Manuscripts and Special Collections

Further reading

In recent years a wide range of guides to using original records have been published, many with a focus on researching family or local history. The world of archives is a fast-changing one, and details of addresses, telephone numbers and websites can quickly become out of date. Most of the most useful and popular guides are regularly updated, so make sure you are using the latest edition.

This bibliography includes classmarks of copies of the books held by the University of Nottingham library. Most are reference only, but some can be borrowed by library members. You can search the University of Nottingham Library Catalogue (NUsearch) to find more publications.


Where to find record offices

  • J. Foster and J. Sheppard. British Archives: A Guide to Archive Resources in the UK, 4th edn (London, 2002)
    • Hallward Library 4/Ref CD1042.F6 and King’s Meadow Campus Ref CD1042.F6. Also available to University of Nottingham library members as an electronic resource
  • Jeremy Gibson and Pamela Peskett. Record offices : how to find them, 9th edn (Bury, 2002).
    • Hallward Library 4/Ref CS434.G4
  • Ian Mortimer, Record repositories in Great Britain, 11th edn (Kew, 1999)
    • Hallward Library 4/Ref DA9.H4 and King’s Meadow Campus Ref DA9.H4
  • Lesley Richmond and Alison Turton, Directory of corporate archives : a guide to British business which maintain archive facilities (London, 1997)
    • King’s Meadow Campus Ref HD2713.D4
  • Iain Walker (ed). The libraries directory : a guide to the libraries and archives of the United Kingdom and Ireland, 49th edn (Cambridge, 2004)
    • Available to University of Nottingham library members as an electronic resource


General guides to using archives for research

  • R.J. Olney. Manuscript Sources for British History (London, 1995)
    • This booklet is now available online
  • F.G. Emmison and W.J. Smith. Material for theses in local record offices and libraries, 2nd edn (London, 1979)
    • King’s Meadow Campus Ref D8.H3.H87
  • David Iredale. Enjoying archives : what they are, where to find them, how to use them (Newton Abbot, 1973)
    • DLRC, Jubilee Campus LB1603.I7
  • Philip C. Brooks. Research in archives : the use of unpublished primary sources (Chicago, 1969)
    • Hallward Library D16.B7


Subject-based guides to using archives for research

There are hundreds of books available giving advice on using particular types of record, or researching a particular type of history (family history, local history, house history, etc.). In addition, The National Archives has produced a wide range of leaflets and research guides, available at its offices at Kew and also online.

The following are four examples of series of research guides which aim to cover a wide range of topics.

Guides to Sources for British History, published by the Historical Manuscripts Commission [Hallward Library DA9.H4/12, and King’s Meadow Campus Ref DA9.H4]:

  • Papers of British antiquaries and historians (2003)
  • Principal family and estate collections. Family names (1996-1999)
  • Records of British business and industry 1760-1914. Metal processing and engineering (1994)
  • Records of British business and industry, 1760-1914. Textiles and leather (1990)
  • Papers of British politicians 1782-1900 (1989)
  • Papers of British churchmen 1780-1940 (1987)
  • Private papers of British colonial governors 1782-1900 (1986)
  • Private papers of British diplomats 1782-1900 (1984)
  • The manuscript papers of British scientists 1600-1940 (1982)
  • Papers of British Cabinet ministers 1782-1900 (1982)

Guides for genealogists, family and local historians, written by Jeremy Gibson and collaborators, published by the Federation of Family History Societies [Hallward Library 4/Ref CS434.G4, Hallward Library 4/Ref CD1026.A2.G4, and King’s Meadow Campus Ref CS434.G4]:

  • The Protestation Returns 1641-42 and other listings ( 2nd edn, 2004)
  • Militia Lists and Musters, 1757-1876 (4th edn, 2004)
  • Land and Window Tax Assessments, 1690-1950 (updated 2nd edn, 2004)
  • Probate Jurisdictions: Where to Look for Wills (5th edn, 2002)
  • Local Newspapers, 1750-1920: A Select Location List (2nd edn, 2002)
  • Bishops' Transcripts and Marriage Licences, Bonds and Allegations: A Guide to their Location and Indexes (5th edn, 2001)
  • Marriage, Census and Other Indexes for Family Historians (8th edn, 2000)
  • Lists of Londoners (3rd edn, 1999)
  • Local Census Listings, 1522-1930: Holdings in the British Isles (3rd edn, 1997)
  • Coroners' Records in England and Wales (2nd edn, 1997)
  • Victuallers' Licences: Records for Family and Local Historians (2nd edn, 1997)
  • The Hearth Tax, Other Later Stuart Tax Lists and the Association Oath Rolls (2nd edn, 1996)
  • Quarter Sessions Records for Family Historians (4th edn, 1995)
  • Poll Books, c.1695-1872: A Directory to holdings in Great Britain (3rd edn, 1994)
  • Census Returns 1841-1891 in Microform: A Directory to Local Holdings in Great Britain (6th edn, 1994)
  • Poor Law Union Records, 1834-1930 (in four parts, various edns, 1993-2005)
  • Tudor and Stuart Muster Rolls (1989)

Publications by Colin R. Chapman [King’s Meadow Campus Ref CS434.C4]. Including:

  • Basic facts about using education records (1999)
  • Tracing your British ancestors (revised 2nd edn, 1999)
  • Pre-1841 censuses & population listings in the British Isles (5th edn, 1998)
  • Sin, sex and probate : ecclesiastical courts, officials & records (2nd edn, 1997)
  • An introduction to using newspapers and periodicals (revised edn, 1996)
  • Marriage laws, rites, records & customs : was your ancestor really married? (1996)
  • L. M. Munby (ed). Short guides to records. First series - guides 1-24. New edn (London, 1994). King’s Meadow Campus Ref D8.H4.S1
  • K.M. Thompson (ed). Short guides to records. Second series - guides 25-48 (London, 1997). King’s Meadow Campus Ref D8.H4.S25


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Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4565
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