"Hertfordshire (or Herts), an inland Co. in SE. of England, bounded N. by Cambridgeshire, E. by Essex, S. by Middlesex, W. by Bucks, and NW. by Bedfordshire; greatest length, NE. and SW., 35 miles; greatest breadth, E. and W., 26 miles: 465,141 acres, population 203,069. In appearance the county is hilly, but interspersed with fine pasture lands, arable farms, and picturesque parks and woods. The Lea, the Colne, and the Ivel are the principal rivers; the Grand Junction Canal likewise passes through a part of the county. A large number of the inhabitants are employed in husbandry, and in addition to grain of choice quality, hay,vegetables, and numerous fruits and flowers are extensively cultivated, especially for the London market. The greater portion of the commerce of the county is supported by the trade in corn and malt. Manufactures are few; paper-making silk-weaving, and straw-plaiting being the principal industries. Railways penetrate to all parts of the county; no place is at a greater distance than 5 miles from a station. Geologically the greater part of Herts consists, of Lower, Middle, and Upper Chalk; in the S. is the London clay. The minerals are of no commercial importance. Herts. comprises 8 hundreds, 138 parishes, and parts of 3 others, and the municipal boroughs of Hertford and St Albans. It is almost entirely in the diocese of St Albans. For parliamentary purposes it is divided into 4 divisions, viz., Northern or Hitchin, Eastern or Hertford, Mid or St Albans, and Western or Watford, 1 member for each. It sent 3 members till 1885."

(Transcribed from Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887. -C.H.)


Archives & Libraries

Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
Register Office Block
County Hall
SG13 8EJ

Telephone:- +44 [0]300 1234 049

You can access the online indexes and catalogue.



Various old books relating to Hertfordshire (including directories) have been scanned, and are available on Rod Neep's Archive CD Books Project.


Church Records

Paul Joiner has started a Marriage Database for Hertfordshire.


Civil Registration

Certified copies of Birth, Marriage, Death and Civil Partnership event can be obtained from:- Hertfordshire Record Office

The costs are:-

  • Online application(s) (priority service) £15.00
  • Telephone application(s) (priority service) £18.00
  • Postal application(s) (priority service) £18.00
  • Postal application(s) (non-priority service) £10.00
  • While You Wait certificate £25.00


There is a Surname List for Hertfordshire to which people can subscribe the names they are researching.
If you want an answer more quickly, then join one of the genealogy Mailing Lists serving the area. Your postings will be seen by all other subscribers to the list and one or more may be able to assist you; you may even find others with the same research interests as yourself.

The Hertfordshire Look-up Exchange. Volunteers are offering look-ups in various research references.

Chris Reynolds is supervising the Hertfordshire Genealogical Discussion Forum; 'hoping to encourage people to make more informative contributions than simply " I'm searching for Joe Bloggs", and in particular wanting to encourage discussion in the Forum.'
The site now includes some 1500 pages of data and contains many pictures of places in Hertfordshire together with reviews of books on the county and its towns and villages.



The Heritage Channel on Hertfordshire County Council's website, HertsDirect, provides a good link in to sources there.


Social Life & Customs

Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs to 1516 was compiled by Dr Samantha Letters at the Centre for Metropolitan History, and is organised by county. It includes a brief summary of the early history of many large and small places, with details of markets and fairs and the people granted the right to hold them.



Hertfordshire Family History Society for web site; or e-mailto Hertfordshire Family History Society

Royston & District FHS.