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Search for documents

Every day, more and more of our collections are added to our online catalogue. You can search by keyword, collection name or document reference and even order digital copies from your search results.

Search the Northamptonshire Archives collections online

Important things to note:

  • The items are added with their descriptions exactly as they appear in our card indexes and catalogues within the archive
  • Formatting matters - you may need to try different formats for document references, for example:with or without a '/' symbol
  • The catalogue does not contain every item that we hold. Please use the enquiry form if you can't find what you are looking for
Search the catalogue

Order a document before you visit

Fill in our enquiry form to pre-order our documents before you visit the Northamptonshire Record Office:

Make an enquiry

Frequently asked questions

Select the 'search' tab at the top of the screen. The best way to search is to use the 'simple search' option. Type your search term into the 'search' box (this could be a name or place) then click on the search button at the bottom of the screen.

​Searching using the reference number only works if you enter it in the correct format. A space or full stop within the reference number can mean that the catalogue won't display any results and therefore, we do not recommend a search by reference number.

​Once the list of results is being displayed, you can click on each title to see its details.

​You can filter your search by date, place and so on from the search results page. 

To do this, select the 'search in results' option on the left had side of the screen. You will then be given a new search screen that will search within your filtered criteria (you can see your first search term at the bottom of the screen). Add an additional search term into the 'search' box and select the search button again.

​On the left hand side of the screen you will see options for the display view. The list view will show all of the results in a simple list - if you click on one of the titles you will see a description of the document.

The hierarchy is where a document comes from - it gives the name of the overall collection and where the document sits within this collection. You can choose the hierarchy view on the left hand side of the screen, this will show you the hierarchy with your results.​ This will not alter how the highlighted item is shown under the details tab.

​Scroll down to the hierarchy browser below the document description on the results page. Select the blue cross next to the document group, this will show you all of the documents in the group. You can select any of the titles.

​​The levels are the way in which the collections are organised:

  • fonds - the whole of any collection 
  • a series - a range of documents within the overall collection which are arranged together based on the activity
  • an item - the smallest archival unit, for example a letter, photograph or volume.

 

The important thing to remember is that if you wish to see the main catalogue for a series then you need to look for the fonds label. For example, 'Stanion' will appear in many collections as a place name (Brigstock parish records, ZB collections, Montagu of Boughton collection, Pictorial collections etc) but if you were particularly interested in the Stanion parish records then you would need to look out for the fonds level for those records (298P).

​Below the title you will see a reference number - make note of the reference number, the document title and date.

Please fill in our enquiry form to contact us and organise your visit. We will get your document ready for when you visit.

​​You can find more information on how to order documents on our orders and payments page. 

​Not all items are suitable for photocopying, so you will need to fill in our enquiry form in order to get a quote. We will assess the suitability of the original document for copying and let you know how to proceed.

​The search tab will retain information from previous searches until you clear the search form. 

When you wish to start a new search use the clear button at the bottom of the search screen to clear all of your previous searches.

​Whilst many of our collections have been entered into the online catalogue, it does not yet represent all of our holdings.

Check that you have spelt the term correctly and try other search terms. If you still can't find the item, please fill in our enquiry form​.

External sites to help expand your research


Free subscription to sites such as Find my Past and Ancestry
Only available from Northamptonshire Archives or Libraries internet access.

GOV.UK: Find a will
Find wills from after 1951 (a fee is charged)

Kithead Trust
Run by volunteers, this charity may be able to help trace early vehicle registration information.

Northants FHS
Full of useful information, knowledge and skills.

National Archives
Details of documents held all around the UK.

Northampton Borough Council - a guide to cemeteries

Workhouses
Detailed resources about workhouses around the UK.

Rushden Heritage
Full of resources about Rushden.

Northamptonshire - Britain's best surprise
Lots of information for those planning to visit the county.

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