Having trouble finding that elusive record?

Looking for details of an ancestor whose trail has gone cold, a place that’s missing from the modern map? Need to find a parish register or a monumental inscription?

Our volunteers have transcribed millions of records and written reams of articles that will help you in your searches

Follow this guide and you’ll soon discover if we have the tool to break down your brick wall.

Step 1: Search the Site

Don’t underestimate the power of a simple search. It’s easy to do and could provide the answer you’re looking for!

Tips: For better results use fewer words – search will automatically do partial searches – wild card characters should not be used.

No luck?

Step 2: View our Surnames Index

Most people who come here are looking for an ancestor by name. Our Index contains nearly 88,000 records.

If you’re looking for something else, you can skip to Step 3

Click the image to go to the Surnames Index

If the surnames you are seeking are in the index you can buy the relevant CDs from the shop.  There are links to the shop in the index or you can go there now.

If you don’t want to purchase the CDs you can commission one of our Research Assistants to search the indexes for you, using our Berkshire Name Search service.  If matches are found you will receive the full name, date and event type.

This can be a cost-effective way of conducting a small scale search but be warned (!) research is infectious and the search for one person quickly leads to another, then another, then another.  Purchasing the CDs may be a more cost-effective solution in the long run, and will also give you a transcript of the full register entry, rather than just the index to it.

Need something else?

Step 3: Browse  the data we hold

We have a number of other databases, covering a variety of topics

If you’re looking for something else, you can skip to Step 4

  • Intro
  • Baptisms
  • Burials
  • Graves / Memorials
  • Marriages
  • Churches, cemeteries & more
  • Places
  • Poor Law Unions (Workhouses)
  • Microfiche
  • Other

Select a tab that describes what you're looking for and we'll point you in the right direction. 

We also have a couple of general resources that you can explore.

Berkipedia

Berkipedia is our online encyclopedia that contains a large body of useful information, most of which is also mentioned in the other tabs:

  • Places
  • Unions
  • Churches, cemeteries & more 
  • Surnames
  • Dictionary

Go to Berkipedia

Research Guides

This is an assembly of various resources that might interest you, including links to public archives, newspapers and military records

Go to Research Guides

There are several ways to access our digital records

Berkshire FHS Parish Records

If you know the Parish in which an event occurred, you can purchase the Parish Register CD  which will contain transcriptions of baptisms, marriages and burials.  Go to the shop

Berkshire FHS County-wide records

But our ancestors moved around, often where there was work available, so a more reliable source might be our County-wide CDs. Go to the shop

For more details of  the CD format, see our Research Guide and to find out what might be available for a particlur location see our Churches, Cemeteries & More section

Findmypast

If you have an FMP subscription that includes UK records, Berkshire FHS has provided some digital copies to FMP. 

However, please be aware there will always be far fewer baptism, marriage and burial entries, transcribed by Berkshire Family History Society, on findmypast, than is available on the society's CDs.
  • date limits apply online, so, for example, no baptism entries are included which are less than 100 years old.
  • some Anglican parishes, many non-conformist Churches and Chapels, and many municipal cemeteries have not yet given permission for transcripts of their records to be published online.
  • findmypast publishes only the key information fields, rather than all potential fields, so important information contained in a transcript may be excluded from the online version. 
 

There are several ways to access our digital records

Berkshire FHS Parish Records

If you know the Parish in which an event occurred, you can purchase the Parish Register CD  which will contain transcriptions of baptisms, marriages and burials.  Go to the shop

Berkshire FHS County-wide records

But our ancestors moved around, often where there was work available, so a more reliable source might be our County-wide CDs. Go to the shop

For more details of  the CD format, see our Research Guide and to find out what might be available for a particlur location see our Churches, Cemeteries & More section

Findmypast

If you have an FMP subscription that includes UK records, Berkshire FHS has provided some digital copies to FMP. 

However, please be aware there will always be far fewer baptism, marriage and burial entries, transcribed by Berkshire Family History Society, on findmypast, than is available on the society's CDs.
  • date limits apply online, so, for example, no baptism entries are included which are less than 100 years old.
  • some Anglican parishes, many non-conformist Churches and Chapels, and many municipal cemeteries have not yet given permission for transcripts of their records to be published online.
  • findmypast publishes only the key information fields, rather than all potential fields, so important information contained in a transcript may be excluded from the online version. 
 

Transcripts of almost 50 burial grounds and cemeteries are available to purchase in the shop and this number is increasing all the time. 

CDs contain a plan of the cemetery so that individual graves can be located and many contain photographs of each extant monument - see product details.

Go to the shop

Our volunteers have also located, photographed and documented over 900 War Memorials around the historic county.

Get more information and view samples

There are several ways to access our digital records

Berkshire FHS Parish Records

If you know the Parish in which an event occurred, you can purchase the Parish Register CD  which will contain transcriptions of baptisms, marriages and burials.  Go to the shop

Berkshire FHS County-wide records

But our ancestors moved around, often where there was work available, so a more reliable source might be our County-wide CDs. Go to the shop

For more details of  the CD format, see our Research Guide and to find out what might be available for a particlur location see our Churches, Cemeteries & More section

Findmypast

If you have an FMP subscription that includes UK records, Berkshire FHS has provided some digital copies to FMP. 

However, please be aware there will always be far fewer baptism, marriage and burial entries, transcribed by Berkshire Family History Society, on findmypast, than is available on the society's CDs.
  • date limits apply online, so, for example, no baptism entries are included which are less than 100 years old.
  • some Anglican parishes, many non-conformist Churches and Chapels, and many municipal cemeteries have not yet given permission for transcripts of their records to be published online.
  • findmypast publishes only the key information fields, rather than all potential fields, so important information contained in a transcript may be excluded from the online version. 
 
Discover the individual venues across Berkshire where your ancestor may have been baptised, married or buried and see what has been transcribed to date by Berkshire Family History Society. Also features cross-references to probate records, overseers' papers, historic maps and Eureka publications. 
 
This section is arranged alphabetically and lists individual churches, chapels, meeting houses, missions, burial grounds, cemeteries, crematoria, workhouses, gaols and lunatic asylums. 
 
Original parish registers for the historic county of Berkshire are usually held at the Berkshire Record Office, whilst transcripts of Bishops Transcripts for Berkshire are usually held at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre LINK. There are some exceptions to this and this is usually noted in the comments section at the bottom of each page

 

Go to Churches, Cemeteries & more

This section of Berkipedia includes descriptions and images of many of the villages and towns of historic Berkshire, from Aldermaston to Yattendon.

Go to Berkipedia > Places

This section of Berkipedia includes maps of the Poor Law Unions of Historic Berkshire, cross reffernces to the parishes and workhouses that appear on the Society CDs

Go to Berkipedia > Unions

 

We have over 5,000 microfiches containing records from all over the UK.

Check out the catalogue here

Society volunteers have transcribed many other useful sources for family historians. These include:

  • poll books
  • trade directories
  • early census
  • probate records
  • miscellaneous other listings.

Society members, when signed in, can view some of these miscellaneous other listings for free in the Berkshire Data section (under the Info menu.)

More datasets are available to purchase on CD via the shop.  Search the catalogue to see the range of data which may be of interest for your own research.

Go to Shop

Need more help?  Go to step 4

Step 4: Options

Choose the option that suits you best

Ask a Research Assistant

For a small fee one of our experienced Research Assistants can carry out some preliminary searches

Independent researcher

We can supply a list of independent researchers. You negotiate and pay directly. We take no part and have no responsibility for the work or the researcher

And if none of that works

Step 5: Send us a message

If you’ve tried all the suggestions and still need help, use the Get in touch button below to tell us what you are looking for and we’ll try to help you.

Tell us what you think

Berkshire Family History Society works to meet the needs of those researching their ancestry across the UK and overseas – as well as those looking for former relatives in historic Berkshire.  You do not need to be a member to benefit.

The society offers:

  • Research Zone in central Reading that is free to use and open to all

  • Free access at The Centre for Heritage and Family History to online resources like FindMyPast, the 1939 Register, The Genealogist, the British Newspaper Archive and Ancestry (the worldwide edition)

  • Regular free help and advice sessions

  • Meetings in Abingdon, Bracknell, Newbury, Reading, Windsor and Woodley — open to everyone

  • Online discussion list for members  informed answers to research queries and advice from experienced researchers

  • Members’ Area with data and other information not readily accessible elsewhere

  • Indexes and transcriptions of Berkshire’s historic records on CD — parish registers, probate documents, monumental inscriptions, maps, First World War history and more

  • Quarterly magazine, the Berkshire Family Historian, for members

  • a chance to join in project work, recording, transcribing and helping to preserve records

  • Links to the research experience, advice and support of members worldwide

  • Opportunities to volunteer and so help others with their family history