Local and family history

Berkshire Family History Society drop-in

Are you struggling to research your family tree? The experts at Berkshire Family History Society can help. Bring your questions and get help with getting started. You may also find our local and family history page a useful resource.

Session details:

  • when - 2pm to 5pm on second Thursday of every month (next sessions are 11 August, 8 September, 13 October)
  • cost - free

Drop in, no need to book.

Family history research

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

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

Genuki - 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.

Access to Ancestry

During the pandemic, access to Ancestry was made available from home.

This access ended on 31 December 2021. 

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.

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.

To view and print from old copies of the Bracknell News on microfilm, we recommend that you contact Bracknell Library to book an appointment so that staff can be available to show you how to use the microfilm scanner.

Other libraries have smaller collections of historical information.

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.

Contact information

Bracknell Forest Libraries

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