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Family history

Just beginning?

If you’re visiting us, you can talk to members of Shropshire Family History Society at their advice desk on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays(10am-1pm).

If you aren’t able to visit in person, take a look at our Research Services and commission our researcher to do work for you.

The BBC website has a really useful guide to beginning your family history.

The National Archives website also includes many guides and useful links for genealogists.

Birth, marriage and death certificates

The system of civil registration of births, marriages and deaths began in 1837.

We don’t hold birth, marriage or death certificates, although we do have an index, 1837-1980, on microfiche. We also have the library editions of the Ancestry and Find My Past websites on computers. Both these sites have searchable versions of the index.

You can purchase copy certificates from the Shropshire Registration Service. Remember that there is a separate Register Office for Telford and Wrekin.

There’s a very helpful list of Shropshire registration districts complied by Brett Langston, which shows the parishes in each district.

Parish and non-conformist registers

If you’re looking for ancestors before 1837 the parish or non-conformist registers of baptism, marriage and burial will be a key source.

Census returns

Census returns can be very useful as they list all inhabitants of the house on census night, together with ages and places of birth.

Other sources

For guidance on parish registers, school records, pedigrees, newspapers, records of poor relief, records of servants etc, take a look at our sources page.

If you’ve got beyond the basics and want to use sources such as accounts and taxation records, then it’s well worth buying a copy of our A-Z of family history sources. This is available online from our shop.

Online information

You can search our online catalogue for names of individuals – you may find them mentioned in property deeds or listed as recipients of poor relief prior to 1834. Increasingly you will find information on the Ancestry and Find My Past websites.

My family doesn’t come from Shropshire – can you help me?

Although most of our information relates to Shropshire, we do have some material for nearby counties and have free access to the Ancestry and Find My Past websites.