This web page contains information about the location and use of Archives and Libraries for Derbyshire-related family history research. Generally speaking, Archives (more commonly known as Record Offices) are repositories for original source material, such as Wills or Parish Registers, whereas the Local Studies Sections of Libraries are where you'd expect to find the Census, and printed local source material, such as Trade Directories.

If you're looking for assistance by post or email in Derbyshire, the Local Studies Library's Research Services and Derbyshire Record Office's Family History Search Service, are provided as part of Derbyshire County Council website Leisure & Culture section.

If nothing less than a personal visit will suffice, more detailed information, and some useful comments based on our own experiences, are offered below.


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    Established in 1962, Derbyshire Record Office holds the archives for the County of Derbyshire, City and Diocese of Derby. Generally speaking they house the original records - parish records, maps, &c. - whereas the Local Studies Libraries, in Matlock and elsewhere in the county hold a variety of useful secondary sources including all census returns, newspapers and the GRO indexes. The Record Office is situated in New Street, Matlock, but the address above should be used for postal enquiries.

    New in 2005: "The Record Office have recently published their summary list of new archives added to their collections in 2004. Entitled 'Archives 2004' it provides an overview of a wide range of material, including Anglican and nonconformist church records. You can refer to a copy in the Search Room, consult it on-line on their web pages or buy a hard copy.

    In addition, many CD-Roms of parish register transcripts have been added to Search Room resources. Derbyshire Record Office has (currently) 4 public access PCs with Internet access in the Search Room. On these you can see the 1881 and 1901 census returns on-line and the Derbyshire census returns for 1861, 1871 and 1891 on CD-Rom. The Search Room PCs can of course also be used for browsing other genealogical websites such as FamilySearch, FreeBMD, FreeCEN, &c.

    Web site: Derbyshire Record Office.

    The Search Room is located a short distance from County Hall, in New Street, in what used to be the Ernest Bailey Grammar School Building.

    In common with most Record Offices these days, all bags (including handbags) need to be left in lockers outside the Search Room.

    Information about some of the Derbyshire Record Office's holdings is available via the ARCHON (Archives On-Line) Information service. Select "Repository Search", and enter "Derbyshire Record Office" as Repository Name on the form provided.


    The Lichfield Joint Record Office (LJRO) hold original copies of Bishops' Transcripts, Marriage Licences and Wills for Derbyshire because it belonged to Lichfield Diocese. The latter in its hey-day must have been quite huge, covering Staffordshire, Derbyshire, part of Cheshire, Warwickshire and Shropshire. In 1884 however Derbyshire was transferred to the Diocese of Southwell (Notts), with Derby becoming a separate Diocese in, or about 1927. Additional details of the split with Lichfield are available on the Record Office's web pages, and I am indebted to David Marshall also for the update on the Diocese of Derby.

    Photocopies of original documents are available by post.


    Holds original parochial records for parishes in Derbyshire prior to 1933, but now part of Greater Sheffield, for example Norton and Beighton. Note however that Diocesan records (such as the Bishops Transcripts) for these parishes are still at Lichfield Joint Record Office.

    It also provides access to the excellent Bagshawe Collection (the records of the antiquarians Benjamin Bagshawe (d.1907) and Edward G. Bagshawe (d.1956)), and the Jackson Collection (records of the Jackson family of Sheffield), both of which contain copious references to Derbyshire folk.


    Manchester Local Studies Library holds various records relating to Derbyshire Business and Commerce - for example the records of W.G. and J.Strutt Ltd., of Belper. For details of their holdings see the Access to Archives Catalogue.


    • The Devonshire Collection
      Chatsworth House
      Derbyshire DE4 1PP

    Here you may find records relating to property owned by the Dukes of Devonshire in which your ancestors were tenants, or of their employment, if they worked on the Estate, or elsewhere on land belonging to the Duke.

    I am indebted to Jennifer Blunt for providing the following statement from the archives as to access:-

    Reading Fees, 2004

    Accredited postgraduate students, scholars and bona fide research workers may be granted access to the collections of art and archives, following the receipt of an application in writing to the Keeper of the Devonshire Collection.

    A Reading Fee of £14.00 (+ VAT) per day or part of day is charged, but the department reserves the right to make a higher charge on the day.

    Appointments are made between 22nd March and 31st October, Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4.30pm.

    If an appointment is made you should report to the Porters Lodge on arrival, where you will be issued with a visitor's badge. You will then be met by a member of the Collection Department and shown to the Study Room.

    There is now a Chatsworth House web site. Although I was unable to find a reference to their archives, it does make interesting reading, nevertheless.


    • Belvoir Castle
      The archives at Belvoir Castle are the repository for an equivalent Collection for the Dukes of Rutland, also big landowners in North Derbyshire. Unfortunately however the Estate Offices have neither the staff nor the resources to make them available for research.

    See also the ARCHON (Archives On-Line) Information service for locations of other Record Offices throughout the country.

    Specific contents of both Derbyshire Record Office and Lichfield Joint Record Office Catalogues are searchable independently using the Access to Archives Database. This is a valuable resource - whilst the original records are not available online, some of the catalogue entries may be a revelation in their own right - for example:

    "Information of William Percivall of Haywood, Bakewell parish, blacksmith and servant of William Glossop of Haywood, against Henry Brushfield of Nether Padley for theft of a turkey cock and examination of Henry Brushfield. - ref. Q/SB/2/1243/1244 - date: 15 Oct 1660".
    NB: Lichfield Joint Record Office is listed with Staffordshire.


    • County Hall Local Studies Library
      Libraries and Heritage Department
      County Hall
      MATLOCK Derbyshire DE4 3AG

    County Hall Local Studies Library in Matlock holds the complete Derbyshire Census returns on microfilm, the IGI, and a wealth of Derbyshire research material available on open shelves. A great place for research; it is advisable to book a microfilm reader in advance, especially if you want photocopies.


    • Belper Library Local Studies Collection
      Bridge Street
      Belper DE56 1BA


    • Buxton Library
      Kents Bank School, Kents Bank Road
      BUXTON SK17 9HJ

    Buxton Library have copies of the High Peak area Census on microfilm - please phone to check availability of other Census. They also have local newspapers dating back to the mid 1800s. Nineteenth century Buxton was a Spa Town for "taking the waters" and the Buxton paper lists weekend guests at the hotels, so if they were wealthy enough, you can even follow your ancestors' social life! [Information kindly supplied by Liz Sparkes]


    • Chesterfield Library
      New Beetwell Street

    Chesterfield Library holds the Derbyshire Census returns on microfilm, the IGI, and much more besides.


    Derby Local Studies Library holds copies of some Derbyshire Pedigrees on microfilm.

    There's a Multi-storey carpark within walking distance of the Library - I found it by following signs for Parking from the Ring Road.


    Sheffield Local Studies Library has a large collection of local history books, printed parish register transcriptions and directories relating to Derbyshire, and may be a more convenient venue for some researchers than a Library in Derbyshire.

    For more comprehensive information on the Derbyshire Library Service see Find Your Derbyshire Library, on the Derbyshire County Council site, listing all libraries in the Amber Valley, Bolsover, Chesterfield, Derbyshire Dales, Erewash, High Peak, North East Derbyshire and South Derbyshire areas.


    Local history archive situated in Swadlincote - holds newspapers, old maps, photographs, BMD, Census returns and other memorabilia. The emphasis is on South Derbyshire and North West Leicestershire, but archive material also covers East Staffordshire and other parts of Derbyshire. For more information see their website. Added 5 Apr 2007.


    • Derbyshire Ancestral Research Group
      Birchwood Methodist Chapel,
      Birchwood Lane,

    Holds a large collection of transcriptions of Parish Registers, Memorial Inscriptions, local history books, &c. Searches are free, but donations are welcome. Added 5 Apr 2007.

[The above information was transferred from the main GENUKI/Derbyshire index page on 27 Aug 2003]