It can be difficult to start looking for your family history. Use the steps below to help you begin your search.
Talk to your family
Get information from relatives and look at any certificates, photographs and documents that they own.
Note down dates and events that are of interest.
Use online sources
Find my past contains over 1800 parish registers, containing 2.8 million names dating from 1538 - 1900. Access to the 'Staffordshire Collection' is free in archives and libraries in Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent. This is just phase 1 and more work is planned as part of the digitisation project.
Staffordshire Names Indexes holds a wealth of indexes including
Calendars of Prisoners at Staffordshire Quarter Sessions, 1777-1880
Staffordshire Police Force Registers, 1842-1920
Diocese of Lichfield and Coventry wills, 1650-1730
Staffordshire Apprentices, 1600-1900
Workhouse Admissions and Discharges, 1836-1900
Manor of Newcastle copyhold tenants, 1700-1832
The Sutherland Index covers mainly Longton, Newcastle under Lyme and Trentham areas.
Visit a record office
After gathering information from family and online, plan a visit to a record office.
Always contact the record office before you visit. We are also happy to answer any queries by email.
Offices hold different records, so please check that the ones you want are available at the office before visiting:
We also sell publications which may help.
Use other services
Copying services - to obtain paper copies or digital images of records. Fees are charged for these services.
Research services - to request a member of staff to carry out research on your behalf. Fees are charged for this service.