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"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. Nottinghamshlre 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]
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.
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.
This section has been moved to our Military Records page to provide more information.
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.
- 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 City of Nottingham was part of Nottinghamshire until 1998, but is now a Unitary authority.
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. 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:
- East Retford
- Thurgarton Incorporation