Family history

There are a huge number of resources available to help you research your family's and your city's history. In this section, you will find details of places to visit in Coventry and useful links to search for more information online. Coventry History Centre is the main place to visit for this type of information, but all Coventry libraries have books on local history and allow free computer access to the Ancestry library.

Coventry Register Office

At the Register Office you will be able to find out information on births, marriages and deaths registered in Coventry since 1837. For marriages, you need to know the parish before applying for a copy certificate. You can order a copy certificate online.

National Index of births, deaths and marriages

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) hold a national, central register of birth, deaths and marriages dating back to 1837. The national index references (formerly known as St Catherine's House index) are different from those used in Register Offices so quoting their reference on an application to a Register Office is of no help. However, they do confirm that the event occurred in a particular registration district, although the sub-district is not indicated. It is very helpful for marriages in particular therefore to have a connection to a place, parish or religious denomination.

The registers are fragile documents and cannot be searched or viewed by the public but it is possible for you to search indexes. There is a fee for this and arrangements should be made with the Superintendent Registrar. If you plan to visit any of the offices please call to make an appointment.

Sources of Records before 1 July 1837

Before 1 July 1837, the principal means of recording births (or baptisms), marriages and deaths (or burials) were parish registers kept by clergymen of the Church of England. The best way to trace them is to get in touch with the City Archivist at Coventry History Centre. The City Archivist also holds a number of other records useful in researching family history, including Methodist registers of baptisms, marriages and burials.

Coventry Family History Society also has a wide range of indexes, census records and other material as well as a comprehensive store of local and background information.

Coventry Archives

Address: Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
Jordan Well

Telephone: 024 7623 7578