Research Guides

We have a vast collection of original documents relating to Derbyshire, as well as an extensive local studies collection.   But sometimes this can mean it’s a bit overwhelming to know which are the best records to use and what is the best way to find them.

We have a produced a series of guides to help you navigate these incredible collections, with links to our online catalogue as well as other sites such as The National Archives Discovery catalogue.  Each guide includes suggestions for further reading and guidance, almost all of which is held in our local studies collection.

We will be publishing a new guide every few days throughout the coronavirus lockdown and adding links to each guide below when they are published.  Especially during the lockdown, you may also be interested in the Online Resources guide.

Looking for People

Get started with your family history using records of civil registration, census, church registers (including many online and how to read the Latin entries before 1733) and bishops transcripts, burial and cemetery registers, newspapers and wills.  Take the next steps and discover how to find out about your ancestors education and employment, plus information on records relating to apprenticeship, bastardy, crime and punishment, poor relief and workhouses, hospitals, war service and more.

Some families and individuals have left their own personal archive collections, from large collections for the Gells of Hopton Hall (near Wirksworth) and Harpur Crewes of Calke Abbey to the hundreds of smaller collections for Derbyshire families from all walks of life.  There are also hundreds of biographies and other published materials relating to Derbyshire’s past residents in our local studies collection.

See also our guide to searching for people in the online catalogue.

Looking for Places

Whether you want to learn more about your town or village, get started on the history of house, or discover more with next steps in building history, we have lots of resources from historic maps and building plans to electoral registers and title deeds,  and thousands of old illustrations and photographs which can be seen online via Picture the Past.

Looking for organisations

Explore the archives left by local businesses and industry (including coal mining and lead mining), charities and self-help societies, sports associations, communities and mutual interest societies, local government, the police and courts, workhouses and hospitals, childrens’ homes, churches and religious bodies, schools, manors, estates and more.

Looking for Subjects

Follow the links below for guidance on specific topics: Adoption, Beginners Latin, Coal MiningCoroners, Crime and Policing, Divorce, Lead Mining, Pentrich Rebellion Vehicle Licensing and World War One.

Coming soon: Archaeology, Civil War, Environmental History, Farming History, Handwriting, Health and Medicine, Judaism, the Peak District, Population Statistics, Witchcraft, Women’s Suffrage and World War Two.