History buffs can access millions of documents at the touch of button with the launch of a new Derbyshire council online guide. Brief details of the documents in Derbyshire County Council's Record Office's collections can be found on a new website for Derbyshire in the East Midlands of England.
Please note that the online site contains a catalogue of documents, not a collection of images of the original records. Visitors can search records by place name, record type or key words and search tips are included in the introductory notes. The web site will supply a summary of each document, and its collection reference number, but not the numbers needed to order individual items to view in the search room.
There are three ways to search the site:
- By type of record - If you pick a type of record from the “select a record type” drop-down menu, and click the search button, you generate a complete list of collections of that type. Sometimes there are also sub record types, which you can select to narrow the focus of your search.
- By place - If you select the name of a town or village from the “select place” menu, and click the search button, you generate a list of collections relating directly to that place. Collections referring to more than one place are not indexed in this way, so try using the place name as a keyword if you can’t find what you want.
- By keyword - If you are looking for something specific you can search for it by name – but only if the words you use occur in the exact order you type them.
The guide works best when you combine these types of search, for instance:
If you are a family historian, hoping to find school records relating to an ancestor who was educated in Chesterfield, you could select “schools” and “Chesterfield”, before pressing “search”. This brings up a list of records held by Derbyshire Record Office relating to schools in Chesterfield.
Documents can then be viewed in hard copy in the Record Office's search room. The guide can be found at http://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/onlinecollectionguide.