This is a maritime county, and one of the most beautiful districts in this island; it includes within its boundaries numerous objects replete with interest, and towns of high importance, magnitude and beauty. It is situated on the south-east extremity of Great Britain, opposite to France, from which it is distant (at its nearest point, Dover,) about twenty-four miles. Its figure is irregular, but approaches more to the trapezium than to any other. On the north it is bounded by the river Thames; on the east side, and part of the south, it opens to the German ocean and British channel; on the remainder of the south side it is skirted by Sussex, and on the west by Surrey. From east to west (i.e. from the North Foreland to Deptford,) it is about sixty-three miles in length; and in breadth, from the point of Dungeness to the North Foreland, nearly forty miles; while, from the central sides, it is not more than twenty-five wide. The ambit of the county is about one hundred and seventy-four miles; and its area comprises 1,537 square miles, or 983,680 statute acres. In size it ranks as the ninth county in England, and in population as the sixth.
-- Pigot & Co.'s Royal National and Commercial Directory and Topography of the county of Kent, September, 1839.
-- Facsimile edition (ISBN 0-9504069-5-3) © Michael Winton 1993

If you would like a longer descriptive quote, try this one from Bartholemew's or this one The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868.


Archives & Libraries

A good starting point is the web page for the Kent County Council Archives.

For details of Canterbury Cathedral Archives see the Archives web pages on the Canterbury Cathedral site.

For information on the area around the Medway Towns, have a look at Medway Council's CityArk site.




Steve Archer has produced a very useful round-up of the available census records for Kent - and where/from whom they are available.


Church History

The North West Kent Family History Society’s West Kent Parish Gazetteer, which provides links to details of church and chapel records, and church photographs.


Church Records

This list is of a very small selection of (North-East Kent) places for which there are some BMD extracts, provided by Alec Tritton (giving information that is not currently in the IGI):


Civil Registration


Description & Travel



Pigot and Co.'s Royal National and Commercial Directory

The flysheet of the 1839 edition continues ...

"... comprising classified lists of all persons in trade, and of the nobility, gentry and clergy, resident in the towns and principal villages in the above counties. An account of every mode of convenance by railway, road and water; Post-Office regulations, &c."

Alec Whitfield has compiled indexes to surnames and place names for the Kent volume of the 1823 and 1839 editions which have been republished and are fairly readily available to researchers.

1823 (available on CD from S&N Genealogy Supplies)

Pigot 1823 (Kent) surname index
Pigot 1823 (Kent) place name index

1839 (available on CD from Archive CD Books)
(facsimile edition published 1993 by Michael Winton - ISBN 0-9504069-5-3, now hard to find)

Pigot 1839 (Kent) surname index
Pigot 1839 (Kent) place name index

Other Historical Directories

Janet and Richard Mason have transcribing a number of Kent and Thanet Directories. See Janet and Richard Mason's Genealogy pages

There is a terrific selection of local and trade directories spanning the period from 1750 to 1919 on the Historical Directories website.



The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868 - Miscellaneous extracts (including hundreds)

The North West Kent Family History Society’s West Kent Parish Gazetteer , which provides links to details of church and chapel records, and church photographs.



Email lists

As a general pointer to email lists covering this (or any other) county have a look at this list.

Groups.IO supports three open lists covering Kent:
  • Kent-Eng is the main Groups.IO list for Kent, covering the whole of the county.
  • The Isle of Thanet has its own subgroups within the above list.
There is also a closed list for members of the Kent FHS.
Look-up Exchange

Jo Morris maintains this list of people with specific resources in which they are willing to perform look-ups. Note it is not a research exchange scheme.

General area interest
Maureen Rawson's Kent Genealogy pages.
Peter Blanche's East Kent and Genealogy (from the Internet Archive) pages.
Barry White's Family and Local History in Thanet pages.
Janet and Richard Mason's Genealogy pages

Historical Geography

This KentOnline News page may help get the distinction between Kentish Men and Men of Kent clear in your mind.

Hasted, Edward. The history and topographical survey of the county of Kent. Containing the antient and present state of it, civil and ecclesiastical; collected from public records, and other authorities: illustrated with maps, views, antiquities, &c.. Canterbury, Printed by W. Bristow (1797-1801) 12 vols. [Full text]


The Kent Archaeological Society has put online Volume 3 of the Victoria County History of Kent. This includes the text of, and the index to, the Kent Domesday survey.


Law & Legislation


Military History

Hazel Basford is researching the Kent VADs (Voluntary Aid Detachments) during WWI and has put a lot of information about these units online at (Internet Archive copy)



Chatham News (1885-1987)

This paper has been indexed from 1895 to 1965.
Please note that it only available in Adobe PDF format from the Internet Archive.
Provided by Graham Parrett of the paper's printers.


Probate Records

Maureen Rawson has collected numerous links to Kent Probate Records.



There are several Family History Societies covering Kent, some have very localised interests but the bulk of the county is divided between the Kent FHS and the North West Kent FHS. There are two smaller societies covering the area around Woolwich and the area from Folkestone and Hythe down to Dungenness and the marshes (the former Lathe of Shepway).

For contact details of all these Societies please check their web sites as listed on the GENUKI Societies page.