"Leicestershire, inland, bounded N. by Notts, E. by Lincolnshire and Rutland, SE. by Northamptonshire, SW by Warwickshire, and NW. by Derbyshire; greatest length, about 44 miles; greatest breadth, about 40 miles; area, 511,907 acres, population, 321,258. Low undulating hills cover the surface of the county, the highest elevation being Fardon Hill (902 ft.), in the Charnwood range. Charnwood Forest, in the NW., is now nearly destitute of trees. The principal rivers are tributaries of the Trent, which flows in the NW. of the county; these are the Soar, Wreak, Anker, Devon, and Mease. The Avon and Welland flow in the S. Two canals, the Union and the Grand Union, are connected with the Grand Junction Canal. Much of the soil is loamy, and the richest districts are kept in pasture, upon which are reared the varieties of sheep and cattle for which the county is famous. Dairy farms are numerous, especially in the vicinity of Melton Mowbray, where the well-known Stilton cheese is largely produced. Leicestershire consists mostly of the new red sandstone formation. The coal measures have a total area of ahout 15 square miles, the most productive mines being in the neighbourhood of Ashby de la Zouch. Hosiery is the leading manufacture, the wool employed being that of Leicestershire sheep."
[BARTHOLOMEW's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]
Please see our Archives, Libraries and Museums page.
Farrell, Jerome (1987), "Family Forbears. A guide to tracing your family tree in the Leicestershire Record Office." Leicestershire Museums, Art Galleries and Records Service, paperback, ISBN-13: 978-0850222197.
Cemeteries, list of addresses and phone numbers, choose Cemeteries, then England, then Leicestershire
Hinckley and Bosworth District Council also have a page on cemeteries they maintain.
Cemeteries of the City of Leicester, from Leicestershire and Rutland FHS.
You can e-mail the Burial Board of the City of Leicester, but they won't do blanket searches for you. You must be precise. Or you can phone them at: 0116-252-7382
Our census page for England gives general information.
The 1851 Census for Leicestershire has been indexed by the Leicestershire & Rutland Family History Society. The whole index is available on microfiche. The society has also published 24 volumes in printed form.
At last report (2019), portions of the 1861 census may be missing.
The Society of Genealogists holds copies of a variety of parish registers from Leicestershire churches which can be studied at their library in London.
Details of Quaker Records are set out on a county by county basis on the Quaker Family History Society website. Parts of North Leicestershire are included under Notts. and Derbys.
Ted Wildy's UK Marriage witness index has entries for Leicestershire.
If you are looking for Methodist ancestors, start with a visit to The Methodist Heritage site.
Copies of birth, death and marriage certificates can be obtained from the General Register Office who have an online system for ordering, or from local offices as described below.
The article Local Registry Offices in England and Wales shows the remaining local register offices in the county as;
Leicester - The Register Office, Town Hall, Town Hall Square, Leicester LE1 9BG
Leicestershire - The Register Office, County Hall, Leicester Road, Glenfield, Leicester LE3 8RN
Leicestershire Registration Services have web pages showing how to obtain Copy Certificates required for family history/genealogy.
Leicestershire is included in Graham Jaunay's Online English Names Directory cataloguing the research interests of a number of Internet users.
The UK GenWeb Project maintains a number of pages of interest to Leicestershire Researchers on its web site. These include bulletin boards relating to queries, obituaries, and biographies, there are also links to family histories.
The East Midlands Oral History Archive site has over 550 recordings, and also has An on-line guide to the history of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
British History Online provides an extensive history of the Gartree Hundred, around Market Harborough. This is material from the Victoria County History.
In the Anglo-Saxon period the area was originally in the territory of the Middle Angles and later Mercia. After the Danish invasions it was included in the Danelaw, whose boundary ran on the south-western boundary of the shire.
See separate page on Leicestershire Maps.
The Royal Leicestershire Regiment Museum Collection is within the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, 53 New Walk, Leicester, LE1 7EA. Tel: 0116 225 4900.
Muriel WALKER tells us about Gas Masks that children used to wear:
"Service gas masks (officially called respirators) would be issued with an "anti-dimming" stick, this would be a small metal container, about three inches tall, which contained a cloth and stick.
The cloth would be used for cleaning the inside of the eye pieces, before the application of the stick. The stick is a substance, a bit like Vaseline, and would prevent the eyepieces from steaming up from your breath.
The one I have in front of me says -on the side of the tin:
THIS CAN CONTAINS ANTI-DIMMING STICK FOR GAS MASKS. INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE: WIPE THE INNER SURFACE OF EACH EYEPIECE CLEAN WITH THE SOFT RAG. BREATHE ON THE CLEANED SURFACE AND ON THE ANTI DIMMING STICK TO MOISTEN THEM AND RUB THE STICK TWICE ACROSS THE EYEPIECE. -- AGAIN BREATHE ON THE EYEPIECE AND RUB THE ANTI-DIMMING COMPOSITION EVENLY OVER THE WHILE SURFACE WITH THE TIP OF THE FINGER.
WHEN TO USE THE ANTI-DIMMING STICK: THE COMPOSITION IS TO BE APPLIED TO THE EYEPIECES OF THE GAS MASK, WEEKLY OR AFTER EACH TIME THAT THE MASK HAS BEEN WORN."
Search Leicestershire War Memorials database for men and women who fell in two World Wars.
The Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland (See above) holds copies of the following local papers:-
Leicester Journal 1759 - 1920 Leicester Herald 1792 - 1795
1827 - 1833
Leicester Chronicle 1812 - 1979 Leicestershire Mercury 1836 - 1864 Leicester(shire) Advertiser 1842 to date Leicester Guardian 1857 - 1876
1899 - 1906
Midland Free Press 1858 - 1917 Leicester Daily Post 1872 - 1921 Leicester Mercury 1874 to date Coalville Times 1893 - 1925
The Wigston Framework Knitters Museum, located in an 18 century knitter's home and workshop, contains a number of original hand frames.
The 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act replaced the old system of 'outdoor' relief with a network of workhouses where those requiring support had to reside. Groups of parishes were joined together into unions each of which had its own workhouse. There were eleven poor law unions in Leicestershire. The parishes/places comprising each of the unions ( Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Barrow-upon-Soar, Billesdon, Blaby, Hinckley, Leicester, Loughborough, Lutterworth, Market Bosworth, Market Harborough and Melton Mowbray) are set out on a separate page.
See also a separate advice page re Atherstone PLU which is NOT in Leicestershire (it is in Warwick), but this page is presented to assist those researching their Leicester county roots.
Details of the records of these unions are set out in Gibson & Rogers, "Poor Law Union Records. 2: The Midlands and Northern England" published by the Federation of Family History Societies.
Most records giving details of inmates of the Poor Law Unions in Leicestershire are held at The Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland. Staff lists were held centrally (to prevent discharged employees obtaining a post with another union) and are now held at The National Archives .
Peter Higginbotham's Workhouses Web Site has many pages about the operation of workhouses and the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act.
Guy Etchells has transcribed an extract from White's History, Gazetteer and Directory of the Counties of Leicester and Rutland. 1863 describing the background to the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act and the operation of the Act in Leicestershire.
The Leicestershire & Rutland Family History Society has its own web site providing details of its monthly meetings which are held in Leicester, Loughborough, Market Harborough, Melton Mowbray, Hinckley and Oakham, and its publications.
The Leicestershire Archaeological & Historical Society holds its meetings at the Council Room, New Walk Museum, Princess Road West, Leicester. Contents of the society's publications, the "Leicestershire Historian" and its transactions are listed on its web site, which also has useful links to other local organisations.