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England

Historical Description

England, the largest country of Great Britain and the United Kingdom, is bordered on the west by Wales, on the north by Scotland, on the east by the North sea, and on the south by the English Channel. Its' capital city, London, is the seat of national government, and historically the capital city of the British Empire. England is currently sub-divided into 48 geographic counties, most of which have their origins from ancient times. Due to changes in the geographic counties those listed below are not necessarily the ones in current use.


Archives and Libraries

The National Archives
Ruskin Avenue
Kew
Richmond
Surrey
TW9 4DU
020 8876 3444


Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

We have a list of the Registration Districts in England and Wales, by county.


Counties

Bedfordshire
Berkshire
Buckinghamshire
Cambridgeshire
Cheshire
Cornwall
Cumberland
Derbyshire
Devon
Dorset
Durham
Essex
Gloucestershire
Hampshire
Herefordshire
Hertfordshire
Huntingdonshire
Isle of Wight
Kent
Lancashire
Leicestershire
Lincolnshire
London
Middlesex
Norfolk
Northamptonshire
Northumberland
Nottinghamshire
Oxfordshire
Rutland
Shropshire
Somerset
Staffordshire
Suffolk
Surrey
Sussex
Warwickshire
Westmorland
Wiltshire
Worcestershire
Yorkshire

Directories & Gazetteers

We have completely transcribed Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, seventh edition, published in 1848. This gives descriptions of the parishes, hamlets, villages etc. and is an important edition as it also contains the recently introduced Poor Law unions.

We have many trade directories available online.


Maps

Old map of England and Wales circa 1895 (Gazetteer of England and Wales)


Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive is a partnership between the British Library and findmypast to digitise up to 40 million newspaper pages from the British Library's vast collection. Over 35 million pages from hundreds of titles are already online, covering the 17th-20th centuries.


Wills

Prior to 1858 wills had to be proved by the church and other courts. The Prerogative Court of Canterbury was the most important of these courts. Copies of the probates of these wills can be searched and viewed online at the National Archives.

For wills after 1858 the Government Probate search service can be used. You will need to identify and copy some information from the National Probate Calendar to order a record, which is delivered online.

The National Probate Calendar is online at Ancestry.co.uk