This page was last updated by Chad Hanna in May 1998.
Some minor changes were incorporated in June 2001 and August 2009.
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.
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
Family History Society Research Centre
Yeomanry House, 131 Castle Hill, READING, RG1 7TJ. Phone +44 (0) 118
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
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.
I am not aware of any modern genealogical bibliographies for
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
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
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/.
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
Berkshire and Books
about places in Berkshire(A-G,
Berkshire Old and New is published annually by the
Berkshire Local History Association.
The Berkshire Family Historian is published
quarterly by the society.
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.
of Births and Deaths see
of Marriages (Superintendent
Registrars) see addresses
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
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.