Manuscripts and Special Collections

Nottinghamshire's People: Ancestral Stories from the Archives

This exhibition ran between the 7 June and 1 September 2013, and was jointly curated by staff from Nottinghamshire Archives and Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham.

Tracing ancestors has proved a fascinating challenge for generations. Some researchers have sought evidence to establish a claim to a title, but increasing numbers pursue family history as a hobby, and want to know more about the lives and times of their forebears. Publications and television programmes such as 'Who Do You Think You Are?' show how a family’s past experience can powerfully resonate with an individual’s life today. Whether your ancestors were humble agricultural labourers, local dignitaries or incorrigible criminals, they all have a story to tell.

Family historians today can draw on rich internet resources, but ‘Nottinghamshire’s People: Ancestral Stories from the Archives’ showcased the original documents that provide the evidence for ancestral research. Through church records, private papers, maps, wills and many other sources, it uncovered the rich world that lies beyond the indexes of census and birth, marriage and death records.

Exhibition Boards

Unfortunately it is not possible to display representations of the original archive material which featured in the exhibition cases, some of which was generously loaned to us by Nottinghamshire Archives and Jenni Dobson and her family.

The seven boards which were displayed in the Weston Gallery are available here in PDF format. Most were 'case studies' of notable Nottinghamshire residents, showing the range of documents that could be used to build up a picture of a person's life. The final board explored what resources are not available to researchers online.

  • Finding Nottinghamshire’s People: Tracing your Story in the Archives
  • Lucy Hutchinson (1620—1681); seventeenth-century biographer and poet
  • Mary Howitt (1799—1888); a writer and her family
  • George Africanus (1763—1834); slave, freeman and Nottingham citizen
  • William Mompesson (1639—1709); a clerical life
  • The Pelham-Clinton Dukes of Newcastle (1639—1709); an aristocratic lineage
  • Beyond the Internet

Lunchtime Talks

Audio and slides for the series of lunchtime talks that accompanied the exhibition. Many talks are given by external speakers and some recordings may not be available due to copyright and other reasons.

Students, Sinners & Surveys

Kathryn Steenson, Assistant Archivist, Manuscripts and Special Collections discusses the range of family history resources available to family historians, in particular the University Archives, Archdeaconry Court records, and Estate Collections. Recorded 9 July 2013.

Weaving My Family Tapestry

Former adult-education teacher and enthusiastic genealogist Jenni Dobson explores the threads of her own family history beyond birth, marriage and death registers. Recorded 3 July 2013.  





Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4565
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