Visit the Centre for Heritage and Family History

Berkshire Family History Society has established The Centre for Heritage and Family History on the second floor of Reading Central Library.

The Centre for Heritage and Family History delivers a great new space for society members and the public to use and to enjoy. It offers a lively meeting place, the best facility for family history research in the county, and a friendly focal point for everyone with an interest in heritage and history — including family history, local history and social history.

0118 950 9553 (during opening hours)

General queries  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Location Map (updated)

OPEN to ALL and most of its resources are FREE to USE — you don't have to be a society member (but you could become one!).

The Centre is run entirely by volunteers who give their time to provide research help and advice for you when needed. Usually, at least two people are on duty at any time.

Have a look at events taking place at The Centre in coming weeks.

Research Zone with FREE online resources

The new research area has bigger work surfaces, upgraded computer equipment and screens, and room to plug in a laptop and spread out your material — without encroaching on other people's space. FREE OF CHARGE ACCESS to:

Findmypast — a key resource for UK research, with some of the society's Berkshire parish register transcriptions online too

The 1939 Register an important resource for 20th century research, with a further 60,000+ previously closed records now accessible

The British Newspaper Archive — an online partnership between the British Library and Findmypast that aims to digitise up to 40 million newspaper pages, and the total now exceeds 29 million (from around 800 titles)

The Genealogist — an online resource of growing importance, which contains datasets not offered by other online publishers - searchable Tithe maps and schedules, and the 1910-1915 Lloyd-George 'Domesday' records are examples.

Ancestry Worldwide Edition — datasets from the UK, Ireland, Europe, USA, Canada, Australia  and New Zealand — with this version you can research not just nationally, but internationally too

Berkshire Name Index — a master index of over 2 million Berkshire people recorded in the society's datasets

At The Centre, you can also:

  • Join the society — or purchase a Gift Membership for a friend or family member
  • View and buy society (and other) publications from the Bookshop — CDs, books, maps (cash, credit/debit card payments accepted)

  • Book your places for talks, courses, workshops and other events
  • Get a cup of tea or coffee — research can be thirsty work

  • Store your possessions safely — there are lockers for your personal effects (bags/cases not allowed in research areas)

  • (also in Reading, but outside the town centre, is Berkshire Record Office — where you can access original documents of the Royal County, most of which are NOT accessible online.)

Society library

This has thousands of items, including Trade Directories from the early 19th century onwards. A substantial proportion of holdings are unrelated to Berkshire.

Magazines including over 40 years of issues of the Berkshire Family Historian and those from some other organisations.

Getting to The Centre for Heritage and Family History

Train to Reading station, from where The Centre is a short 10 minute walk.

Park and Ride All Park and Ride Buses stop in Market Place, just a couple of minutes walk away from Reading Library.

Local Bus Many bus services operated by Reading Buses and other operators stop nearby too.

See the Reading Buses website for the up to date timetable and service details.

Drive You can drive into Reading, but using the Park and Ride services will always be a cheaper option than paying for long-stay daytime parking in the town centre.

For Blue badge holders there are spaces right outside the library in King's Road (maximum stay four hours) and the library lift can take you to the 2nd floor.

Parking Reading has seven main car parks. Queen's Road — a four minute walk away — is the nearest to The Centre (put RG1 4AR in the sat-nav). It is open 24 hours a day and you pay on exit (unless booked in advance, which lessens the charge). There are two integral car parks nearby at The Oracle shopping and leisure complex too.

For accommodation in Reading —  this site may be helpful


Page last reviewed and revised 3rd December 2018

Additional information