Come and see us in person to undertake research on our site. To prepare for your visit and learn about our Covid-secure measures please see here 

Our key digital resources

This page gives you an overview of the key digital resources of Gloucestershire Archives and our heritage partners. It tells you which documents you can see digitally and how you can best keep in touch with us during the pandemic.  It also includes some suggestions for heritage-related lockdown activities.


Family & Local History

Ancestry.co.uk is currently providing free access to Gloucestershire Archives digitised content. This includes name rich sources such as parish registers of baptism, marriage and burial, bishops transcripts, wills and probate inventories, gaol calendars and land tax returns.  This doesn’t include access to resources relating to Gloucestershire but held at other archives eg Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills held at The National Archives. Access Gloucestershire's content for free.

Know Your Place West of England is a free, digital mapping resource which includes images of key historic maps for Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire. The digitised content includes tithe and inclosure maps and the first three editions of the Ordnance Survey.

Our website contains a wealth of information to help you make the most of these resources:

  • General research advice
  • Research “mini guides” on a wide range of topics
  • In depth guides on topics such as military history, resources for South Gloucestershire and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities

The Victoria County History “big red books” are now online

The Institute of Historical Research site provides a neat round up of online historic resources and signposts to digital images of original sources


Dip into our collections

Our online exhibitions feature gems from our collections

The Gloucestershire Heritage Hub YouTube channel showcases some of our fabulous moving image material


Our partner websites

These provide a shop window for specific collections and types of material.

Gloucestershire Police Archives - capturing and sharing Gloucestershire’s police history and heritage

Fielding & Platt History - gathering & sharing memories of Gloucester’s great engineering firm

Dowty Heritage - the history of Gloucestershire’s global engineering group

Barton & Tredworth Community History - recording and celebrating Barton & Tredworth’s past and present

Gloucester Rugby Heritage - preserving and sharing the history of Gloucester Rugby Club

Gloucestershire Traditions - one stop website for songs and tunes collected in Gloucestershire

Oxford University’s First World War poetry digital archive features Ivor Gurney and F W Harvey, two of our most important literary collections.


Online training

Community and family archivists can now access a mine of information and advice from our new web resource


Online catalogue

Although our online catalogue doesn't contain images of documents, it does contain written descriptions of the millions of documents we hold. It will let you identify material you want to see when we can welcome you back on site.

Not sure how to use it?  Watch our 3 short YouTube tutorials: The Basics, Search Smarter and Discover More.


Keep in touch…

The Gloucestershire Heritage Hub e-newsletter is issued each quarter with contributions from Gloucestershire Archives, and Hub partners so a great way to keep up to date with local and family history in Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire. You can download the most recent edition from our website and subscribe to our emailing list to get future editions sent to your in-box.

Follow @GlosHeritageHub on Facebook and Twitter for regular, informative and entertaining archive and heritage related posts.

You could check out our partners on Twitter too:

Gloucestershire Family History Society - @GlosFHS

Friends of Gloucestershire Archives - @FriendsofGA

South Gloucestershire Council - @sgloscouncil

Gloucestershire Constabulary - @Glos_Police

Diocese of Gloucester - @GlosDioc


Finally, here are some lockdown resources and activities!

Keeping a diary

Gloucestershire Archives at Gloucestershire Heritage Hub gathers, keeps and shares the documented heritage of Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire. For the first time in 80 years we have had to temporarily close our doors to the public but our work goes on! We now need your help to create a "living archive" of life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’d like to encourage you to pick up a pen or pencil, open a Word document or take up your phone and record your experiences, thoughts or feelings about this remarkable time in our lives.

See this document for more information and make a submission!


Carrying out oral reminiscences

One activity that households self-isolating together could do together is to chat to each other about their memories. Our memories are unique. Even if a group of us have witnessed the same event, all of us will remember it in a different way. Sharing memories across generations is a particularly powerful way of both inspiring younger people, and confirming to the elderly that their lives have value and are important.

See this page for some useful downloadable help sheets.


60 seconds with...

Take the 60 seconds challenge! We have devised 40 heritage related questions which will hopefully make you stop and think about why you like history and why you enjoy using archives. However, we only want you to answer 10 questions so just choose your favourites…and we only want short answers so that the completed piece of work can be read in about 60 seconds or less! 

Visit this page for more information on what to do and how to submit your answers!


Downloadable virtual meeting backgrounds

For many of us, Zoom meet-ups have become an important way to keep in touch with family, friends and work colleagues.

Virtual backgrounds let you skip the last minute tidying, strategic arrangement of titles on bookshelves and other home interior tweaks! They will also hide any inconvenient people or pets who may come into view at just the wrong moment (popular though they may be!)

From this page you can download 13 beautiful photographs of the Gloucestershire landscape, taken by finalists in our 2019 photographic competition. 

Cattle on Cranham Common by John Bridgen

Coaley Peak by Mike Barby

Forest of Dean near Worrall Hill by David Brindley

Hailes Abbey by Deb Hopton

Herd Lane, Tetbury by John Bridgen

Old boathouse, Eastleach by Andrew Hill

River Severn and Forest of Dean by Rosemary MacLeod

Rodborough sunset by Josh Adamms

Selsley near Stroud from Doverow Hill by Mike Barby

Stinchcombe Hill, North Nibley by Josh Adamms

Summer view from Coaley Peak by Mike Barby

Valley at Horsley by Jenny Baddeley

View from Sudeley Hill by Malc King


Get crafty!

Remember lego? Of course you do! Well you may be interested to hear about Minecraft - a 21st century game which lets you construct virtual buildings working from photos or plans. The “classic” version is free, so why not have a go? You could build your house, or pick a well known local landmark. If you grab a photo off google you don’t need to go outside. Advanced practitioners could even tackle Gloucester Cathedral! You can share your finished masterpieces by pinning them onto Know Your Place. Might be just the thing if you’re coping with bored youngsters. Or keep it old school and use lego!

To inspire you, here is a photo of the Heritage Hub “Minecraft style” by Mara and Evan, the talented offspring of Senior Archivist Helen.



Heritage Hub virtual jigsaws

Gloucestershire Archives and Heritage Hub partners are building up a bank of virtual jigsaws from images in our collections. Check out what we’ve done so far by visiting the free website www.jigidi.com and typing heritage hub into the search box. You don’t have to sign up to do a puzzle. Have a go and see what you think.


Gloucestershire Archives blog

The Gloucestershire Archives blog is still being updated regularly. During this time of lockdown, we are posting short articles about how to preserve your family or community archive, and check out a wonderful post about how to support people with memory loss and dementia during lockdown. We have made that blog into a downloadable document and it can be found here.


"But I thought Zoom was an ice lolly"

What if you’re craving face to face contact with your group but lack confidence with the technology? We can facilitate a virtual meet-up for you and your group using Zoom, Skype or similar free platforms. As virtual hosts, we’d arrange the meeting, invite members of your group and help you all to get logged on and settled. Please contact archives@gloucestershire.gov.uk if you’re interested – there’s no charge. 


Other campaigns - online volunteering projects

We will update this with more links as and when we know about them. Are you running something here that we can promote? Let us know by emailing us on archives@gloucestershire.gov.uk.


Transcription Tuesday

A new way to develop your interest in family history could be to join in with Transcription Tuesday, an initiative by the Who Do You Think You Are magazine. Each Tuesday, a particular set of name rich records will be made available for the family history community to transcribe. If this sounds like something you would like to get involved with, you can read more about it here.


Leonard Cheshire project 

Disability charity Leonard Cheshire are looking for digital volunteers to listen to and transcribe historic tapes, and contribute to a podcast.

More information and how to apply here https://www.leonardcheshire.org/get-involved/volunteer-us.


Aberdeen Harbour transcription project

Aberdeen City & Aberdeenshire Archives are hosting an online transcription project of harbour arrival ledgers from 1914-1920. This is in partnership with the Aberdeen Harbour Board and Code the City, a local charity with the aim of developing digital skills and collecting data from the local area.  You can find guidance on how to join in, and the links you need at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1---eMoMUfrt-CURoMjAUY9Y9JcVDZABMOODyejdIFn4/edit?fbclid=IwAR0-6ni9bmUDMAEALia-fYs8wGewRK44ATao2QR_EFizy3VdtZA57yBqPoE#heading=h.87hofzki4jn

And check out progress so far at http://www.tulip.asae.co.uk/.


The National Archives: boredom busters

The National Archives website has plenty of suggestions for things to do at home! Check out how to date family photographs and their podcasts with research tips and information about what they hold and how to access it!

Fancy doing an online tutorial in Latin or palaeography? See this page for links to the courses provided by the National Archives.

Subscribe to their mailing list and find out more about what they're doing by visiting this page.

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