Local and family history

​Discover Centre at Northamptonshire Central Library

We hold a large collection of local and family history resources in our Discover centre at Northamptonshire Central Library - including the items listed below. For enquiries about the department please contact Answers Plus.

Please note that due to staffing requirements opening hours may occasionally be changed at short notice. If you're planning to visit Discover, it's recommended that you email the library centlib@firstforwellbeing.co.uk to confirm that it will be open on that day.

Discover opening hours

​Day​Opens​Closes
​MondayClosed
​Tuesday​​2pm​​6pm
​Wednesday​​2pm​​6pm
​Thursday​​10am​​5pm
​Friday​​10am​​5pm
​Saturday​​Closed
​SundayClosed

 

We provide a large resource for family historians, including:

  • census returns for Northamptonshire from 1841 to 1901 (microfilm and fiche)
  • electoral registers (Northampton only) and poll books for Northamptonshire      
  • free broadband internet access to a range of Family History websites      
  • General Register Office (GRO) index to civil registration births, deaths and marriages for England and Wales 1837 to 2004 (microfiche)      
  • parish registers for Northamptonshire (microfiche) 
  • trade and street directories

​Below are digitised resources available to use for free at all public libraries in Northamptonshire:

  • Find my Past: over 1.5 billion digitised family history records including census returns and parish registers.
  • British Newspaper Archive: explore hundreds of national, regional and local titles dating from the 1700s to 1950s, including Northampton Chronicle and Echo, Northampton Mercury and Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph. Licensing requirements mean that customers need to register for free before viewing articles on the website.

We hold a large collection of maps and plans:

  • administration maps, parish and ward boundaries
  • geological maps, land utilisation and agricultural classification maps
  • historic printed maps of Northamptonshire (from 1575) and Northampton (from 1610)
  • selection of Ordnance Survey maps county series 6 inch to 1 mile and 25 inch to 1 mile c.1880 to 1952
  • selection of Ordnance Survey national grid series 1:10,000, 1:2500 and 1:1,250 from 1958 to 1990s
  • selection Ordnance Survey Landranger (1:50,000) and Pathfinder / Explorer (1:25,000) maps

​Listed below are the local newspapers held on microfilm at the Discover Centre:

  • Northampton Mercury 1720 to 2015
  • Northampton Herald 1837 to 1931
  • Northamptonshire Guardian 1876 to 1890
  • Northampton Daily Reporter 1880 to 1907
  • Northampton Weekly Reporter 1880 to 1884
  • Northampton Daily Chronicle 1900 to 1931
  • Northampton Independent 1905 to 1960
  • Northampton Daily Echo 1908 to 1931
  • Northampton Chronicle & Echo 1937 to 2017
  • Daventry Express 1948 to 2017
  • Daventry Herald 1983 to 1992

The British Newspaper Archive is available to use for free at all public libraries in Northamptonshire. Explore hundreds of national, regional and local titles dating from the 1700s to 1950s, including Northampton Chronicle and Echo, Northampton Mercury and Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph. Licensing requirements mean that customers need to register for free before viewing articles on the website.

The library has in its archives over 100,000 images including the following collections:

  • Aerial photographs of Northamptonshire.
  • Photographic collection with views of Northamptonshire from the early 20th century onwards.
  • Portrait collection containing individual portraits and family portraits.
  • Postcard collection of Northamptonshire towns and villages.
  • Prints and engravings collection containing images of buildings from across Northamptonshire.

John Clare (born 1793 died 1864)

This collection is made up of books from John Clare’s own personal library, published copies of his own work, books about him and his poetry, manuscripts (original and microfilmed), which have been collected and preserved for the use of qualified and experienced researchers. 

Charles Bradlaugh (born 1833 died 1891)

Collection of ephemera, news cuttings and letters relating to the politician and freethinker, Charles Bradlaugh.

Philip Doddridge (born 1702 died 1751)

Collection of almost 200 letters of correspondence by Independent minister and writer, Philip Doddridge.

Albert Edward Perrin (born 1853 died 1929)

Collection of paintings of Northamptonshire's landscape and buildings by artist, Albert Edward Perrin.

For further information on the collections, including how to access them, email answersplus@firstforwellbeing.co.uk

​Visit Northamptonshire Archives, located at Wootton Hall Park, Northampton, to view local and family history resources covering 800 years of Northamptonshire's history. You can search for documents through the online catalogue (please be aware that not all items held by Northamptonshire Archives have been added to the catalogue). Northamptonshire Archives also provides a chargeable research service.