Registers, Catalogues

  • The Wolley Manuscripts for all Derbyshire. Abstracts from this superb collection of pre 1828 Documents have been transcribed by Ann Andrews from articles written by Rev. Charles J. Cox, LL.D., F.S.A. and published in the Journals of the Derbyshire Archaeological and Natural History Society. Many places, people and relationships are mentioned - an absolute "MUST" to visit! Full details, and explanation, are available on Ann's site.

Land and Property

  • Pat Johnson has a large collection of original Family Deeds. Abstracts, with name and parish indexes are provided onsite, with transcriptions of the full documents available for a modest fee. In addtion, the original deed may also be available for purchase if required. Added 19 Sep 2007.


  • Information about Derbyshire Feet of Fines (land conveyances) - on Chris Phillips Medieval English Genealogy web site. Added 22 May 2007.


  • Mike Durtnall is providing a country-wide collection of Historical Manuscripts Pages recording details of deeds that have been offered for sale on eBay and in auction catalogues. In most cases whereabouts of the documents will be unknown, but sufficient details of the property involved and of buyers, sellers, mortages, &c. is provided to make them a useful research tool. Added 9 Mar 2007.


  • Details of a selection of leases relating to 17th century property rental (cottages and land) may be found amongst Catalogue of Leases from the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire estates of the Dukes of Portland (PI E12/8) available as part of the University of Nottingham Manuscripts Online Catalogue.

Law and Legislation


  • British History Online - Ordnance Survey 1:10,560 Maps - The County Series of Ordnance Survey maps for Great Britain. Begun in 1840, this is the first comprehensive historic mapping of England, Scotland and Wales. Added 11 Mar 2009.


  • Access to various satellite map sites (Google, MS Live, &c.) via the convenient front end of Flash Earth. Added 16 Jun 2007.


  • Paul Jones is providing a Lower Dove Valley Tithe Map Viewer - maps cover parishes of both Derbyshire and Staffordshire.


  • The London Ancestor site has maps from the 1885 Boundary Commissioners report for all parts of the British Isles, including Derbyshire (Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1885)


  • The Old Maps web site has a wonderful series of 1:10,560 scale historical maps for the whole of the UK available online.


  • Genmaps - a collection of 'Old and Interesting Maps of England, Wales and Scotland' for Genealogists and Historians.


  • The above Genmaps Links pages lists Great Britain - Medieval Maps, which in turn provides several maps including an intriguing Ecclesiastical Map of the British Isles in the Middle Ages, which shows the principal Monasteries, demonstrating some of the earliest centres of habitation and influence.


  • Detailed Maps of the area you may be interested in Derbyshire are viewable at the UK Street Map Page. The site provides a most useful service, with superb address searching and street map facilities for anywhere in mainland Great Britain.


  • Clear, Large Type and Braille Maps. Added 11 Feb 2006.

    David HAWGOOD has produced Maps of Derbyshire with Braille labels (large print labels) to help people with visual disabilities, with similar Tactile and large print Maps for other English counties.

Medical Records

Military History

  • A very comprehensive site featuring Castles and Fortifications - CastleUK.net.
  • The Age of Nelson - a website providing general information about the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars 1793-1815, and specifically searchable databases of those present at Trafalgar (and more) and of all Commissioned Naval Officers 1787-1822.


  • Jean DURBIN has extracted the Derbyshire entries from a list of Military Deserters 1828-1840 posted in the Police Gazette (hosted on John PALMER's Wirksworth site).


  • Chesterfield Sherwoods on the Somme A site commemorating the men of Chesterfield and surrounding districts of North Derbyshire who died during the Battle of the Somme. A very evocative, and thought provoking site, which warrants a study in depth.

Military Records

Derbyshire Militia: Enlistments into the Regular Army at Dover, 1813 - a record of the names from this list was also published in the Derby Mercury, 1814.

Names from Musters of the Derbyshire Militia 1781-82 are available for purchase on floppy disk or microfiche through Family History Indexes (the link to Militia Musters is part way down the page).

Names, Geographical

  • Cameron, Kenneth, The place-names of Derbyshire. One of the English Place-Name Society Series; Volume XXIX. Published by Cambridge: University Press (1951-2). In 3 Volumes:
    1. Part 1: Introduction, river-names, High Peak Hundred, Maps.
    2. Part 2: Scarsdale, Wirksworth, Morleyston & Litchurch Hundreds.
    3. Part 3: Appletree, Repton & Gresley Hundreds; Analyses and Indexes.


  • John PALMER has created an online DERBYSHIRE PLACENAMES Index, listing 7,000 places within the county, including the parish and Hundred each lies in, and with a simple (text) map to locate the parish.

Names, Personal

  • Lists of some Derbyshire Lead Miners may be found in a Petition of miners of Derbyshire to the House of Commons for relief from the tax on lead, PRO Ref: E101/280/18. This was a petition to the Long Parliament in 1641 or 1642 to reduce the tax on lead from 48 shillings to 28 shillings per fother. It lists by name miners in the lead mining townships of the Hundred of High Peak, the Wapentake of Wirksworth and the townships of Crich and of Ecton in Staffordshire. The list of about 1900 names is almost complete, being slightly damaged for Castleton, Hope, Youlgreave and Stanton. By the name of each miner is the number of his dependants and servants. The Derbyshire Record Office have a handwritten transcription - DRO Ref: D3504/1/1-2.
  • The same bundle, DRO Ref: D3504/1/1-2, also contains a handwritten transcription of the 1642 Protestation Return, a document in the House of Lords Record Office in the Main Papers for Feb 26 1642. The townships included are Tideswell, Monyash, Bakewell, Sheldon, Birchill, Rowsley, Overhaddon, Ashford, Longsden [sic], Baslow, Taddington, Beeley, Hope and Castleton. I am indebted to Lynn Burnet for this, and the previous item of information.
  • Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section: Indexes to parish returns towards the rebuilding of St Paul's Cathedral, ca.1678, with their Library Reference numbers. The returns themselves, which need to be consulted by personal visit, promise to be useful, as a record of those individuals who contributed, and in a number of instances those who did not. A number of the returns indicate status of the contributors, e.g. widow, or servant.
  • Graham Jaunay's Online English Names Directory covers this county.


If you get a chance to visit the Peak District of Derbyshire, look for a copy of The Peak Advertiser, available at Post Offices, and local village shops, free of charge. Although this is a free advertising newspaper, each issue usually contains one or more local history articles, a family walks feature, and on the back page "What's in a Name" in which the author offers his own unique insight into the meaning behind readers' surnames. Website link added 20 Jan 2007.

Flindall, Roger - What The Papers Said .... Published by The Peak District Mines Historical Society.
ISBN 0 904334 24 4.

Derbyshire in Nottingham Newspapers 1714-1776 - "Researchers using What the Papers Said ... will have at their fingertips full and accurate transcriptions of significant references without need to consult the original newspapers"...

  • The Newspaper Library at Colindale - my current information (October 2007) is that the BL is going to close Colindale, transferring its archives to Boston Spa. Newspapers will be viewable on film only at the British Library, until such time as their holdings are digitised.
  • The Burton Daily Mail and associated publications cover large parts of the county, particularly South Derbyshire.

For other English Newspapers see OnlineNewspapers.com - England.



Ann ANDREWS has provided a transcription of the Derbyshire section of The Gentleman's Magazine Library, English Topography Part III, Derbyshire - Dorsetshire (1893). Content includes notes on archaeology, and history, brief biographies and "Eminent Natives", with topographical articles on many of Derbyshire's towns and villages - a wonderful, and unique resource!

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

  • Bastardy was not uncommon. Read more about this at our Bastardy Cases page.
  • Michael SPENCER is providing details of a large number of Settlement Certificates, Removal Orders, &c. of Derbyshire folk - see Yesterday's Journey.
  • Board of Guardians 1837-51. Lists of names of those who were examined as being in need of poor relief, transcribed by Michael SPENCER. Covers Poor Law Unions of Bakewell, Belper, Shardlow, Hayfield, Ashbourne and Chesterfield. The records for Derby Union have been lost.
  • A site "dedicated to the Workhouse - its buildings, its inmates, its staff and administrators, and even its poets..." - The Workhouse - created by Peter Higginbotham.

Postal and Shipping Guides

The Regency Collection has a section on Postal History, and also includes other interesting material relating to the Regency period - e.g. Turnpike Trusts, Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire, and more.

Probate Records

This section has been moved to a separate Probate Records page.

Religion and Religious Life

  • The General Commission on Archives and History (GCAH) of the United Methodist Church has a list of John Wesley's Preachers, 1740-1791.
  • John Blaylock provides Definitions of (Ecclesiastical) Words and Phrases used in his account of the History of Boulton St Mary's Parish Church (Derbyshire) - for example 'Advowson' , 'Curate', 'Rector', 'Tithes', &c.
  • The Derbyshire Papist Returns of 1705-6, Edited by Richard Clark. 1983. provides a detailed list of the names of Papists, or those of the Catholic faith, together with their estimated wealth of their property, their occupations, and any ecclesiastical patronage they received.

    Although recusancy in Derbyshire was concentrated in a small number of parishes, virtually all parishes made a return for the two years in question, although for most the return is Nil. The parishes featuring a large concentration usually had the common factor of a member of the Catholic gentry living there, or possessing large estates. For instance, Ashbourne had the Pegges & Whitehalls; Hassop, the Eyres; Barlborough & Eckington, the Poles; Norbury, the Fitzherberts; West Hallam & Wingerworth, the Hunlokes.

    Tideswell, Wormhill and Hathersage are the exceptions, where the origins of Catholicism can be traced back to influence of Catholic gentry during Elizabeth I's reign. In Tideswell, these were Bishop Robert PURSGLOVE (c1503-1580), and William FIELDSEND (the rector between 1551 and 1576); in the case of Hathersage, the EYRE and FITZHERBERT families.

    Published by The Derbyshire Record Society, in 1983.


Social life and Customs

Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs in England and Wales to 1516 - The Gazetteer, compiled by Dr Samantha Letters is a catalogue of Markets and Fairs in Medieval England and Wales. First comprehensive National Survey, with detailed information about grants of Charters to all Market Towns. Mentions some names of grantees - eg for Bakewell, "John (Gernoun, kn) successfully claimed that he and his ancestors had held the fair from time out of mind".


  • The E 179 Database (on the National Archives website) contains detailed information about over 26,000 documents relating to the taxation of lay people in England and Wales between c.1200 and c.1700. These documents are likely to contain many names.
  • The Hearth Tax, popularly referred to as "Chimney Money" was introduced in 1662 but presumably like our 1980s Poll Tax, it was not a popular form of taxation, as by 1689 it was withdrawn. However, for the purposes of genealogical research the returns provide a unique "head count" and assessment of the social status of one's ancestors - the more hearths they paid taxes for, the larger the house they lived in. The Hearth Tax Assessments have been transcribed for Derbyshire, and are published by the Derbyshire Record Society.


    Derbyshire Hearth Tax Assessments, 1662-70.
    Edited by David G. Edwards. 1982.
    • ISBN 0 9505940 9 1.
    The volume lists the names of heads of households, and the number of hearths they were taxed for.

Voting Registers

Marjorie WARD has transcribed A Copy of a Poll taken for the County of Derby The 16th, 17th, 18th and 20th days of May 1734 to include Voters in Bowden Middlecale & district and Voters in Other areas of (North) Derbyshire. Her transcription also lists where the Freehold land which made the Voter eligible was situated (this was not necessarily the place where he lived) and for which of the three candidates he voted (Lord Charles Cavendish, Sir Nathaniel Curzon Bart. or Henry Harpur Esq.)