The Genealogy Library

Our family history researchers have access to an unrivalled library of genealogical source material.

Our medieval headquarters in Canterbury houses an extensive library including both published sources and copies or transcripts of genealogical records, as well as original documents.

It has grown around the personal collections of its founder and first Trustee, Cecil Humphery-Smith, and has been collected over fifty years. As such it is an unrivalled library of genealogical sources for the whole of Great Britain, and further afield.

As well as being a unique resource for our genealogists, the library is open to members of the public. Further information on opening times can be provided over the telephone on 01227 768664.

See inside our genealogy and heraldry library

See this virtual tour in Google Maps

The Library Collection

A brief summary of the library collection includes the following material:

  • Genealogical textbooks
  • Genealogical source material for each county, such as parish register transcripts
  • Published probate and marriage indexes, including British Record Society pre 1858 probate indexes
  • Trade directories from 1677 to the mid 20th century
  • Professional directories
  • Printed family histories and pedigrees
  • School and university registers
  • Surname and Place-name dictionaries
  • Harleian Society publications and other Visitation Series
  • Biographical dictionaries
  • First edition Ordnance Survey maps
  • Peerage and Gentry directories
  • Antiquarian genealogical periodicals
  • European and American genealogy and immigration
  • American, Australian, British and European genealogical journals
  • Heraldic dictionaries and armorials
  • Original deeds

Unique Indexes

As well as the library, we hold unique indexes, including the Gretna Green Marriage Index 1794-1895, Crisp's Marriage Licence Index 1713-1892, and Pallot's Marriage Index 1780-1837.

Marriages at Gretna Green became popular with English couples looking to marry without consent of their parents, after the passing of the 1753 Hardwicke's Marriage Act. A father and son team, David and Simon Lang, performed many wedding ceremonies, and their records form this collection, which represents up to 50% of all marriages taking place at Gretna Green.

Crisp's Marriage Licence Index is a collection of London marriage licences, which can provide additional details to the more usual banns register, or information from the parish register itself. This is a particularly helpful index when not all original parish registers may survive, and marriage licences can help fill in any missing gaps.

Pallot's Marriage Index also concentrates on the London area, although does cover some entries from outside the capital. Collected by a firm of chancery agents, these records can also greatly aid genealogical research when the parish registers perhaps do not survive.

“..the details certainly make very interesting reading for me as you have uncovered much more than I ever heard my mother mention. I do appreciate all the work you have put into this.”
G.M.R., Bury St Edmunds

How can we help?

Give us a call us on:

08000 939383 (+44 1227 462618)

Or send us an email and we will offer a free no-commitment quotation for your research.