A guide to our new Names and Places Search options

In April 2022, we introduced two new elements to our online catalogue – a Name and a Place Search.

About the Place Search

Contains key information about all Derbyshire townships and parishes as well as various other places in the UK and across the world that are mentioned in the archive and local studies collections. The ultimate aim of this search is to act as an index to all the catalogue entries. For now it is a really useful tool for finding out key information about a place that could help you find the right archives to consult; for example, which local authority was responsible for Heage in 1906? – find out using the Place Search.

Catalogue Coverage

A good number of local studies catalogue entries and the majority the archive collection descriptions include a link to the relevant entry/entries in the Places database. It will be several years before all the entries are linked to the Places database.

What the Places database tells you

Although very few archive entries are indexed in the Places database, the most useful aspect about this database is that it gives key information about all Derbyshire townships and parishes that can be used to identify the correct archive collection to search. For example, if you are looking for pre-1974 building plans you will need to know which local authority was responsible for the location you are interested in.

For Derbyshire townships and parishes, the following information is provided:

  • Place Name, including township and civil parish
  • Hundred – an administrative division within a county, dating from at least the Anglo-Saxon period
  • Registration district/s since 1837 – indicating which district a birth, marriage or death would be registered in, as well as being an indication of the Poor Law Union district
  • Electoral districts 1832-1999 – Derbyshire is currently divided into 10 of electoral districts, the oldest of which dates from 1832, others only from 1983, with individual places changing district up to six times  
  • Local authority – name of the post-1974 district/borough council covering a particular area, as well as the pre-1974 authority, and where applicable the pre-1894 local authority
  • Petty Sessional division – Petty Sessions, subsequently called Magistrates’ Courts, are minor courts presided over by Justices of the Peace
  • County Court division – since 1846, County Courts have been primarily concerned with civil cases relating to debt and bankruptcy
  • UK National Grid reference – the 1 square km reference is given for townships. More specific grid references are rarely used.

Searching the Places database

To search the database, select ‘Place Search’ from the Search menu:

The Places database can be searched by Place Name, county, country and (for Derbyshire townships and parishes only) the UK National Grid reference. The Search also offers options to see a list of the Derbyshire places covered by each of the various types of administrative divisions outlined above.

About the Name Search

The Names database contains brief biographical information for over 8000 Derbyshire people, families and organisations represented in the archives and local studies collections. The ultimate aim of the Names database is to act as an index to the catalogue entries, rather than to the books and records themselves. This means that it will ultimately link to all catalogue entries relating to, for example, Glossop Borough Council or notable individuals such as Charles Ollivierre, but it won’t include the names of everyone listed in a church baptism register.

When it was launched, the local studies catalogue entries contained links to the Names database where appropriate, but just 1% of the archive catalogue entries did. We are working to increase the number and quality of the entries as well as the number of linked catalogue entries, but this is likely to be a very long process.

Searching the Names database

To search the database, select ‘Name Search’ from the Search menu.

The Any Text option will search all the fields in the Names database, including name, place, epithet (a brief description of the person, family or organisation) and any biographical description we have written.

Use Organisation Name if you are looking for a business, society, local authority, religious site, school, etc.

Use Surname to search for a family or individual. Narrow the search by entering forename in the Any Text field.

The search can also be narrowed by Date, i.e. the date the person was alive or that the organisation was in existence.

Use the appropriate Place option to search for people, families or organisations by location.

At least one field must be completed, but two or more can be completed for the same search. If you can’t find what you are looking for, reduce the number of fields being searched.


Text can be entered in more than one field, but the results will only include entries where both fields contain the text being searched for. To search for text in one field or another, two separate searches will be required, or use only the ‘with at least one of the words’ option under Any Text.

Search Results

For entries relating to individuals or families, the results include the Surname, Forename (individuals only), dates they were alive or active, an epithet and the key place they are connected to. For organisations the results usually begin with the place the organisation was based, followed by the organisation name, dates of existence and an epithet.

Click an entry in the list and it will usually give a little more detailed information, such as a biography and links to relevant entries in the catalogue. Similarly, entries in the catalogue will include a link back to the Names database.

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