Tracing your ancestors

Benefits of joining Berkshire Family History Society

The society provides help and advice for every family historian living in the local area, whether or not they have Berkshire ancestors and it is the obvious society to join for anyone with forebears who came from pre-1974 Berkshire.

New members receive a Members' Handbook that, like this website,  gives you information, not only on all of the society's resources (like its Research Centre in Reading -see next page) but also more general advice on finding and using other records throughout the country.

If you are new to research, you can also get the help and advice needed to make a positive and successful start in tracing your ancestors.

The society publishes a quarterly journal, the Berkshire Family Historian. Here you can publish your research interests and questions (free of charge), an extremely popular option. The journal also keeps members up to date on developments in family history, not just in Berkshire, but across the country. There is an online Discussion List for members too, where you can ask questions and draw on the collective expertise of other society members. It can also deliver all the news and hot topics to your desk on a daily basis.

Members (and visitors) are always welcome at any of the society Branch meetings held each month in Abingdon, Bracknell, Newbury, Reading, Woodley and Windsor where expert speakers in their field cover a wide range of general family history topics and all those attending can share their experiences. Several branches have reference libraries from which members can borrow books and other publications.

See branch details and benefits of membership

A key aim of the society is to help in the preservation of local records. Indexing of parish and other records is an ongoing process. Key publications on CD include Berkshire Baptisms, Berkshire Marriages and Berkshire Burials and many individual parish registers, and transcriptions and photographs (in many cases) of monumental inscriptions. There are CDs covering Berkshire's War Memorials and Berkshire and the War (First World War) too.

Other completed and published projects include the Berkshire Probate Index —  an index to the Probate Records of the Archdeaconry of Berkshire (1480 to 1857), a full transcription of the 1851 Census for Berkshire, with details of some 178,000 inhabitants, a calendar of Berkshire's surviving pre-1834 Poor Law records and an index to Berkshire Coroners' records.


Additional information