How to find Sheffield ancestors at Sheffield City Archives


20 December 2016
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Discover how to find your Sheffield ancestors with our guide to family history resources held at Sheffield City Archives.

Discover how to find your Sheffield ancestors with our guide to family history resources held at Sheffield City Archives. Read our in-depth guide to the life and work of the Sheffield cutlers in the February issue of Family Tree, available to order now.

Sheffield Archives is home to millions of records which chart the history of Sheffield and surrounding areas from the twelfth century through to the present day. Among the collections of interest to family historians are school records, electoral registers, parish registers and obituaries.

As you would expect, Sheffield City Archives holds many records relating to the many industries carried out in the area over the centuries, including steel making, cutlery manufacture and silversmithing.

Key collections of interest to those tracing Sheffield ancestors include:

  • business records (1784-1984) for Johnson Firth Brown Ltd, one of the city’s large steelmakers, founded in 1842 as Thomas Firth’s
  • church registers (1560-1997) including baptisms, marriages and burials for Sheffield Parish Church
  • records of the Sheffield Assay Office (1773-2008) which was the body responsible for assaying and hallmarking silver items produced in the city and surrounding districts.

The Workhouse Collection covers the period 1838 to 1930, and the administration of the Sheffield Union, Ecclesall Bierlow Union and Wortley Union, which between them ran dozens of workhouses and asylums around the city and surrounds. The surviving records include admission registers, workhouse birth registers, Board minutes, and registers of children apprenticed or boarded out.

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The Sheffield City Archives website has helpful general information on tracing your ancestors, as well as details of the different collections held at the archives, research guides and the search catalogues for the Archives, Local Studies Library, and Picture Sheffield – a collection of over 75,000 images of the city, its buildings and people.

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Visiting Sheffield City Archives

Sheffield City Archives is open on Monday, Tuesday and Saturday and first-time visitors will be asked to apply for a reader’s ticket, so bring along some ID. You can also book items in advance if you have the document reference number (which you can get from the online catalogue). To use church registers, General Register Office indexes to births, marriage and deaths or census returns, contact the archives in advance, as many of these items are only available on microform.

Sheffield City Archives, 52 Shoreham Street, Sheffield S1 4SP; tel: 0114 203 9395; website Open: Mon, Tue & Sat, 9.30am to 5.30pm.

(Images copyright Picture Sheffield)

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