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"WARWICKSHIRE, a county in the west-midlands of England; bounded N. by Staffordshire, Derbyshire, and Leicestershire, E. by Northamptonshire, S. by Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, and W. by Worcestershire; greatest length, N. and S., 52 miles; greatest breadth, E. and W., 32 miles; area, 566,271 acres, population 737,339. Warwickshire presents a pleasant undulating surface of hill and dale, watered by the Avon, Leam, and Tame. The climate is mild and healthy, and the soil, except some cold stiff clays on the higher grounds, is fertile. It consists chiefly of a strong red loam adapted for wheat and beans, or a sandy loam for barley and turnips. Much land is kept in permanent pasture for grazing. Formerly the county was thickly wooded (that part N. of the Avon being called the Forest of Arden), and fine timber is still abundant. Geologically it mainly belongs to the secondary formation. A coal field, 16 miles by 3 miles, extends from the neighbourhood of Coventry to the border of Staffordshire, E. of Tamworth. The principal minerals are coal, ironstone, limestone, freestone, blue flagstone, and fire-clay. The manufactures are carried on chiefly at Birmingham (hardware and silk goods) and Coventry (watches and ribbons). There are mineral springs at Leamington, Stratford on Avon, Ilmington, Southam, Willoughby, King's Newnham, &c.; The county is traversed in all directions by canals and railways."
[Extract from Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]
Whilst Libraries may have a small amount of original material they contain mainly published material, including fiche or microfilm of census.
Original sources, particularly Parish Registers, will have been deposited at Record Offices. County Record Offices are often also the Diocesan Record Office, as is the case with Warwickshire. The Birmingham, Deritend, Edgbaston and Erdington registers are at Birmingham Central Library, those for Stratford-upon-Avon (or Old Stratford) are at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and those for some parishes which are on the county boundary may be found in the neighbouring County Record Office.
Below is a list of the major repositories.
- Birmingham Central Library, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, B3 3HQ. More information is available via Birmingham Libraries Online.
- Birmingham City Archives.
- Coventry Central Library, Local Studies Department, Smithford Way, Coventry, CV1 1FY.
- The University of Warwick Modern Records Centre.
- Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Records Office, Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford upon Avon, CB37 6QW.
- Solihull Central Library, Local Studies Collection, Homer Road, Solihull, West Midlands, B91 3RG.
- Sutton Coldfield Library, Local Studies Service, 43 Lower Parade, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, B72 1XX.
- Warwickshire - Library and Information Service.
- Details of source material available at Warwickshire County Libraries for Family History and Local Studies (excluding Birmingham) .
- Warwickshire County Record Office, Priory Park, Cape Road, Warwick CV34 4JS.
- Archbishop's House, Archdiocese of Birmingham Catholic Repository, St. Chad's Queensway, Birmingham, B4 6EX.
- Coventry Archives, John Sinclair House, The Canal Basin, Coventry, CV1 4LY. Website: www.theherbert.org.
- Worcester County Record Office, County Hall, Spetchley Road, Worcester, WR5 2NP.
- Lichfield Record Office (formerly Lichfield Joint Record Office), The Friary, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS13 6QG. Telephone: (+44) 1543 510771 (note: Lichfield is where Wills for much of Warwickshire were likely to have been proved pre 1852)
- A help page for family historians researching life on the canals may be found at the London Canal Museum.
- 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 Society of Genealogists web site has a database containg details of their holdings of Parish Register Copies for Warwickshire. Searching for "Warwickshire Parish Registers" and then clicking the link to "WARWICKSHIRE - REGISTERS" will produce a list of all parishes for which records are held and the dates for each type of record.
- Information on the location of Quaker Records in Warwickshire provided by the Quaker FHS.
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 Warwickshire, 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 Warwickshire County Council Registration Service now offer the facility to search an index to the records online, and to obtain copies directly.
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. For more details of this service see Warwickshire Registration Services online. The cost of a certificate obtained this way is £9.00.
There is an equivalent site for the West Midlands BMD Indexes, covering the registration districts of Stourbridge, Dudley, West Bromwich and Walsall.
When necessary, details of the Local Register Office to contact are on one of the above sites, and a complete list of all districts may be found in Brett Langston's list of Warwickshire Registration Districts (1837-1974).
- Obtaining a certifcate from the GRO
- 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. Until 2006, this was one of the district offices referred to above, but since 2006, there has been just one district for the whole of Warwickshire, and the place to apply to is the Register Office is in Cheltenham. From that point onwards, certificates will cost the same as any 'old' certificate obtained locally - £9.00.
- Nigel Batty-Smith's site of UK Genealogy Archives - Warwickshire has a description of the county from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5.
- The transcription of the section for Warwickshire from the National Gazetteer (1868) provided by Colin Hinson.
- 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.
- And here is a transcription of Extra Parochial places from the National Gazetteer (1868) provided by Colin Hinson.
- Details of Warwickshire Mailing Lists.
- The Midlands Historical Data project produces searchable facsimile copies of old local history books and directories of interest to genealogists. It specialises in the three counties of Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Staffordshire, working closely with libraries, archives and family history societies in the area. Digital images are made freely available to participating organisations to improve public access. Free search index on its web-site to all its books.
- Graham Jaunay's Online English Names Directory covers this county.
- The On-line Parish Clerk (OPC) Project aims to encourage volunteers to collect information relating to parish or parishes of interest, and make it available online, either by webpage or database. OPCs aim to transcribe parish records, census and any other local history information that would be useful to a family historian; however as it takes time to transcribe and accumulate this material, the amount of information available will vary.
- RootsChat Messaging Forum - Warwickshire section.
- The Warwickshire section of 'Curious Fox' - "The village-by-village contact site for anybody researching family history, genealogy and local history in the UK and Ireland".
- Warwickshire and Birmingham transcriptions and indexes, including MIs, Census (inc. FreeCEN) and other submitted data.
- The Birmingham and Midland Society of Genealogy and Heraldry (BMSGH) provides comprehensive sources of information for
- Tracing your Ancestors in Warwickshire (excluding Birmingham)
- Tracing Your Ancestors in Birmingham.
- Researchers may also find one or more of the Warwickshire Mailing Lists useful in their research
- Warwickshire Surnames being researched are listed within Graham Jaunay's On-line English Names Directory.
- Warwickshire Ancestors Project
This project is providing a "free-to-view" transcription of the 1891 Warwickshire census returns. It is part of an initiative aimed at helping make high quality primary (or near-primary) records of relevance to UK family history conveniently and freely available online.
The project makes use of specially developed software modules for data entry, checking, validation and database upload.
Volunteers need a computer and access to a microfiche reader. Microfiche, software, instructions and lots of advice will be supplied by the organisers. There is also a dedicated mailing list to ask questions on and to receive advice about changes or upgrades to the software
There are two phases. In the first, one volunteer transcribes a census piece, then uploads it to the county coordinator. In the second phase, another volunteer checks the transcriptions against the microfiche using a separate piece of software.
By 7 November 2002, over 120,000 records for Aston and Birmingham were online. The project was subsequently expanded to cover north east Warwickshire, including Coventry and Rugby.
This project will help not just ourselves and others who are researching Warwickshire family history now, but build a resource that will help future family historians.
Online family historians can participate no matter where they live. If you believe, as we do, that this information should be available for free and freely available, then please contact the coordinator.
- 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 10 Mar 2009.
- Chris Phillips has compiled an index to place names mentioned in the titles of topographical articles in the published volumes of the Victoria County History. The index is available his Medieval English Genealogy web site, in the Victoria County History: Warwickshire section.
- 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 - Monarchy, Child Labour, The Railways, &c. Added 10 Mar 2009.
- 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.
- Name Index to The History of Warwickshire by William West (1830), indexed by Ted Wildy.
- Facsimiles and annotated transcriptions of The Accounts of Thomas Elkington 1758-9, bailiff to William Holbech of Farnborough Hall. Also a Facsimile of the Almanac in which he wrote these accounts, Rider's British Merlin 1758.
- Information about Warwickshire Feet of Fines (land conveyances) - on Chris Phillips Medieval English Genealogy web site. Added 10 Mar 2009.
- 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 10 Mar 2009.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Old Maps web site has a wonderful series of 1:10,560 scale historical maps for the whole of the UK available on-line.
- 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 Warwickshire 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;
David Hawgood has produced Maps of Warwickshire with Braille labels (large print labels) to help people with visual disabilities, with similar Tactile and large print Maps for other English counties.
- 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.
- The Newspaper Library at Colindale - latest information (October 2013) is that the BL is going to close Colindale, north London, in November 2013, moving the newspaper collection to a purpose-built Newspaper Storage Building (NSB) in Boston Spa, West Yorkshire. Newspapers will be viewable on film only at the British Library in a special reading room that is due to open in February 2014. A facility to order copies of newspapers that have not yet been digitised, on 48 hours notice, is planned from some date later in 2014. See the British Library's Newspaper Moves and Digitisation Project for up-to-date details of the changes.
- For other English Newspapers see OnlineNewspapers.com - England.
- A site "dedicated to the Workhouse - its buildings, its inmates, its staff and administrators, and even its poets..." - The Workhouse - created by Peter Higginbotham.