Our archive collections
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The Cheshire Archives and Local Studies Service has in its care many thousands of records, some dating from as far back as the 12th century.
You can access our catalogue online and it’s also worth searching Discovery hosted by The National Archives.
These records include:
We provide free access on-site to the subscription websites Ancestry and Find my Past where you will find additional records such as the national census returns 1841 – 1911 and General Register Office indexes to births, marriages and deaths from 1837 onwards.
Our local studies collections
The main collection of published works from the 16th century onwards is held in the Cheshire Record Office.
This material includes:
- Books and pamphlets covering all aspects of Cheshire life such as history, geography, religion, education, and local industry.
- Maps including historic county maps and Ordnance Survey maps.
- Trade directories of Cheshire businesses and residents, some individual town directories.
- Newspapers held at the Record Office in print and/or microfilm can found in our Newspaper Index (PDF 4.01 MB).
- Journals and periodicals such as Cheshire History and Cheshire Life have been indexed and can be searched using our catalogue.
- Photographs of people, places and events can be viewed on the Cheshire Image Bank.
- Prints and drawings illustrating buildings, towns and notable people from the 17th century.
- Township packs contain an abridged history of townships in Cheshire.
- Special collections include our Civil War pamphlets, Randolph Caldecott and Lewis Carroll collections. Details can be found on our catalogue.
To find out what is held in your local library, go to Local Studies.
- Cheshire First World War Servicemen's index. Absent voters list of service men (and women) eligible to vote in WW1. Includes names, addresses and some service history.
- Cheshire wills, 1492-1940. Wills of Cheshire residents proved in Chester can be searched and ordered through our online shop (select 'Wills' under Item type). You can also search for Cheshire wills and download copies on Find My Past
- Overleigh Cemetery, Chester, 1850-1950
- Freemen of Chester, 1747-1925
- Railway staff database, c1869-c1950. Registers of 4 railways companies, covering parts of Cheshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire and Wales
- Crewe railway works, c1890-1928. Records of employees at Crewe railway works
- John Ramsbottom presentation volume. Includes the names of all employees of the Locomotive Department of the London and North Western Railway in 1871. Please note that there is a charge for downloading images from the volume
- Chester city gaol registers, 1808-1865
- Cheshire military records, 16th-19th centuries. With 21,000 names taken from a range of records relating to military service
- Runcorn Crew Lists. With 30,000 names of owners, masters and crewmen of every ship registered in the Port of Runcorn between 1863 and 1913
Curiouser and Curiouser: Stories from our Collections
Photo exhibitions on Flickr