"Nottinghamshire, Nottingham, or Notts, north-midland county of England, bounded N. by Yorkshire, E. by Lincolnshire, S. by Leicestershire, and W. by Derbyshire; greatest length, N. to S., about 50 miles; greatest breadth, E. to W., about 25 miles; area, 527,752 acres, population 391,815. ... The soil is varied, but cannot be spoken of as being highly productive. Green crops are the principal growth, and the common cereals are cultivated. Hop plantations are numerous, while in proximity to Nottingham and Newark there are many market gardens. Magnesian limestone and old red sandstone overlying coal prevail in the W.; in the other districts are formations of marl, new red sandstone, and lias, with quartz and gravel in the Forest. In a few places coal is worked. The principal manufactures are laces of various descriptions, in recent years a great development being apparent in the production of lace curtains. Hosiery manufacturers, woollen mills, cotton mills, and iron foundries are also actively productive. Nottinghamshire comprises 6 wapentakes, 273 pars. with parts of 5 others, the parliamentary and municipal borough of Nottingham (3 members), and the municipal borough of East Retford and Newark. It is almost entirely in the diocese of Southwell."
[BARTHOLOMEW's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]


Archives & Libraries

For most archives you will need 2 passport-sized photos with you for your ID (Reader Card or Reader Ticket) and something with a signature on it, like a cheque card, credit card or passport. A Reader Ticket may be good for several years. Nottingham Archives are now using the CARN system (County Archives Research Network) for reader cards, but many do it the old-fashioned way. Once you have a CARN card, it can be used in any of the record offices that use CARN.

You may want to pick up the Archive booklet: "Nottinghamshire Parish and Denominational Registers, A Finding List," ISBN 0 900943 97 1. The information is minimal in detail, but it is a good place to start learning about what is in the archives.



Griffin, Emma, Liberty's Dawn: A people's history of the Industrial Revolution, Yale University Press, 2014, paperback. ISBN 978-0-300-20525-1.



Due to size, this information has been moved to our Census Page.


Church Records


Civil Registration

Certificates of birth, death and marriage can be obtained from the Superintendent Registrars at the various District Register Offices:

To determine which Register Office is appropriate for various places in the county, these pages may be of assistance


Correctional Institutions

It's true that many of our ancestors were convicted of crimes that got them transported to Australia or to prisons outside of Nottinghamshire.

Brian BINNS tells us (in 2016) that his 5 x great grandmother, Martha BINNS, was transported to "The American Colonies" for 7 years in 1775 after being found guilty of a felony.

Alas, I know of no records in early America that recorded such activity. Most family historians in America are unaware that their country was a recipient of prisoners at one time. I know that no British prisoners were transported to America after 1783.



The Central Library in Nottingham has a much more comprehensive collection of trade directories than does the Notts Archives.


Emigration & Immigration





  • The Thoroton Society tells us that the county of Nottinghamshire was created around 1,000 years ago by the Anglo-Saxon monarchy as a means of stabilizing the kingdom after Viking invasions.
  • Some of Nottinghamshire's history lies underground. Fly through some caves just off Peel Street on Youtube.
  • Read about Nottinghamshire history.
  • The manpower shortages caused by World War One was a great boon to women who moved into factory and clerical jobs that had primarily been male-oriented in the past. The trend was noticed in the Newark Great War Bulletin of June 21st, 1915.
  • The Newark Great War Bulletin of August 23rd, 1915 notes that recent rainstorms have ruined crops. Coupled with depredations from U-Boats, the paper notes the scarcity of produce and the threat of inflation.



Military History

The Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry was raised in the summer of 1794 as the Nottinghamshire Yeomanry Cavalry, by Thomas WHITE of Wallingwells, who financed and housed the regiment at his own cost. It became the Southern Nottinghamshire Regiment of Yeomanry Cavalry in 1826. The regiment moved to a new drill hall at Derby Road in Nottingham in around 1910.

The other local "territorial" military unit was the Sherwood Foresters. The regiment was formed on 1 July 1881 as part of the Childers Reforms. The 45th (Nottinghamshire) Regiment of Foot (raised in 1741) and the 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot (raised in 1823) were redesignated as the 1st and 2nd battalions of the Sherwood Foresters (Derbyshire Regiment). The Derbyshire and Royal Sherwood Foresters (Militia regiments became the 3rd (Reserve) and 4th (Extra Reserve) battalions respectively. These were joined by the 1st and 2nd (Derbyshire) and the 3rd (Robin Hood) and 4th (Nottinghamshire) Volunteer battalions.

The Sherwood Foresters saw action in Egypt during the Anglo-Egyptian War and in South Africa during the Second Boer War. In 1902, the name changing to the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment). The Sherwood Foresters were early participants in World War One. Units of the Foresters were also part of the Gallipoli Campaign.

According to the Newark Great War Bulletin for 14 September 1914, fear of invasion gripped the country.

At the beginning of World War One, the Royal Engineers picked a number of large towns and cities to be Engineering Training Centres (or ETCs). One of these was Newark-on-Trent, selected because it had a number of roads, railways and river connections. They set up their local headquarters at Coddington Hall and began collecting units to train and outfit for service in various responsibilities to support the army. At Newark, pontoon bridge building was an early task, made more serious after eight men were killed in a training accident in early 1915.

And the need for more men never ceased. Newark asked its young men to enlist, as shown in this Newark Great War Bulletin for March 8th 1915.

And the Newark Great War Bulletin for 22 November 1915, notes that the Sherwood Foresters have been asked to add a "third line" to the 8th Battalion.

The "tank" was developed in nearby Lincolnshire. The Ministry of Defense in WWI was looking for a way to pass over trenches and piles of brush, so Lincolnshire engineers took a farm tractor, added armoured plates, and called it a "tank" to keep the design a military secret (but the name stuck).

The "Brodie Tin Hat" was a steel helmet designed by US Engineer John Leopold Brodie and patented in London in 1915. The French had been equipping their troops with steel firemen's hats. Both the US and UK adopted versions of Brodie's design, but these did not get issued to the troops in large numbers until November, 1915.


Military Records

This section has been moved to our Military Records page to provide more information.


Names, Personal

This section has been enlarged. Please see our Personal Names page for various resources.



  • The Nottingham Post was the Nottingham Evening Post in 1881. Published by Forman and Sons on South Sherwood Street.
  • One can access the web site of Pathe News in the UK and search for Nottingham or the village or town of your choice.
  • There is also Cresswells Nottingham & Newark Journal online.
  • Jane TAYLOR in Redcar shares this notice from the Derby Mercury of 31 December, 1801: "MARRIED: This day, at Ashburn, Dr. PENNINGTON, of Nottingham, to Miss HAYNE, daughter of the late Richard HAYNE, Esq. of Ashburn-green, in this county."
  • Jane TAYLOR in Redcar provides this notice from the Derby Mercury of 22 August 1804: "MARRIED: On the 8th inst. at Buxton, in this county, Mr Robert SHAW, of Sawley, to Miss RICHARDSON, of Park-street, Nottingham."


  • Always give the Public Record Office search engine a try. Enter an occupation and see what they have on file.
  • A book that may define and explain some of the terminology used in various occupations is, "The Local Historian's Encyclopedia," by John Richardson, ISBN 0 9503656 0 2. Last known price: £4.95.
  • You might also try, "A Dictionary of Old Trades, Titles and Occupations," by Colin Waters, ISBN 1 85306 794 6.
  • It will not take you long to learn that many in Nottinghamshire were fabric makers. Their occupation is often listed as "Frame Work Knitter", abbreviated as FWK. A good number of these people went to Calais in France (It was an English enclave from 1347 to 1588) and a subset of these were lacemakers.

Politics & Government

  • For ease of administration the county was sub-divided into Wapentakes, which subsequently became known as Hundreds. In the Middle Ages there were six Wapentakes: Newark, Bassetlaw, Thurgarton, Rushcliffe, Broxtowe, and Bingham. By the sixteenth century they ceased to have real administrative importance but remained as a useful way of discussing the geography of the county, hence Dr Robert Thoroton's use of these divisions for his 'progress' around the county: Antiquities of Nottinghamshire (1677).
  • The modern Nottingham County Council was formed in 1889 of fifty-one councillors and 17 aldermen. Lord BELPER was the first chairman.
  • The City of Nottingham was part of Nottinghamshire until 1998, but is now a Unitary authority.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

Poorlaw records generally break down into several categories. The term "Poor Law Papers" is a group title which covers various legal documents that existed to cover the parishes where expenditure on a given person may be required. All these can date from 1601 to 1834. There are many Nottinghamshire parishes that do not have poor law records archived under the parish name. One reason is that some Poor Law Records were indexed by township name, which sometimes didn't match the parish name. The Quarter Sessions poor law indexes between them cover the whole of Nottinghamshire and therefore include the parishes not covered by parish chest documents. The Petty Sessions indexes cover smaller areas but still include parishes without their own poor law docs.

An Enclosure is the changing of open fields, moorland and wastes into fenced areas, basically a change from the medieval three-field system with all the farms together in the village, to the later one of a farm away from the village, surrounded by its own fields. The large fields became small fields, some of the rough areas became cultivated. These enclosed plots were individually owned and common rights were extinguished. Most enclosures were done prior to 1845.

Some Enclosures were done by agreement, when there were only a few owners of common fields and they could see the advantages of having their own fields within a small area close by, with the management under their own control, instead of in separate strips at a distance with different holdings every year, the management controlled by the set pattern of tradition.

Laxton remains today as the only example of the old system. An Enclosure Act of Parliament was required if there were dissenting owners. The Nottingham enclosure was unlike any other. The Town was notoriously overcrowded. An Act to enclose the Fields and Wastes of Nottingham, St. Mary’s Parish, was given the Royal Assent on June 30th 1845. One aspect of this Enclosure was the setting aside of 130 acres for recreation, then known as Allotted Recreation Grounds. The General Cemetery and the Rock Cemetery were part of this 130-acre parcel.

We have these web pages to offer you for specific resources:

  • For an understanding of Settlement, see "A Place of Legal Settlement," published by Anne Cole in the Lincolnhsire Family History Society magazine.
  • Bastardy Bonds/Agreements were used to determine which adult male was to support a child.
  • Settlement Papers include several categories: Examinations papers, Settlement Certificates and Removal Orders. Vagrancy Passes were issued to permit a pauper to travel across parishes, usually as part of a Removal Order. All designed to specify which parish was to support a poor individual or family.
  • Apprenticeship Agreements were papers between the parish and the would-be master taking on the apprentice. If a child was orphaned, the parish would try and find an apprenticeship for them to relieve the burden on the parish funds.
  • Some individuals and families wound up in the Poorhouse. Some of those records carry on until about 100 years ago. See our Poorhouse and Almshouse page.

In 1834 the Poor Law Amendment Act established Poorlaw Unions that allowed a group of parishes to be served by a single entity that provided for the poor. A Poorlaw union could be anywhere from 2 or three parishes to 60 or more. Some parishes had formed nacient unions before 1834. Nottingham county was covered by the following Poorlaw Unions:

  1. Basford
  2. Bingham
  3. East Retford
  4. Mansfield
  5. Newark
  6. Nottingham
  7. Radford
  8. Southwell
  9. Thurgarton Incorporation
  10. Worksop



Probate Records




Voting Records

The Local studies section at Nottingham Central Library has Electoral Rolls on fiche. With a card index to identify on which fiche the area you want is to be found. There is no name index, so you need to know where the person was living. It's a bit laborious, going from year to year.