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Help and advice for Nottinghamshire

If you have found a problem on this page then please report it on the following form. We will then do our best to fix it. If you are wanting advice then the best place to ask is on the area's specific email lists. All the information that we have is in the web pages, so please do not ask us to supply something that is not there. We are not able to offer a research service.

If you wish to report a problem, or contribute information, then do use the following form to tell us about it.


"Nottinghamshire, Nottingham, or Notts, north-midland county of England, bounded N. by Yorkshire, E. by Lincolnshire, S. by Leicestershire, and W. by Derbyshire; greatest length, N. to S., about 50 miles; greatest breadth, E. to W., about 25 miles; area, 527,752 acres, population 391,815. ... The soil is varied, but cannot be spoken of as being highly productive. Green crops are the principal growth, and the common cereals are cultivated. Hop plantations are numerous, while in proximity to Nottingham and Newark there are many market gardens. Magnesian limestone and old red sandstone overlying coal prevail in the W.; in the other districts are formations of marl, new red sandstone, and lias, with quartz and gravel in the Forest. In a few places coal is worked. The principal manufactures are laces of various descriptions, in recent years a great development being apparent in the production of lace curtains. Hosiery manufacturers, woollen mills, cotton mills, and iron foundries are also actively productive. Nottinghamshire comprises 6 wapentakes, 273 pars. with parts of 5 others, the parliamentary and municipal borough of Nottingham (3 members), and the municipal borough of East Retford and Newark. It is almost entirely in the diocese of Southwell."
[BARTHOLOMEW's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]

Archives and Libraries

For most archives you will need 2 passport-sized photos with you for your ID (Reader Card or Reader Ticket) and something with a signature on it, like a cheque card, credit card or passport. A Reader Ticket may be good for several years. Nottingham Archives are now using the CARN system (County Archives Research Network) for reader cards, but many do it the old-fashioned way. Once you have a CARN card, it can be used in any of the record offices that use CARN.

You may want to pick up the Archive booklet: "Nottinghamshire Parish and Denominational Registers, A Finding List," ISBN 0 900943 97 1. The information is minimal in detail, but it is a good place to start learning about what is in the archives.


Due to size, this information has been moved to our Census Page.

Church Records

Civil Registration

Certificates of birth, death and marriage can be obtained from the Superintendent Registrars at the various District Register Offices:

To determine which Register Office is appropriate for various places in the county, these pages may be of assistance



  • The Thoroton Society tells us that the county of Nottinghamshire was created around 1,000 years ago by the Anglo-Saxon monarchy as a means of stabilizing the kingdom after Viking invasions.
  • Read about Nottinghamshire history.
  • The manpower shortages caused by World War One was a great boon to women who moved into factory and clerical jobs that had primarily been male-oriented in the past. The trend was noticed in the Newark Great War Bulletin of June 21st, 1915.
  • The Newark Great War Bulletin of August 23rd, 1915 notes that recent rainstorms have ruined crops. Coupled with depredations from U-Boats, the paper notes the scarcity of produce and the threat of inflation.

Military History

At the beginning of World War One, the Roayl Engineers picked a number of large towns and cities to be Engineering Training Centres (or ETCs). One of these was Newark-on-Trent, selected because it had a number of roads, railways and river connections. They set up their local headquarters at Coddington Hall and began collecting units to train and outfit for service in various responsibilities to support the army. At Newark, pontoon bridge building was an early task, made more serious after eight men were killed in a training accident in early 1915.

According to the Newark Great War Bulletin for 14 September 1914, fear of invasion gripped the country.

And the need for more men never ceased. Newark asked its young men to enlist, as shown in this Newark Great War Bulletin for March 8th 1915.

Military Records

This section has been moved to our Military Records page to provide more information.

Names, Personal

This section has been enlarged. Please see our Personal Names page for various resources.



  • Always give the Public Record Office search engine a try. Enter an occupation and see what they have on file.
  • A book that may define and explain some of the terminology used in various occupations is, "The Local Historian's Encyclopedia," by John Richardson, ISBN 0 9503656 0 2. Last known price: £4.95.
  • You might also try, "A Dictionary of Old Trades, Titles and Occupations," by Colin Waters, ISBN 1 85306 794 6.

Politics and Government

  • For ease of administration the county was sub-divided into Wapentakes, which subsequently became known as Hundreds. In the Middle Ages there were six Wapentakes: Newark, Bassetlaw, Thurgarton, Rushcliffe, Broxtowe, and Bingham. By the sixteenth century they ceased to have real administrative importance but remained as a useful way of discussing the geography of the county, hence Dr Robert Thoroton's use of these divisions for his 'progress' around the county: Antiquities of Nottinghamshire (1677).
  • The modern Nottingham County Council was formed in 1889 of fifty-one councillors and 17 aldermen. Lord BELPER was the first chairman.
  • The City of Nottingham was part of Nottinghamshire until 1998, but is now a Unitary authority.

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

Poorlaw records generally break down into several categories. The term "Poor Law Papers" is a group title which covers various legal documents that existed to cover the parishes where expenditure on a given person may be required. All these can date from 1601 to 1834. There are many Nottinghamshire parishes that do not have poor law records archived under the parish name. One reason is that some Poor Law Records were indexed by township name, which sometimes didn't match the parish name. The Quarter Sessions poor law indexes between them cover the whole of Nottinghamshire and therefore include the parishes not covered by parish chest documents. The Petty Sessions indexes cover smaller areas but still include parishes without their own poor law docs.

We have these web pages to offer you for specific resources:

  • For an understanding of Settlement, see "A Place of Legal Settlement," published by Anne Cole in the Lincolnhsire Family History Society magazine.
  • Bastardy Bonds/Agreements were used to determine which adult male was to support a child.
  • Settlement Papers include several categories: Examinations papers, Settlement Certificates and Removal Orders. Vagrancy Passes were issued to permit a pauper to travel across parishes, usually as part of a Removal Order. All designed to specify which parish was to support a poor individual or family.
  • Apprenticeship Agreements were papers between the parish and the would-be master taking on the apprentice. If a child was orphaned, the parish would try and find an apprenticeship for them to relieve the burden on the parish funds.
  • Some individuals and families wound up in the Poorhouse. Some of those records carry on until about 100 years ago. See our Poorhouse and Almshouse page.

In 1834 the Poor Law Amendment Act established Poorlaw Unions that allowed a group of parishes to be served by a single entity that provided for the poor. A Poorlaw union could be anywhere from 2 or three parishes to 60 or more. Some parishes had formed nacient unions before 1834. Nottingham county was covered by the following Poorlaw Unions:

  1. Basford
  2. Bingham
  3. East Retford
  4. Mansfield
  5. Newark
  6. Nottingham
  7. Radford
  8. Southwell
  9. Thurgarton Incorporation
  10. Worksop


 Year Inhabitants
1801 152,573
1811 175,966
1821 203,939
1831 243,605
1841 270,731
1871 319,758
1901 596,705

Probate Records