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Local and family history

Reminiscences groups

Reminiscences groups meet at most of our libraries. These are currently not running due to COVID-19 library closures.

Family history research

Use the links below to help you research your family history.

Table showing websites useful for researching family history.

Title of website


Cyndi's List

Website with a large number of links to family history sites worldwide

Family search

For locating parish records

Free BMD

For locating most birth, marriage and death index references

General Register Office

For ordering birth, marriage and death certificates using the index reference


Reference guide to family history research in the UK

First World War resources guide

Guide to all about the First World War

Scotland's People

Principal website for researching Scottish ancestors (fees may be payable)

The National Archives

Shows details of their holdings, useful research guides and podcasts

Family History Resources guide

Bracknell Forest Library has put together this guide to aid your genealogical research.

Resources only available in the library

You can use Ancestry and Findmypast in all our libraries:

These are 2 family history sites with over 750 million historical records including birth, marriage and death records, military records and 1841 to 1911 census collections.

Ancestry Library Edition is a genealogy research tool that provides library members with instant access to a wide range of resources for genealogical and historical research. It includes:

  • records from the US census
  • military records
  • court, land and probate records
  • vital and church records
  • directories
  • petitions for naturalisation
  • passenger lists

Please note that the ability to save records has also been removed from Findmypast because the computers in the library are shared.

Neither site allows access to the Living Relatives database and the Family Tree maker. You can get an idea of what Ancestry has to offer by going to the Ancestry taster website.

Using these services during library closures

Ancestry Library Edition

While our libraries are closed, library members can access Ancestry from home.

Go the libraries catalogue, select 'My Account' and enter your library card number and PIN to find a link at the top of the page for accessing Ancestry at home.


While our libraries are closed, library members are allowed free access at home.

To get access, use our make an enquiry form, quoting 'Find My Past access from home'.

Local archives

The nearest local archives can be found at The Berkshire Record Office in Reading. They look after nearly 900 years of Berkshire's history.

Bracknell High Street - A Snapshot in Time

A snapshot in time is a council exhibition produced in association with the University of the Third Age (U3A) and South Hill Park.

Snapshot in Time at Bracknell library
The U3A Bracknell Forest Local History and Digital Photography group spent spring 2013 photographing and montaging our current day High Street. The result is a startling contrast as to how the High Street has developed over the course of half a century.

Visit Bracknell Library to see this permanent exhibition of panoramas, accompanied by facts and tales from a High Street gone by.

Local history photographs

Bracknell Forest Library's local studies archive collection of photographs and ephemera is being digitised and the first of the collection are now available to view online on Flickr.

To order prints or to see the whole collection, please visit Bracknell Library.

Bracknell Library also holds a special collection of items on the history of the area, including historical maps and local newspapers. Other libraries have smaller collections of historical information.

Contact information

Bracknell Forest Libraries

Make an enquiry