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Berkshire Genealogy Resource Locations

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 Berkshire Genealogy Resource Index

This page was last updated by Chad Hanna in May 1998. Some minor changes were incorporated in June 2001 and August 2009.

Archives and Libraries

Berkshire Record Office
Reading Local Studies Library
Maidenhead & Windsor Local Studies Library
Berkshire Family History Society Research Centre
The Reading Family History Centre
Maidenhead Archaeological & Historical Society

Bibliography
Census
Church Records
History
Periodicals
Probate Records
Societies
Registration of Births and Deaths
Registration of Marriages
 
 
Archives and Libraries

Berkshire Record Office
9 Coley Avenue, READING RG1 6AF phone: +44 (0)118 901 5132 fax: +44 (0) 118 901 5131

Provides research services - a fee is charged. The Record Office is housed in a new purpose built building off Castle Hill. It shares its entrance with the Registrar and the Berkshire Family History Society which are housed in Yeomanry House on the same site. There is ample parking. The Record Office is open to the public from 9 am on Tuesday to Friday with late opening until 9 pm on Thursday. It is essential to book in advance and a County Archives Research Network (CARN) card is required, which can be issued given suitable identification.

Visitors are now advised to bring their own sandwiches and drinks, or use a local pub, for lunch.

Reading Local Studies Library
Third Floor, Central Library, Abbey Square, READING, RG1 3BQ. Phone +44 (0) 118 901 5965.

The library is 5 minutes from Train and Bus stations but parking can be tricky in the centre of Reading. The Queen's Road Car Park is usually the most convenient. Amongst other items, the Local Studies Library holds microfilm of the Census Returns for Berkshire and has a good collection of monumental inscriptions, directories and local newspapers (on film).

There are smaller local studies libraries at Newbury, Bracknell, Maidenhead, Wokingham and Slough.

Maidenhead & Windsor Local Studies Library
St Ives Road, Maidenhead, SL6 1QU. Phone +44 (0) 1628 796 979

Berkshire Family History Society Research Centre
Yeomanry House, 131 Castle Hill, READING, RG1 7TJ. Phone +44 (0) 118 950 9553

This opened on 1st March 1995 at Prospect School and moved to its current location in May 2000. It is currently open Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursdays see opening times and location. The library has over 7,000 books which includes a comprehensive collection of 1851 census indexes published by other family history societies. There is reasonable collection of transcripts and local history publications. The Berkshire Name Index is a pot-pourri of 100,000 records referring to Berkshire people.

Maidenhead Archaeological & Historical Society
Trevor Jones, 70 Lambourne Drive, Maidenhead SL6 3HG

The Reading Family History Centre of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
280 The Meadway, Tilehurst, Reading. Phone +44 (0) 118 941 0211.

Closed during August 2009 then reopening between 10am and 4pm on Monday and Tuesday and between 7pm and 9pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Besides the normal resources of the LDS FHCs (e.g. World IGI, Family Search) there are many films of Census Returns and Parish Records, not forgetting the General Register Office Index. You should phone to make an appointment during opening hours.

Bibliography

I am not aware of any modern genealogical bibliographies for Berkshire.

Census

The Berkshire FHS has published name indexes and transcriptions of the entire Berkshire 1851 Census and these are available from the Society on a CD-ROM and on-line at www.findmypast.com. The population of Berkshire was just over 170,000 at the time of the 1851 census with several thousand distinct surnames.

A full index to the 1881 Census has been produced, and can be seen at LDS Family History Centres, the County Local Studies Library and the Berkshire FHS Research Centre.

Church Records

The Archdeaconry of Berkshire was part of the Diocese of Salisbury until 1836 when it was transferred to the Diocese of Oxford. As a result of this, Bishop's Transcripts and items, such as some wills, which came under the jurisdiction of the diocesesan courts are found in the Wiltshire and Swindon Record Office at Chippenham or the Oxford Archives at Oxford. There are several 'peculiar' jurisdictions.

Most Berkshire Parish Registers, but not all, have had their baptisms and marriages extracted into the International Genealogical Index.

A comprehensive listing of Parish Registers, Monumental Inscriptions and transcripts can be found the National Index of Parish Registers Volume 8 Part 1 - Berkshire compiled by Anthony Wilcox and published by the Society of Genealogists.

The records of the Old Poor Law (pre-1834) have been calendared and indexed. The results of the work so far, can be found at the Record Office, at the Berkshire Family History Research Centre and via our bookshop.

More recently, a new project is being started to computerise the Parish Registers, which have almost all been transcribed. This will involve scanning and OCRing existing transcripts and checking them against fiche, film or the original registers.

Ted Wildy has provided a UK Marriage witness index. Details are at www.genuki.org.uk/mwi/.

History

Perhaps the most famous history of Berkshire is included in Volume 1 of Magna Britannia by the Rev. Daniel Lysons and his brother Samuel Lysons, published in 1806 and re-issued in 1813.

A useful modern guide is Oxfordshire and Berkshire, in the series of Ordnance Survey Historical Guides, written by James Bond and Luke Over and published in 1988. It contains a fascinating collection of maps, photographs and text.

A more recent history is A History of Berkshire by Dr. Judith Hunter and published by Phillimore. This 144 page hardback book with 145 black and white illustrations including maps, and 15 more colour illustrations, costs £14.95.

Our Booklist has a number of Books, Publications and Indexes about Berkshire and Books about places in Berkshire(A-G, H-Nand O-Z).

Periodicals

Berkshire Old and New is published annually by the Berkshire Local History Association.

The Berkshire Family Historian is published quarterly by the society.

Probate Records

As Berkshire was an archdeaconry in the diocese of Salisbury in the archdiocese of Canterbury, until it was transferred to the diocese of Oxford in 1836, Wills, Administrations and other probate records (prior to 1858) will found in the Record Office related to the ecclesiastical court where the will was proved. For the arch diaconal court this is Berkshire Record Office in Reading, for the Consistory Court of Salisbury this is the Wiltshire and Swindon Record Office in Chippenham and for the Prerogative Court of Canterbury this is the National Archives at Kew, London (available online).

Unfortunately, for various 'peculiars' the records may be elsewhere, such as the Bodleian Library at Oxford for Langford, Wantage (early), Hungerford, West Ilsley and Shalbourne. Wills for the few inhabitants of Windsor Castle are kept at The Aerary in Windsor Castle.

Registration of Births and Deaths see addresses
Registration of Marriages (Superintendent Registrars) see addresses
Societies

The Berkshire Record Society has published several volumes, including Enclosure in Berkshire 1485-1885, Glebe Terriers, Correspondence of the Foundling Hospital Inspectors in Berkshire, Bershire Overseers' Papers 1654-1834, Newbury Kendrick Workhouse Records 1627-1641, Reading Gild Accounts 1357-1516 (2 volumes, part I and II) and Berkshire Probate Accounts

The Berkshire Family History Society has over 1,800 members, is a member of the Federation of Family History Societies and publishes a quarterly magazine, the Berkshire Family Historian.

The Berkshire Local History Association is an umbrella organisation and publishes an annual magazine, Berkshire Old and New and a newsletter.


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updated 6th August 2009