"GLOUCESTERSHIRE, a west Midland county [Map (right) shows location], situated upon the estuary of the Severn, and bounded north and north-east by Herefordshire, Worcestershire, and Warwickshire; by Oxfordshire; south by Berks, Wilts, and Somerset; and west by Monmouthshire, Herefordshire, and the estuary of the Severn; greatest length, south-west to north-east 54 miles; greatest breadth, north-west to south-east, 33 miles; area, 783,699 acres; population 572,433. The face of the county shows varied aspects, of which the most distinctive are the Cotswold Hills, in the east; the valley of the Severn, in the middle; and the Forest of Dean, in the west. Besides the Severn there are numerous important rivers, such as the Avon, Lower Avon, Wye, Thames, and Windrush. The canal system has been largely developed, and several important water-ways of that description pass through the county. Agriculture forms the leading occupation of the rural population; in the hills sheep-farming receives attention; while the rich valley of the Severn has long been famed for the superiority of its products. Its luxuriant pastures especially have originated and supported a great industry in the shape of dairy farms which produce the celebrated Glo'ster cheese. In the west of the county are 2 great coal fields - the Forest of Dean on the north, and the Bristol coal-field on the west. Other minerals are gypsum, barytes, quartz, limestone, and freestone. The manufactures are mostly woollen and cotton stuffs, but at Bristol there are also large hardware manufactures."
[Extract from Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]
There is a What's New page that keeps you up to date with the changes made to this page and the contents of the Gloucestershire pages generally.
Ralph, Elizabeth and Hardwick, Nora M - Calendar of the Bristol Apprentice Book 1532 - 1565. Published by Bristol Record Society, 1980. Three Volumes: Vol II, 1542-1552; Vol III, 1552-1565.
Probably out of print, but second hand copies can be found through online bookstores such as Ambra Books (see also below), and John Townsend - Antiquarian Books.
Salter, Mike - The Old Parish Churches of the Forest of Dean. Folly Publications.
Recommended by previous GENUKI maintainer- like others in his Old Parish Churches series, it is extremely well-researched and a regular source of reference.
Ralph Bigland visited many of Gloucestershire's graveyards in the late 18th Century, and recorded the contents of the Memorials he found in a series of 4 volumes, available in the Gloucestershire Record Office. These volumes represent a unique reference source, as many of the Monumental Inscriptions they record have now disappeared, either because the gravestones have been removed, or because their inscriptions are no longer visible. As well as the originals available in the Gloucestershire Record Office, reprints are also available, republished by the Gloucester Record Society, details as follows:- Historical, Monumental and Genealogical Collections relative to the County of Gloucester, ed. B. Frith, 1989-95, published by the Gloucester Record Society. (Volumes 1-4 : ISBN 0 900197 28 5, 0 900197 30 7, 0 900197 34 X and 0 900197 40 4), UK £30 each.
The Britannia, "America's Gateway to the British Isles" Index of Parish Churches features about 10 Gloucestershire Churches. A nice site, providing you can tolerate the constant invitations to take part in online gambling.
John Wilkes produced a series of stunning photographs of many Gloucestershire Parish Churches. These can now be found in montages on Allan Taylor's Cotswold site.
Several Gloucestershire churches are featured on Phil Draper's Church Crawler Website, devoted to news and information about churches in the UK, and worldwide, where the emphasis is on "less-well-known churches that do not appear on the tourist trails of the world". Phil has a particular interest in Bristol's Cathedrals, Churches and Chapels, and aims to feature them all on his site.
You may also find it worthwhile searching in the GENUKI Church Database. Enter the name of the place in which the church is located:
Transcriptions of Parish Records of the Forest of Dean for the period 1813-1901 - Forest of Dean Family History. The project has the full cooperation of the Gloucestershire Record Office, and results are free to access after a simple registration process. There is an increasing range of other records and a responsive Forum.
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.
Gloucestershire Record Office provide a searchable Online Catalogue, containing a full catalogue of all Anglican Parish Records in their keeping, and brief details of other collections they hold. There is also a set of downloadable summaries showing the registers for each current parish and giving details of the history of each parish at the Gloucestershire Archives
Stuart Flight's Gloucestershire Genealogy lists material for parishes he has collected and transcribed, mainly in the Kings Stanley and Stroud areas,.
A detailed note on Registration can be found here including how to obtain certificates from the local sources (at the Archives) or the General Register Office.
Indexes for Gloucestershire can be found online Gloucestershire BMD Indexes. This provides details of a collaborative venture Gloucestershire Registration Service, Family History Societies, and independent volunteers to index all births, marriages and deaths in Gloucestershire from 1837 to the present, to provide an online searchable index,
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:-
HM Prison Service Museum,
Tel: 01788 834168
[Information compiled from "The Penal Lexicon Home Page", formerly at www.penlex.org.uk/pages/index.html.]
Located at the north-east corner of the prison to the rear of the Central Police Station in Longsmith Street, Gloucester Prison Museum and Shop are open from Easter Tuesday to end of September. Monday-Saturday from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm, with limited opening at Bank Holidays.
"The first ever museum to be part of a fully operational and working prison, the 'Old Gate Lodge' has been converted into a museum depicting the history of Gloucester Castle as a prison and its progress through to modern day operation."
There is a small shop operated by the museum staff selling souvenirs produced specifically for Gloucester Prison Museum.
HM Prison and Remand Centre,
Tel: 01452 529551 Fax: 01452 310302
[Information compiled from "The Penal Lexicon Home Page", formerly at www.penlex.org.uk/pages/index.html.]
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 SO500120). 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. TEMPORARY NOTE: Gazetteer under revision apologies for any oddities
There is a Bristol Look-Up Exchange hosted by Vance Mead - a list of volunteers who hold reference material relating to Bristol and who are willing to undertake small searches. Note: one of the available reference sources relates to the Hundred of Berkeley, and so covers a wider area than Bristol itself.
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. The extent of the parish coverage in the VCH is listed on Hidden Heritage
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. Included Chepstow (now Wales).
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.
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.
Names from Criminal Registers (PRO Class HO 27) 1805-1816 are available for purchase on floppy disk or microfiche through Family History Indexes (the link to the Criminal Registers is part way down the page).
British History Online -Includes the 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.
Access to various satellite map sites (Google, MS Live, &c.) via the convenient front end of Flash Earth.
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 Gloucestershire 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.
Medical Heritage of Great Britain, a site produced by the Bath & Wessex Medical History Group, providing detailed information on a county level of the history of medical treatments, and locations of some associated buildings.
Bristol and Transatlantic Slavery - "all about the transatlantic slave trade and the effect on Bristol from the 1400s right up to today". Still under construction (3 Sep 2003) but promises to be an interesting site.
The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum website provides information relating to "The Glorious Glosters", including a 'Soldier Search' and Military Timeline. Also available are a military book and gift shop, and a genealogy research service.
A very comprehensive sites 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.
Names from Musters of the Gloucestershire (North & South) 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).
Men & Armour for Gloucestershire in 1608 / [compiled by] John Smith; a Muster Roll of fit and able bodied men. "The names and Surnames of all the able and sufficient men in body fitt for his Ma'ties service in the warrs within the City of Gloucester and the Inshire of the same, wherein are contayned the City of Glouc' and the Hundreds of Dudstone and Barton Regis, with their ages, personable Statures and Armours viewed by the Right honorable Henry Lord Berkley Lord Lieutenant of the said City and the County thereof by direction from his Ma'tie in the month of September, 1608." The list provides occupations, and a measure of age, and physique of the parties concerned by means of a key, for example:- John Bendall Brodeweaver - 1m. being decipherable using the following table:-
The figure (1) sheweth the age of that man to bee about Twenty.
The figure (2) sheweth the age of that man to bee about Forty.
The figure (3) sheweth the age of that man to bee betwene Fyfty and threescore.
The L're (p.) sheweth the man to bee of the tallest stature fitt to make a pykeman.
The L're (m.) sheweth the man to bee of a middle stature fitt to make a musketyer.
The L'res (ca.) sheweth the man to bee of a lower stature fitt to serve with a Calyver.
The L'res (py.) sheweth the man to bee of the meanest stature either fit for a pyoner, or of little other use.
The L'res (tr.) sheweth that at the takinge of this viewe, hee was then a trayned soldyer.
The L'res (sub.) sheweth that the said man was then a subsidy man.;
This is just to whet your appetite to give you a flavour of the kind of detail which is available. The original manuscript of Men and Armour is now on deposit at Gloucestershire Record Office. The printed version - Reference: Author(s): Smith, John, b.1567 [compiled by] John Smith - was republished in 1980 by Alan Sutton: ISBN/ISSN: 0904387496 as a limited edition of 400 numbered copies
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.
The National Waterways Museum at Gloucester, sited in Llanthony Warehouse on Gloucester Docks. Relates the story of 200 years of Britain's Canals. Nice animated .gif features a Canal Boat in front of the Museum.
Geoff Sandle's Gloucestershire Pubs site. Geoff is attempting to locate all old pubs and breweries in Gloucestershire from 1850. Archive material includes petty sessional divisional records dating from 1891 and 1903 and old county directories. (Kelly's etc.)
Rosemary Lockie's collection of pages listing abstracts of Gloucestershire Probate Records. Many thanks to all the kind people who have contributed their ancestors' Wills to this project!
Leslie Mahler is the one responsible for setting this particular ball rolling. He began work in 1998, transcribing indexes to, and abstracts from early Gloucestershire Wills in an effort to trace his own Gloucestershire ancestors prior to the earliest parish registers. The periods he's covered so far are 1541-1545, and ALL Gloucestershire Wills dated 1619. Abstracts from specific locations are also available - check out his Early Gloucestershire Probate Records for further details.
Mother Bedford - "a website devoted primarily to the history of Old-Bedford County, Pennsylvania during the American Revolutionary War period" - a fascinating site including items of general historical interest eg:
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. An extract from one of these documents - Lay Subsidy Roll : E179/116/488 - is provided here, transcribed and contributed by Johan Winsser.
In addition, the set of Lay Subsidies 1581-1595 (links to a PDF file) are available on The Bristol & Gloucestershire Archaeological Society website.