"WORCESTERSHIRE, west-midland County of England, bounded N. by Shropshire and Staffordshire, E. by Warwickshire, S. by Gloucestershire, and W. by Herefordshire; greatest length (not including the detached parts), NW. and SE., 36 miles; greatest breadth, NE. and SW., 45 miles; area, 472,453 acres, population 380,283. Worcestershire lies almost entirely in the basin of the Severn, which receives the Stour; Teme, and Avon. The surface is a broad undulating plain, broken in the NE. by hills of moderate height, and in the SW. by the Malvern Hills, which reach an altitude of 1395 ft. The soil, chiefly clay and loam, is very fertile. Wheat is extensively grown, and there are numerous hop-gardens and orchards. Large quantities of cider and perry are made. There are several extensive and beautiful valleys (notably that of the Severn), with rich pastures, and great numbers of cattle and sheep are fattened. The strata consist for the most part of new red sandstone, lias, and oolite; other formations are visible in the Malvern Hills and some other districts. Coal and iron are found in the Dudley district, and the manufacture of iron and steel and of hardware is extensive. Carpets and rugs are made at Kidderminster, glass at Dudley and Stourbridge, gloves and porcelain at Worcester, and needles and fish-hooks at Redditch and Feckennam. Immense quantities of salt are obtained from the brine springs at Droitwich. The Birmingham and Worcester and other canals connect the Severn basin with those of the Trent and Mersey."
[Extract from Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]


Archives & Libraries



  • Gwilliam, Bill - Old Worcester: People and Places, Halfshire Books, 1993. ISBN 978-0951352588.





Church Records

  • The searchable LDS website - IGI and Familysearch
    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 has a considerable stock of register copies and indexes. Here is a List of their current holdings for Worcestershire, taken from their catalogue.
  • Information on the location of Quaker Records in Worcestershire provided by the Quaker FHS.

Civil Registration

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 Worcestershire, these records were held in several 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 all registers have been moved to the Worcester Register Office in County Hall, Worcester, and applications should now be made to that office.

      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. You can apply on-line here, but the helpful page about obtaining certificates is not currently available. The cost of a certificate obtained this way is £11.00 (including £1 postage - August 2015).

There is an equivalent site for the West Midlands BMD Indexes, covering the registration districts of Stourbridge, Dudley, West Bromwich and Walsall.

When necessary, details of the Local Register Office to contact are on one of the above sites, and a complete list of all districts may be found in Brett Langston's list of Worcestershire Registration Districts (1837-1974).

  • Obtaining a certifcate from the GRO
    • 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:-

      1. Searching microfilm or fiche at a Library or LDS Family History Centre.
      2. 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.
      3. findmypast.co.uk (formerly 1837online) - images of the complete BMD indexes from the GRO online. Fee payable
      4. 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 £4.00 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)
    • 28 days after a registration book is complete, the register is deposited with the Superintendent Registrar of the district. At this point the cost becomes the same as any 'old' certificate obtained locally - £11.00 (including £1 postage - Aug 2015).

      As Worcestershire is now one registration district, you should apply to Worcester Register Office at County Hall in Worcester.


Description & Travel







  • Nigel Batty-Smith's site of UK Genealogy Archives - Worcestershire has a description of the county from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5.
  • The transcription of the section for Worcestershire from the National Gazetteer (1868) provided by Colin Hinson.
  • 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.


  • Researchers may find one or more of the Worcestershire Mailing Lists useful in their research; and Worcestershire Surnames being researched are listed within Dave Newbury's Worcestershire Surname Interests
  • Surnames being researched in the county of Worcestershire - Worcestershire Surname Interests - compiled by Dave Newbury.
  • Worcestershire Look-up Exchange . NO LONGER AVAILABLE.
  • Bromsgrove BMSGH - "the Family History Site for North Worcestershire".
  • 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. In many cases payment will be required to see the extract.
  • RootsChat Messaging Forum - Worcestershire section.
  • The Worcestershire section of 'Curious Fox' - "The village-by-village contact site for anybody researching family history, genealogy and local history in the UK and Ireland". Added 29 Nov 2006.
  • Worcestershire Ancestors Project
    This project aims to provide a "free-to-view" online searchable database of all the 19th century Worcestershire census returns. It is part of an initiative aimed at helping make high quality primary (or near-primary) records of relevance to UK genealogy conveniently and freely available online.

    It is hoped to launch the project by transcribing the 1891 census returns for Kings Norton and then Dudley, using microfiche kindly loaned to the Project for this purpose by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). The Project makes use of specially developed software modules for data entry, checking, validation and database upload, under the global name of UK-CENS. The project was scheduled to start in January 2001.

    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, the volunteer transcribes a census piece using whatever method suits them best, then uploads it to the county coordinator. In the second phase the transcriptions will be checked against the microfiche using a separate piece of software. The software for both phases is designed to make the tasks as easy as possible. Currently, the Devon and Cornwall 1891 returns are being transcribed and checked and it is hoped that transcriptions will start uploading to the online database in less than 12 months.

    Anyone who wishes to volunteer as a transcriber/checker, please contact the coordinator. This project is designed to help not just ourselves and others who are researching Worcestershire family history now, but to build a resource that will help future family historians. It is also designed to appeal to all online family historians. If you are online you can participate from wherever you are!


Historical Geography

  • Transcribed text of the Worcestershire section of Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of England (1831).
  • Historic England - 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. This new link goes directly to a page of links to 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.

Land & Property

  • Some abstracts of Worcestershire Feet of Fines (land conveyances) covering 1422-1509 - on Chris Phillips Medieval English Genealogy web site.
  • 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 addition, the original deed may also be available for purchase if required. Added 19 Sep 2007.
  • Returns of Owners of Land in 1873 - searchable database.


  • A range of maps can be found via the GENUKI Gazetteer , or the GENUKI Church Database. In particular the National Library of Scotland site offers a range of maps and allows one to pick a county, and a parish or town within it.
  • 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.
  • Genmaps - a collection of 'Old and Interesting Maps of England, Wales and Scotland' for Genealogists and Historians.
  • 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 Worcestershire 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.
  • Clear, Large Type and Braille Maps. Added 11 Feb 2006.

    David Hawgood has produced Maps of Worcestershire with Braille labels (large print labels) to help people with visual disabilities, with similar Tactile and large print Maps for other English counties.


Medical Records


Names, Personal




Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • A site "dedicated to the Workhouse - its buildings, its inmates, its staff and administrators, and even its poets..." - The Workhouse - created by Peter Higginbotham.

Religion & Religious Life


Social Life & Customs

  • 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.