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Help and advice for Devon - Archives and Libraries

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Devon - Archives and Libraries:

The Record Offices and Local Studies Libraries that come under Devon County Council have been reorganized and amalgamated as Devon Archives and Local Studies (based at the Devon Heritage Centre, Exeter with a branch at North Devon Record Office, Barnstaple). These now form part of the South West Heritage Trust, "an  independent charity committed to protecting and celebrating Somerset and Devon’s rich heritage", which also encompasses the Museum of Somerset and the Rural Life Museum, in Glastonbury. These developments do not affect the other major Devon archive, the Plymouth & West Devon Record Office, or the Local and Family History Facilities, which are located in Plymouth Central Library and come under the Plymouth City Council. Collectively these provide the principal genealogy-related resources in Devon. However the respective reponsibilities and resources of Devon Archives and Local Studies, and of the Plymouth-based services are not easily disentangled - hopefully the links given below will help.

Exeter and Barnstaple:

Plymouth:

Online Exeter, Barnstaple and Plymouth Catalogues:

  • Devon Archive Collection Catalogue Search page - "The catalogue lists records held at the Devon Heritage Centre (Archives section) and the North Devon Record Office."
  • Southwest Heritage Trust: Devon and Somerset Local Studies Catalogue - This encompasses the collections of the the former Westcountry Studies Library and the Somerset Library, as well privately owned collections of the Devon and Cornwall Record Society, the North Devon Athenaeum, and the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society.
  • Plymouth and West Devon Record Office catalogue - "This catalogue contains descriptions of documents held at Plymouth and West Devon Record Office. The catalogue does not, in most cases, provide direct online access to the documents."
  • Note that the Record Office collections at Exeter, Barnstaple and Plymouth have in significant part been catalogued by the The National Archive (TNA)'s Access to Archives Project. The results of this now-terminated cataloguing project are incorporated in TNA's Discovery catalogue, and can be browsed or searched via their Devon and Local Studies Service and their Plymouth and West Devon Record Office pages.
  • Devon and Cornwall Record Society: a shelf-list of the collections. Covers the Society's own publications, parish register transcriptions, files on a large number of individual parishes and families, etc., etc. (This collection is housed within the Devon Heritage Centre, but is now covered by the Southwest Heritage Trust: Devon Archive Catalogue.)
  • Catalogue of the North Devon Athenaeum (at the North Devon Library & Record Office, Barnstaple) - now also included in the Southwest Heritage Trust: Devon Archive Catalogue.

Archived copies of previous Exeter and Barnstaple record office and local studies websites, prior to amalgamation, which may be recreated by the Southwest Heritage Trust:

  • Overall description of the various online catalogues.
  • What records do we hold? - covers the archive and local studies collections at the Devon Heritage Centre, Exeter, and the archive and local studies collections at the North Devon Local Studies Centre, Barnstaple.
  • Etched on Devon's Memory  - "Topographical prints: source listing: 1710-1819".
  • Devon Heritage Services's Newsletters - copies of Devon Record Office newsletters from May 1996 until the end of 2010, and of Devon Heritage Services newsletters from early 2012 to 2014.
  • WSL's set of historic parish pages (archived copy)
  • Devon Archives and Local Studies Service Projects - "details of our present and past projects, several undertaken in partnership with other organisations".
  • Tithe Maps Online  - "The largest collection of manuscript maps held at the Devon Heritage Centre at Sowton, Exeter comprises the tithe maps, drawn up following the Tithe Commutation Act of 1836."
  • The Burnet-Morris Index.

Other websites:

Friends of Devon's Archives web-site - The Friends of Devon's Archives society was formed in 1998 to promote the preservation and use of historical records throughout Devon . . . in close association with the Devon Record Office and the North Devon Record Office".

The Devon Museums web-site hosts information about a growing number of museums across Devon.

Exeter University Library - which provides a link from its Web site to an online catalogue of its holdings.

Exeter Cathedral Library - general information.

Plymouth University Library - has an online catalogue.

Devon page of ArchiveCD Books.

North Devon Maritime Museum - basic information.

Devon County Council's main web site is becoming large enough to be categorized as an archive - they now have a search service, well worth checking for information on particular places, etc.

Reports of the Committee on Devonshire Records:

  • Brownlow, Canon W.R. (ed.) First Report of the Committee on Devonshire Records: Bodleian Library. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 21 (1889), pp. 123-131. [Index]
  • Chanter, J.R. (ed.) Second Report of the Committee on Devonshire Records: Harding MSS, etc. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 22 (1890), pp. 59-65. [Index]
  • Cotton, R.W. and Brooking-Rowe, J. (ed.) Third Report of the Committee on Devonshire Records: Bodleian Library. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 23 (1891), pp. 150-170. [Index]
  • Brooking-Rowe, J. (ed.) Fifth Report of the Committee on Devonshire Records: Phillipps, Dredge, and Plymouth Institution MSS. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 25 (1893), pp. 218-248. [Index]
  • Brooking-Rowe, J. (ed.) Sixth Report of the Committee on Devonshire Records: Plymouth Proprietary Library. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 26 (1894), pp. 86-100. [Index]
  • Brooking-Rowe, J. (ed.) Seventh Report of the Committee on Devonshire Records: Plymouth Proprietary Library. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 28 (1896), pp. 110-173. [Index]
  • Brooking-Rowe, J. (ed.) Eighth Report of the Committee on Devonshire Records: Plymouth Proprietary Library. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 29 (1897), pp. 79-144. [Index]
  • Brooking-Rowe, J. (ed.) Ninth Report of the Committee on Devonshire Records: Plymouth Proprietary Library. Trans. Devon. Assoc. vol. 31 (1899), pp. 120-145. [Index]
  • Leary, Emmeline. (ed.) Hidden Assets: Museums and their archive collections in Devon & Cornwall (1996). [SoG Library: DE/G 107]

Downloadable books on Devon from eBooksRead.

Gray, Todd (ed.) Devon Documents. Tiverton: Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries, Special Issue (1996) 228pp. [ISBN 0925836203]
Sun Life insurance: Index to Devon Policies Held at Guildhall Library, London. [Devon FHS Library 368.1]