How can The Gazette help family history research


05 October 2021
This issue of the London Gazette Extraordinary features the news report of Wellington's victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. Find the full story here:
Imagine a publication in which you can read a first-hand account of the Fire of London, a report of Wellington’s victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, and also find clues to your great-grandpa’s First World War gallantry medals. These are just three items among the vast range of information that you can find in The Gazette.

Published since the 17th century The Gazette holds centuries of information about your ancestors. These are available online free to use at

How long as The Gazette been going?

The first edition was published in November 1665.

Now known as The Gazette, and accessible at, it actually comprises three distinct publications (all of which can be searched at the overarching Gazette url just provided).

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  • The London Gazette – First published 7th November 1665, and known as The Oxford Gazette – because the royal court was based in Oxford at the time, due to an outbreak of the plague in London. The London Gazette was first published in London on 5th February 1666.
  • The Edinburgh Gazette – First published 2nd March 1699; published in a continuous print run since 1793.
  • The Belfast Gazette – First published 7th June 1921 (established following the partition of Ireland. Prior to that The Dublin Gazette had covered all Ireland since 1706).

The Gazette is a newspaper with a difference, in that it is the ‘Official Public Record’. Within the issues of The Gazette are recorded, for example: the New Year and Queen’s Birthday Honours Lists; Mentions in Despatches for ancestors serving in theatres of war; and details of promotions for officers (but not rank and file) in the Armed Forces. Today the categories ‘Wills & Probate’ and ‘Insolvency’ comprise two key categories of information published by The Gazette and there are others. The notices published in The Gazette are particularly interesting as they include information that is up to date – you’ll find entries for today’s date, but equally you can search the historic records for details of your family in decades past.

For tips on searching The Gazette, click here.

Buy a commemorative edition for your family history home archive

Commemorative editions of the Gazette are available to buy as gifts or special mementoes. To find out more click here.