"WARWICKSHIRE, a county in the west-midlands of England; bounded N. by Staffordshire, Derbyshire, and Leicestershire, E. by Northamptonshire, S. by Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, and W. by Worcestershire; greatest length, N. and S., 52 miles; greatest breadth, E. and W., 32 miles; area, 566,271 acres, population 737,339. Warwickshire presents a pleasant undulating surface of hill and dale, watered by the Avon, Leam, and Tame. The climate is mild and healthy, and the soil, except some cold stiff clays on the higher grounds, is fertile. It consists chiefly of a strong red loam adapted for wheat and beans, or a sandy loam for barley and turnips. Much land is kept in permanent pasture for grazing. Formerly the county was thickly wooded (that part N. of the Avon being called the Forest of Arden), and fine timber is still abundant. Geologically it mainly belongs to the secondary formation. A coal field, 16 miles by 3 miles, extends from the neighbourhood of Coventry to the border of Staffordshire, E. of Tamworth. The principal minerals are coal, ironstone, limestone, freestone, blue flagstone, and fire-clay. The manufactures are carried on chiefly at Birmingham (hardware and silk goods) and Coventry (watches and ribbons). There are mineral springs at Leamington, Stratford on Avon, Ilmington, Southam, Willoughby, King's Newnham, &c.; The county is traversed in all directions by canals and railways."
[Extract from Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]
Whilst Libraries may have a small amount of original material they contain mainly published material, including fiche or microfilm of census.
Original sources, particularly Parish Registers, will have been deposited at Record Offices. County Record Offices are often also the Diocesan Record Office, as is the case with Warwickshire. The Birmingham, Deritend, Edgbaston and Erdington registers are at Birmingham Central Library, those for Stratford-upon-Avon (or Old Stratford) are at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and those for some parishes which are on the county boundary may be found in the neighbouring County Record Office.
Lichfield Record Office (formerly Lichfield Joint Record Office), The Friary, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS13 6QG. Telephone: (+44) 1543 510771 (note: Lichfield is where Wills for much of Warwickshire were likely to have been proved pre 1852)
A help page for family historians researching life on the canals may be found at the London Canal Museum.
Note on using IGI Batch Numbers:
It is not always easy to locate your ancestors in the IGI using the search mechanisms provided at the above LDS site. Manually typing the batch numbers into the IGI search screen can be tedious. Hugh Wallis has made an exhaustive search of the likely ranges of batch numbers and created a database of those numbers and the source records that they apply to. A very powerful feature included is a hotlink from each batch number to the actual search engine provided at the Family Search site, including the ability to enter the surname you are looking for. This makes it very easy to search all the batches for a particular geographic location using just the last name you are searching for - something that is not possible directly from the LDS site without doing a lot of typing. This is Hugh Wallis's site.
The Society of Genealogists web site has a database containg details of their holdings of Parish Register Copies for Warwickshire. Searching for "Warwickshire Parish Registers" and then clicking the link to "WARWICKSHIRE - REGISTERS" will produce a list of all parishes for which records are held and the dates for each type of record.
Civil Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths in England and Wales began on July 1st 1837. Copies of certificates may be obtained from either the General Register Office (GRO), or from a Superintendent's Registrar's Office of the District at which the event was first registered. If the District no longer exists, this would be the Office to which its registers have been moved.
Obtaining a certificate from a Superintendent Registrar's Office.
The original records of events, completed by the Registrar of the time, have always been retained by the District Registrar. In Warwickshire, these records are currently held in seven different locations within the county, and in the past an application would be made to the Superintendent Registrar at one of these locations to search the local indexes he or she holds to the registers, and produce a certificated copy from the original record of the event. However in recent years, volunteers have been transcribing these records, and Warwickshire County Council Registration Service now offer the facility to search an index to the records online, and to obtain copies directly.
The details required for such a request are name and surname, the event type (ie birth, marriage or death), and the year the event took place, and a search will be made of 5 years either side of that year, if an entry for that year isn't found. For more details of this service see Warwickshire Registration Services online. The cost of a certificate obtained this way is £9.00.
There is an equivalent site for the West Midlands BMD Indexes, covering the registration districts of Stourbridge, Dudley, West Bromwich and Walsall.
Certificates from the GRO are issued from copies of the original records; however there is considerable advantage in being able to search indexes to the whole country in one place, so many people prefer to do this, rather than risk a protracted search locally. The first step is to obtain a GRO reference to the event. You can then order certificates online via the Certificate Ordering Service of the General Register Office website. From 6th April 2010, the cost of a certificate obtained this way is £9.25.
You can obtain a GRO reference in several ways:-
Searching microfilm or fiche at a Library or LDS Family History Centre.
FreeBMD is an ongoing project to make the General Register Office (GRO) Indexes freely available online. More volunteers are needed and details of how you can help are available on-site.
findmypast.co.uk (formerly 1837online) - images of the complete BMD indexes from the GRO online. Fee payable
The images are also available on Ancestry.co.uk for which a subscription provides access to a wide range of other records.
Obtaining a certificate for a recent event
The cost of a certificates issued at the time of registration of a current birth, death or marriage is £3.50 for each copy.
After registration (for instance, the following day) the cost is £7.00, providing the register is still current (within 28 days of the last entry in the register)
After a registration book is complete, 28 days later, the register is deposited with the Superintendent Registrar of the district. Until 2006, this was one of the district offices referred to above, but since 2006, there has been just one district for the whole of Warwickshire, and the place to apply to is the Register Office is in Cheltenham. From that point onwards, certificates will cost the same as any 'old' certificate obtained locally - £9.00.
The transcription of the section for Miscellaneous Descriptions from the National Gazetteer (1868) provided by Colin Hinson. Included here are the descriptions of major topological features (rivers, hills &c.) and a descriptions of the county hundred divisions.
The Midlands Historical Data project produces searchable facsimile copies of old local history books and directories of interest to genealogists. It specialises in the three counties of Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Staffordshire, working closely with libraries, archives and family history societies in the area. Digital images are made freely available to participating organisations to improve public access. Free search index on its web-site to all its books.
The On-line Parish Clerk (OPC) Project aims to encourage volunteers to collect information relating to parish or parishes of interest, and make it available online, either by webpage or database. OPCs aim to transcribe parish records, census and any other local history information that would be useful to a family historian; however as it takes time to transcribe and accumulate this material, the amount of information available will vary.
This project is providing a "free-to-view" transcription of the 1891 Warwickshire census returns. It is part of an initiative aimed at helping make high quality primary (or near-primary) records of relevance to UK family history conveniently and freely available online.
The project makes use of specially developed software modules for data entry, checking, validation and database upload.
Volunteers need a computer and access to a microfiche reader. Microfiche, software, instructions and lots of advice will be supplied by the organisers. There is also a dedicated mailing list to ask questions on and to receive advice about changes or upgrades to the software
There are two phases. In the first, one volunteer transcribes a census piece, then uploads it to the county coordinator. In the second phase, another volunteer checks the transcriptions against the microfiche using a separate piece of software.
By 7 November 2002, over 120,000 records for Aston and Birmingham were online. The project was subsequently expanded to cover north east Warwickshire, including Coventry and Rugby.
This project will help not just ourselves and others who are researching Warwickshire family history now, but build a resource that will help future family historians.
Online family historians can participate no matter where they live. If you believe, as we do, that this information should be available for free and freely available, then please contact the coordinator.
English Heritage Viewfinder - site with historic photographs, searchable by county. Has some unusual ones of the Industrial Age which won't be found amongst the more usual postcard collections!.
The Francis Frith Collection - a collection of over 700,000 photographs of the UK, Europe and the Middle East taken by the Victorian photographer Francis Frith.
A Vision of Britain Through Time - information about your home area from the 2001 census, and from each British census back to 1801. Presented both as maps of the whole country and as graphs showing change over time.
A digital library of medieval and modern sources of the history of the British Isles - British History Online. Notable sources include Journals of the House of Commons and House of Lords, Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae, and the Victoria County History. Added 10 Mar 2009.
An Encyclopaedia of British History: 1700-1950 - useful for seeing local events against a national perspective. Scroll down the introductory page on this site to see topics - Monarchy, Child Labour, The Railways, &c. Added 10 Mar 2009.
The Domesday Book Online "to enable visitors to find out the history of the Domesday Book and to give an insight into life at the time of its compilation". Note this site does not provide the original text, but does include a list settlements existing in 1086.
Mike Durtnall is providing a country-wide collection of Historical Manuscripts Pages recording details of deeds that have been offered for sale on eBay and in auction catalogues. In most cases whereabouts of the documents will be unknown, but sufficient details of the property involved and of buyers, sellers, mortages, &c. is provided to make them a useful research tool. Added 10 Mar 2009.
Pat Johnson has a large collection of original Family Deeds. Abstracts, with name and parish indexes are provided onsite, with transcriptions of the full documents available for a modest fee. In addtion, the original deed may also be available for purchase if required. Added 19 Sep 2007.
British History Online - Ordnance Survey 1:10,560 Maps - The County Series of Ordnance Survey maps for Great Britain. Begun in 1840, this is the first comprehensive historic mapping of England, Scotland and Wales.
The Old Maps web site has a wonderful series of 1:10,560 scale historical maps for the whole of the UK available on-line.
The above Genmaps Links pages lists Great Britain - Medieval Maps, which in turn provides several maps including an intriguing Ecclesiastical Map of the British Isles in the Middle Ages, which shows the principal Monasteries, demonstrating some of the earliest centres of habitation and influence.
Detailed Maps of the area you may be interested in Warwickshire are viewable at the UK Street Map Page. The site provides a most useful service, with superb address searching and street map facilities for anywhere in mainland Great Britain.
Medical Heritage of Great Britain, a site produced by the Bath & Wessex Medical History Group, providing detailed information on a county level of the history of medical treatments, and locations of some associated buildings.
Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section: Indexes to parish returns towards the rebuilding of St Paul's Cathedral, ca.1678, with their Library Reference numbers. The returns themselves, which need to be consulted by personal visit, promise to be useful, as a record of those individuals who contributed, and in a number of instances those who did not. A number of the returns indicate status of the contributors, e.g. widow, or servant.
The Newspaper Library at Colindale - latest information (October 2013) is that the BL is going to close Colindale, north London, in November 2013, moving the newspaper collection to a purpose-built Newspaper Storage Building (NSB) in Boston Spa, West Yorkshire. Newspapers will be viewable on film only at the British Library in a special reading room that is due to open in February 2014. A facility to order copies of newspapers that have not yet been digitised, on 48 hours notice, is planned from some date later in 2014. See the British Library's Newspaper Moves and Digitisation Project for up-to-date details of the changes.
Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs to 1516 was compiled by Dr Samantha Letters at the Centre for Metropolitan History, and is organised by county. It includes a brief summary of the early history of many large and small places, with details of markets and fairs and the people granted the right to hold them.