Five places to find your Oxfordshire ancestors
Find out more about the lives and times of your Oxfordshire ancestors with our guide to the best places to carry out your family tree research.
1. Oxfordshire History Centre
Oxfordshire History Centre has a wealth of resources for anyone tracing ancestors in the county. Highlights include sets of printed and electronic transcripts of parish registers, non-conformist registers, Oxford City cemetery grave registers, and monumental inscriptions.
The Centre’s collection of original parish registers have been digitised in collaboration with Oxfordshire Family History Society and are available in the searchroom, with online access planned in the near future.
Visitors can also explore a full set of Quarter Session records for the county, with catalogues and name indexes in the process of being compiled – and currently available for the period 1687-1850. Electoral registers for 1832 onwards are also available, as well as a name index to parish poor law papers up to 1834.
Oxfordshire History Centre, St Luke’s Church, Temple Road, Oxford OX4 2HT; tel: 01865 398200; website.
2. Oxfordshire Family History Society
Discover your Oxfordshire ancestors with the help of like-minded family history enthusiasts. The society was founded in 1976 to encourage and promote the study of family history and caters for those with Oxfordshire and North Berkshire ancestors, as well as those with Oxfordshire ancestors who live outwith these regions.
Members receive the society’s journal Oxfordshire Family Historian three times a year and can also submit surnames to the members’ interests database, so that others researching the same names can get in touch.
Volunteers from the society provide a helpdesk service at the Oxfordshire History Centre every Tuesday and Thursday, and some Saturdays.
For details, visit the society's website.
3. Oxfordshire Local History Association
An association open to anyone with an interest in the history of Oxfordshire which acts as an umbrella organization for more than eighty Oxfordshire local history groups.
The group runs study days, exhibitions, courses and guided walks, and also fosters and promotes the publication of local history, as well as making small grants available for local history projects in the county.
To find out more, visit the website.
4. Museum of Oxford
The only museum dedicated to telling the story of Oxford and its people, Museum of Oxford is located in the historic town hall and has collections of artefacts relating to bygone Oxford in categories including people, local industries and businesses, wartime Oxford and local inventions.
Over the coming years, work is underway on the Oxford’s Hidden Histories project which will ‘open up and share the heritage of the city’s communities’ through a new museum which will explore archive material, present oral histories and showcase items usually kept in long-term storage. The new museum is due to open in 2020.
Museum of Oxford, St Aldate’s, Oxford OX1 1BX; tel: 01865 252334; website.
5. Museums Resource Centre
The Museums Resource Centre houses Oxfordshire’s collections of history and archaeology, including textiles, costumes, items connected with rural industries and crafts, and prints and postcards.
The photograph collection is of particular interest to anyone with Oxfordshire ancestors. Items include historic photos of each parish in the county, images of local industries and workers, and postcards of Oxfordshire towns.
Museum Resource Centre, Cotswold Dene, Witney OX29 7QG; tel: 01865 300972; website.
(postcard copyright Tuck DB Postcards; Museum of Oxford image copyright Jack Lee)