Manuscripts and Special Collections

Searching the Catalogues

Researchers wishing to search online for details of nonconformist church archives may find the following information and advice useful.  


Collection Level Descriptions

The Manuscripts Online Catalogue contains overall descriptions of each nonconformist collection. They can be accessed directly from the opening search screen of the Manuscripts Online Catalogue by clicking on the drop-down menu at the bottom left of the screen which reads 'Find top-level records by collection type'. Select 'Religious records' and then click 'Go'. This will retrieve a full list of all the collections in question. Alternatively, they can be browsed from the links in the Collections at The University of Nottingham page in this web resource. 


Item level catalogues

All of the nonconformist church collections have been catalogued in detail, giving descriptions of each individual item or bundle within the collection. These descriptions are available as part of the Manuscripts Online Catalogue.

Collections relating to nonconformist organizations and institutions have usually not been catalogued at item level, but all the information to help researchers identify relevant material can be found in the collection level description.

Item descriptions can be retrieved by searching for the collection's reference number. For instance, in the Search Catalogues form in the Manuscripts Online Catalogue, type 'CU' into the 'Document Ref' field to retrieve all records from the Castle Gate Congregational Church collection.

Alternatively, the whole scope of the collection can be browsed. Click the 'View collection tree' link in the collection-level description. Wherever you see 'View Record', click on it to reveal more information. Alternatively, use the search strategies listed in the next section below to retrieve results from across a number of catalogues.   


We have extracts of baptism, marriage and burial registers transcribed from six nonconformist churches and available in PDF format. These records are subject to a 100-year closure period under the Data Protection Act, so the most recent entries will not be included in the index.

Please see the church’s individual pages for further details and to browse the transcriptions:

Search strategies

From the opening search screen of the Manuscripts Online Catalogue, click on 'Search the main catalogue - Catalogue records'. You can conduct a free text search across multiple fields by typing a keyword into the 'AnyText' box.

If you find you are retrieving a number of false hits, you can narrow your search down by using the other search options. For instance, type your required search term into the 'AnyText' box, and also type 'AU' into the 'DocumentRef' box. This will ensure that only results from the St Andrew's Presbyterian Church collection are retrieved.

Searches can also be narrowed down by date. Type your required search term into 'AnyText', and also type the exact year, or a range of years, into the 'Date' field. You can even combine this with a 'DocumentRef' search to target the search still further. 

Remember to try alternative spellings if there are no initial results. 


Next page: Timeline 

Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4565
fax: +44 (0) 115 846 8651