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.
Steve Archer has produced a very useful round-up of the available census records for Kent - and where/from whom they are available.
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.
- The County Resources at the Society of Genealogists page will lead you to lists of the many parish register copies they hold.
- A Listing of The Availablity of Kent Parish Register Transcripts on CD, Fiche, or the web has been put together by a number of Kent FHS members - Linda Murray, Roy Day, Brad Rogers, Penny Holt and Nigel Osborne (and probably a few more besides).
- Ted Wildy's UK Marriage witness index
- Shelagh Mason S.A.Mason[at]canterbury.ac[dot]uk has provided information about the names Holmes (249k), and Stead (75k) appearing in Kent 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):
Brett Langston has put online details of Kent's Registration Districts and the towns and villages served by each.
- Peter Blanche's East Kent and Genealogy pages (from the Internet Archive).
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)
1839 (available on CD from Archive CD Books)
(facsimile edition published 1993 by Michael Winton - ISBN 0-9504069-5-3, now hard to find)
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.
- Email lists
As a general pointer to email lists covering this (or any other) county have a look at this list.
- RootsWeb supports three open lists covering Kent:
- Kent-Eng is the main RootsWeb list for Kent, covering the whole of the county.
- The Isle of Thanet has its own very localised RootsWeb list.
- Sussex-Plus was one of the early RootsWeb lists. As well as Sussex, it originally covered Surrey, Kent and Hampshire too. Now those counties have their own RootsWeb lists and Sussex-Plus contentrates on Sussex itself.
- Yahoo Groups has a list, Kent-Gene for Kent genealogy.
- There are also some closed lists:
- 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
This Kent 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]
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.
Maureen Rawson has collected numerous links to Kent Probate Records.