Local studies and family history service

We collect and make available, information about Warwickshire and its people, buildings and countryside.

Local studies collections

Collections relating to specific areas are available at individual libraries. Information contained in leaflets, pamphlets and photographs may be found by searching indexes in local studies collections.

The Warwickshire Collection

The largest range of material relating to the county as a whole, the Warwickshire Collection is held at Nuneaton Library.  The collection aims to gather all titles published on Warwickshire and its communities, places and people.

It holds approximately 25,000 items in total, including books; photographs and illustrations; directories; and journals,  Paper mapping for the county is also available from the 1950’s to approximately 2010.

Book titles within the collection can be found in the library catalogue with a card catalogue for other material.

To view items from the Warwickshire Collection please contact us, in advance, to make an appointment to visit.

Please contact us to book a reader printer if you want to view material held on microfilm or microfiche.


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Books and Periodicals

We aim to collect all published material relating to the county, including books, eBooks, journals and magazines. These include archaeological transactions, church magazines and local society newsletters.

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Census returns, parish registers and newspapers

A national census has been taken every ten years from 1801, however it was only from 1841 that details about individuals and households were recorded. Census returns for Warwickshire parishes, towns and villages are available on microfilm or microfiche from 1841 onwards. Local libraries hold these for their areas.

Parish registers are produced by the Church of England to record baptisms, marriages and burials. The earliest registers date from 1538, and entries in them are listed in date order. We hold parish registers on microfilm, in libraries with local studies collections. In some cases these have been transcribed and indexed.

We have an excellent selection of historic and current newspapers on microfilm. Entries on the catalogue are not complete so if the newspaper title or date you require is absent, please contact us and we will check our holdings.

Online resources free with your library card

Reference and Learning – other useful local and family history websites.

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Trade and commercial directories are a useful source of information, particularly for the Victorian and Edwardian periods. Helpful for both general research and family history, they list heads of household by both trade and surname. They are available in hard copy and microfiche.

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The Warwickshire Collection, located at Nuneaton Library, has the largest range of modern Ordnance Survey mapping at 1:1250, 1:2500 and 1:10,000 scales for the county.

All libraries with local studies collections have modern Ordnance Survey maps for the scales above, for their area. Some also hold other maps – e.g. geological, land use and Goad plans. They also have local historic maps on paper and the Ordnance Survey County Series for the whole of Warwickshire (1888 to pre-World War II) on microfilm.

Warwickshire Historical and Current Maps – on-line large scale historical and current mapping.

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Collections of photographs, prints and postcards of specific areas are held at libraries with local studies collections.  In some cases it may be possible to obtain copies, however copyright restrictions and charges apply.

  • Our Warwickshire – thousands of photos, stories, memories and maps contributed by local people, museums and archives.

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Family history


We have guides and introductions to family history research – Library Catalogue.

See the Census returns, Parish Records and Newspapers and Census returns, Parish Records and Newspapers sections on this page for more online resources from library computers.

We can help with family history but are unable to undertake in-depth research. When contacting us please provide as much information as you can: dates, names, places and sources already searched.

Family history resources free with your library card

  • Ancestry – search for your ancestors….1.5 billion names, United Kingdom and Ireland.  Free with your library card on  library computers.
  • Find My Past – search for your ancestors and the 1939 register.  Free with your library card on  library computers.
  • Who Do You Think You Are? – eMagazine exploring the stories behind the popular BBC genealogy TV series, but also helps you uncover your own roots.
  • Your Family History – respected genealogy eMagazine that makes tracing family history accessible and rewarding.

See our eBooks and eMagazines page for details on how to set up your account with your library card.

Groups & surgeries

Family history groups and surgeries are a great opportunity to share knowledge, skills, resources and experiences.

Family history groups and help sessions in libraries

Atherstonethird Wednesday of the month, 14:00 – 16:00
Coleshillthird Monday of the month, 10:00 – 12:00
Leamingtonthird Thursday of the month, 11:00 – 12:30
Nuneatonfourth Wednesday of the month, 10:30 – 12:30.
Rugbythird Thursday of the month, 14:00 – 16:30
StratfordTuesdays 10:00 – 12:00

Find a family history group

Watch this video on YouTube

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Special Collections

George Eliot Collection

Nuneaton Library holds one of the prime collections on George Eliot in Britain. The collection was started in the early days of the town’s first public library around 1900. It includes over 2000 books including the novels, poetry, essays, biographies and literary criticism; photographs; pamphlets; facsimiles of approximately 190 letters of correspondence between the author, her family and friends; and material relating to the George Eliot Fellowship.

To view items from the George Eliot Collection please contact us, in advance, to make an appointment to visit.

 Working Lives

A collection of memories of work and industry in Nuneaton and Bedworth as a twentieth century oral history. Material relating to the project is held at Nuneaton Library.

  • Working Lives – view photographs and listen to oral histories.  Includes a free downloadable teaching pack for Key Stage two.

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Our school offer

We welcome visits from schools to view our local studies material by appointment.  Sessions are led by a class teacher supported by a member of the library staff.  Material can be requested by a teacher to be made available during the session. Charges apply for school visits.

Contact us to talk about arranging a session and discuss requirements.

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We gratefully receive items of local interest, including photographs, books and ephemera, if the items meet our collection requirements. If you have items you think may be of interest to us, please contact us or speak to a member of staff in your local library.

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