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Archive collections

Every day at the Northamptonshire Record Office someone uncovers a detail that may not have been seen for hundreds of years.

The history we hold here is far more than the dates of monarchs and battles that you may have been taught about at school. It's a wealth of fascinating detail of the lives of the people and places in Northamptonshire and beyond.

It's free to visit and use the archives service, and with over 8 miles of shelves full of documents, maps and photographs, there really isn't anywhere better to find out more about the places and industries of the county.

If you require assistance with your research you can use our research service. There are different charges for this depending on the type of research you require and the amount of time you require help for.

Search our online archive

Before you search

Please bear in mind:

  • the items are added with their descriptions exactly as they appear in our card indexes and catalogues within the archive
  • formatting matters - you may need to try different formats for document references, for example: with or without a '/' symbol

The catalogue does not contain every item that we hold - please contact the Archives Service if you can't find what you are looking for.

Library service online catalogue

You might also like to search the library catalogue.

Visiting the Archives

Order a document before you visit

To pre-order our documents before you visit the Northamptonshire Record Office, please contact the Archives Service.

Find out more about visiting us to view our collections for different purposes:

You may already have looked at websites such as Ancestry and Find My Past. Here at Northamptonshire Archives, we have many more types of records and documents that can add to your knowledge about your forebears. ​​There are some great resources online for researching your ancestors.

Records and documents we hold include:

  • court records
  • directories and records from local businesses
  • electoral rolls
  • hospital, workhouse and asylum records
  • military records, including World War One tribunals
  • parish records
  • personal letters and accounts from a broad range of people and organisations
  • records from family estates including Althorp
  • school records
  • wills left by people in Northamptonshire dating back to 1462

The Northamptonshire Central Library also holds a large collection of local and family history resources.

Whether you want to know more about your house, your village or local industry, the collections held at Northamptonshire Archives are full of fascinating details and information. 

​Our trained staff can help you navigate the catalogues and can give you new ideas about where to look to maximise the time you spend.

Records we hold include:

  • church records
  • directories and records from local businesses
  • extensive records of the Northamptonshire shoe and boot industry
  • local council minutes
  • maps going back as far as the 16th century
  • records from family estates including Althorp
  • personal letters and accounts from a broad range of people and organisations

Northamptonshire Archives understands the needs of teachers, students, university academics and professionals such as developers and planners. We have a passion for seeing our collections used to further knowledge and to help the county grow.

We hold many estate collections, covering personal letters, diaries, estate management materials and more.

We hold extensive records and collections relating to:

  • World War One tribunals, which reveal details of businesses and social conditions of the period
  • the Northamptonshire boot and shoe industry
  • Berrywood (St Crispins) and St Andrew's Hospitals 

​We also have a full-time professional digitisation service, so you can have high-resolution images of any documents you are researching to continue your studies away from the archives. Where copyright and ownership details allow, the rights to use images in publications or lectures can be granted for a small fee.

Northamptonshire Archives hosts history students from the University of Northampton each year. During their time with us, they learn about the workings of the archives and how to use primary resources in their research, culminating in an exhibition of their projects.

Whatever your sphere of academic or professional interest, talk to us about your needs and aims and let us see just how we can help you to achieve your goals. Each day more and more records are added to our online catalogue, to make planning your visit easier.

Our Historic Environment Record (HER) is on-site, with public access to the database as well as an experienced member of staff to deliver the reports you need.

For more information, email [email protected].

Last updated 29 April 2024