"A county in the east of England, lying on the German Ocean, bounded by Suffolk, Cambridge, Hartfordshire and Middlesex; and separated by the Thames from Kent. It is about 54 miles long, and 48 broad, and is divided into 18 hundreds. Its surface is level, yet sufficiently varied not to be monotonous; but, excepting at a few points, the coast is flat and marshy. The rivers are the Thames, the Stour, the Lea, the Chelmer, the Blackwater, and the Coln. The soil is varied, but on the whole it is an admirable corn county. It has also excellent pastures; and some woods of considerable extent, such as Epping Forest. It produces in addition to farm produce, oysters called natives, and some few textile manufactures. Chelmsford is its county town, Colchester is a place of some importance." [Barclays Complete & Universal English Dictionary, 1842-1852]

"ESSEX, a county (maritime), bounded on the north by the counties of Suffolk and Cambridge; on the west by those of Hertford and Middlesex; on the south by the river Thames, which separates it from Kent; and on the east by the German ocean: it extends from 51° 30 to 52° 7 (N. Lat.), and from 0° 3 to 1° 1 (E. Lon.), and includes one thousand five hundred; and thirty-two square miles, or nine hundred and eighty thousand four hundred and eighty statute acres. The population in 1821 amounted to 289,424. ... More" [A Topographical Dictionary of England (1831) by Samuel Lewis]

Essex is a county in the East of England immediately north-east of London and is one of the home counties. It borders the counties of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent across the estuary of the River Thames to the south and London to the south-west. The county town is Chelmsford, which is the only city in the county. 

Essex used to extend all the way to Stratford but the expansion of London has lead to the south east portion being annexed by Greater London, which now extends out to approximately the M25 motorway.


Archives & Libraries

Essex - Archives and Libraries - links and information.



Essex - Census - links and information.


Church History


Church Records

Essex - Church Records - links and information


Civil Registration

Essex - Civil Registration - links and information.


Description & Travel

Thomas Cromwell. Excursions in the county of Essex: comprising a brief historical and topographical delineation of every town and village . . . (2 vols.). London, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown (1818-19) [Hathitrust]



A Topographical Dictionary of England (1831) by Samuel Lewis (Copyright Mel Lockie 2016) -  here is the section relating to the county of Essex.



The LDS Family Search Wiki has extensive resources for Essex Genealogy at county and parish level.

Essex Genealogy and Family History Resources - Ancestry (subscription).

Essex Surnames List, provided by UK Surnames.

Essex Look-up Exchange.

East of London FHS Name Index (Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Newham and Redbridge Boroughs).

There is a discussion group devoted to Essex genealogy, groups.io/g/Essex-UK

Family History Societies covering Essex.

Essex Family History website - the geographical area covered by this site is the rural area of Eastern Essex

Essex Genealogical Records - the Forebears portal to Findmypast and other subscription services.

Essex section of DustyDocs - "links to free genealogical websites containing parish records".


Historical Geography



The History House website provides a very large collection of articles, directory and newspaper extracts, related to Essex and its various towns and parishes.

The Victoria County History of Essex - see VCH Essex and British History Online.

Emmison's Elizabethan Life series (Essex County Council, 1970-1978) - Titles: Home, Work and Land; The wills of Gentry; The wills of Merchants; The wills of Yeomen; Disorder; Morals and the Church Court. "Emmison was County Archivist for Bedfordshire between 1925 and 1938 and County Archivist for Essex between 1938 and 1969. His ‘energetic and imaginative approach impressed many’ and Essex was considered to have the leading record system in the country. In time the Essex Record Office became a publishing house for local history and Emmison became a prolific author. ..........His Elizabethan Life series ‘demonstrated the richness of sources for the period and his ability to relate local material to the wider canvas’." [Wikipedia]


Poor Houses, Poor Law