Click on the Headings below to find information about resources relating to Northamptonshire. Many have downloadable PDF’s or links to external websites to aid further with your research.
Click here to go to the Northamptonshire Archives website
The three main reference books which are available at the Northampton Archives and Local Studies are:
Bridges – History and Antiquities of Northamptonshire (published in 1790 although the material was gathered earlier)
Baker G – the History and Antiquities of the County of Northampton (published 1823-41)
Victoria County History Series for Northampton (Vols 1-6) Volumes 2 – 5 can be viewed online at British History Online
These books, cover the history of most of the parishes and towns and gives details of the major landowners, churches, charities and schools.
Additionally,there may be parish histories published by local history societies or village organisations. Those not in the Local Studies Section can usually be borrowed through the inter library loan scheme. Click here to go to the Library catalogue search page.
Most records are held by the local authority or parish council. A number have been deposited at the Northamptonshire Archives. Click [here] to view our leaflet on Cemetery Records for Northamptonshire. The Records for Corby, Kettering, Rushden and Wellingborough cemeteries are online at Deceased Online.
Family & Estate Collections
The Northamptonshire Archives has an outstanding collection of family and estate records. As well as records relating to the family, you will also find estate rentals, maps, surveys, household accounts, wage books and occasionally, court rolls and deeds.
Many of the catalogues for these collections can be searched on the Archives on-line catalogue. Click here.
Northamptonshire Archives holds admission records for Northampton General Hospital from its foundation in 1743 along with annual reports and some staff records. They also hold some records for St. Andrew’s Hospital, Northampton which, pre 1876 was the county asylum. The majority of admission and staff records are kept at St. Andrew’s. Click [here] to see our leaflet on what is available.
St Crispin’s Hospital (Berrywood), Northampton was the county asylum from 1876 to its closure in 1995. Historic case books, admissions and medical records are held by Northamptonshire Archives. Click [here] to see our leaflet on what records are available
The county was anciently divided into hundreds which acted as areas of administration until the late 1800’s. The Hundreds were:
Chipping Warden, Cleyley, Corby, Fawsley, Greens Norton, Guilsborough, Hamfordshoe, Higham Ferrers, Huxloe, Kings Sutton, Nobottle Grove, Orlingbury, Polebrook, Rothwell, Spelhoe, Towcester, Willybrook, Wymersley.
The Northamptonshire Studies Collection is at the Central Library in Northampton. Resources include books, pamphlets, maps (both historic and modern), illustrations, parish registers on fiche and census records. It also holds the GRO index to civil registrations of births, deaths and marriages for 1837-1983. Other holdings include c20,000 photographs and over 8,000 prints and engravings of scenes from across the county. There is also a specialist collection of material relating to the economics and history of the footwear industry.
Additionally, the majority of the main libraries in the county towns will have local collections including census, newspapers, local books and information.
For further information click here .
Peterborough Archives and Library has many family history resources including documents, photographs and local history resources covering the north of he county. For further information click here.
Maps and Place Names Index
Museums and Historic Homes
The county’s museums at Kettering, Rushden, Desborough, Rothwell and Wollaston hold items relating to the boot and shoe industry. The Northampton Museum and Art Gallery has galleries dedicated to the history of shoes and a permanent exhibition on the history of Northampton. For further details <click here>.
Northampton Abington Park museum holds military collections relating to the Northamptonshire Regiment and the Northamptonshire Yeomanry. Smaller museums such as Oundle, Earls Barton and Burton Latimer will have much local information such as archives and photographs. Other museums may be more specific such as the Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne, the Harrington Aviation Museum or Rushden Transport Museum.
Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery has exhibitions on the history of the Peterborough area including the Fenlands.
The county is well known for its stately homes. These include Boughton House, Prebendal Manor, Sulgrave (home of the ancestors of George Washington) and Castle Ashby as well as Kelmarsh, Deene, Cottesbrooke and Althorp.
To find out more about Northamptonshire Museums and Historic Homes visit Northamptonshire Heritage Forum
The Mercury was first published in 1720. The Archives has copies on microfilm for 1720 – 1850 but the Central Library has a more comprehensive collection including The Mercury from 1720, the Chronicle & Echo from 1931 and the Northampton Independent from 1905.
The north of the county was covered by the Stamford Mercury (the oldest surviving continually published newspaper) and microfilms of these are held at both Stamford and Peterborough Libraries.
The south of the county was covered by the Brackley Advertiser from 1869 as well as by various Oxfordshire newspapers.
The British Newspaper Library Archive is available online and has digitised searchable copies of The Northampton Mercury (1770-1954), Northants Evening Telegraph (1900-1901) and Stamford Mercury (1714-1910). This is a subscription site or it can be accessed via your local library.
Northamptonshire has a strong history of non-conformity. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries, some of the gentry families such as the Catesbys of Ashby St Ledgers and the Brudenells of Deene continued to practise the ‘old faith’ as Catholics but were heavily penalised. It was only after the Toleration Act of 1689 that non-conformists could worship freely and many of the Baptist and Independent (later Congregational) chapels in the county date from around this time. Records, where they survive, will be found at the local Archives. Click [here] for a detailed leaflet about researching Non-conformists in Northamptonshire
The Society book ‘Sources for Researching Nonconformists in Northamptonshire’ written by Graham Ward, is an informative reference covering non-conformity in the County and is available from our bookstall, Parish Chest and Genfair
Additionally, Graham’s website has a wealth of information about chapels, ministers and other non-conformist records. Click here for the link.
The County’s Anglican parish registers have been digitised and made available online on Ancestry. We have also transcribed many of the registers and these are available on FindMyPast. Our interpretation of the old hand written documents, along with our local knowledge occasionally differs from indexes on Ancestry, so an additional search is often worthwhile.
Microfiche copies of the registers along with many transcriptions and indexes are available at Northamptonshire Archives. They have an almost complete set of Bishop’s transcripts (c1705-1880s) which can be used to fill in the gaps where the registers are not available.
Pedigrees - H I Longden
Over 2,000 pedigrees, mainly of families connected with Northamptonshire, were compiled by Rev Henry Isham Longden and are now deposited at the Northamptonshire Archives.
You are welcome to download the introduction & index to the collection – Click HERE. If you find families of interest in it, you can either order the documents when you visit the Archives or, if you are unable to visit, please enquire (by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org) if digital images of the pedigrees can be sent to you (a fee is payable).
Poor Law Union Workhouses
The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 created 11 Poor Law Unions within the county. These are Brackley, Brixworth, Daventry, Kettering, Northampton, Oundle, Peterborough, Potterspury, Thrapston, Towcester and Wellingborough.
Please click [here] for a detailed leaflet about the surviving records for the Poor Law Unions which are held at Northamptonshire Archives.
Poor Law and Workhouse records, where they survive, are held by the Record Office and details can be found on their website. Click here for the link.
Further information on workhouses can be found by clicking here.
There is an index to other Poor Law records (mainly pre 1834) on the open shelves at the Record Office.
Strays From the Registers
The following links will take you to lists showing “Strays” from Northamptonshire for Baptisms, Marriages and Burials. Strays are people from Northamptonshire whose events took place outside of the county.
Baptism Strays, sorted by surname, forename and showing abode and event place – Baptism Strays
Marriage strays by Groom sorted by surname and forename showing Brides name, Abode and event place – Groom Marriage Strays
Marriage strays by Bride sorted by surname and forename showing Grooms name, Abode and event place – Bride Marriage Strays
Burial Strays, sorted by surname, forename and showing abode and event place – Burial Strays
Will and Probate Records
These records fall naturally into 4 main groups:
• Records of the Archdeaconry of Northampton from 1469
• Records of the Consistory Court of Peterborough from 1541
• Records of Northampton Court of Probate and Registry from 1858
• Records of the Peterborough Court of Probate and Registry from 1858
These will be found at Northamptonshire Record Office and full details of the extent of the records held can be found on their website, here.
Visiting the County
If you are interested in visiting the county then the website NorthamptonshireSurprise has masses of information including visitor guides, accommodation listings, details of local events and more. Other items can be followed on their Facebook Page.