Whilst there are many books, guides and articles on researching your family history and in particular starting your research, this page attempts to bring together some information that is specific to researching in Lincolnshire.
Lincolnshire is a large county on the eastern side of the country, bordered in the north by the Humber River and the East and West Ridings of Yorkshire; to the west lies the River Trent and the counties of Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Rutland; and the counties of Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire are to the south. On the eastern side lies Norfolk and the long coastline of the Wash and the North Sea. The latter may be responsible and provide an opportunity for the movement of people into and out of the county. Unlike some counties there has been very little in the way of boundary changes, with few places not having been in the county since medieval times.
The area known as the Isle of Axholme is part of Lincolnshire, but is geographically separated by the River Trent. It is represented by the Isle of Axholme Famiily History Society and a link to their website can also be found on the useful web links page.
There are over 650 parishes in Lincolnshire; most are relatively small in size compared to other counties. The Lincolnshire FHS produces a useful gazetteer which is a great help in locating places in the county. Anglican Church records of Baptism, Marriage and Burial are organised by Deanery and there were 23 Deaneries in 19th Century Lincolnshire. There is a link to an outline map of Lincolnshire Deaneries on the Publications page. The majority of the Parish Registers and Bishop's Transcripts survive and are stored at the Lincolnshire Archives in Lincoln. The Lincolnshire FHS has produced a number of transcripts and indexes. Please see Publications page for further details.
The county was divided into three administrative areas - Lindsey, Kesteven and Holland and these areas developed into councils until the 1974 local government reorganisation when they became a single county council.
One notable change to the internal boundaries is that Grimsby Registration District and Poor Law Union were created out of Caistor Poor Law Union in 1890.
Quarter Sessions were organised by the three administrative areas (Lindsey, Kesteven and Holland) and in addition certain boroughs in the county were also given the right to hold their own sessions. Boston, Grantham, Lincoln, Louth, Stamford, and Grimsby were all Quarter Sessions boroughs.
The researcher and visitor may be tripped up firstly by some familiar place names that are associated with other places in the world, for example in addition to the the original place called Boston there are places in the county called New York, Gibraltar and Jerusalem; and also the unfamiliar pronunciation of some place names, for example Sollaby (Saltfleetby), Azleby (Aslackby) and Sprawston (Sproxton).