Local and family History

Fascinated by local history? Want to dig up your roots?

In libraries you can access the history of Hampshire, from the Iron Age to modern times, by using local studies books, historic maps, newspapers, magazines, photographs, pamphlets, directories and a wealth of online resources.
Access to most resources is free and library staff often have expert local knowledge.
Resources do vary between individual libraries so please check before visiting to avoid disappointment.


Visit our Reference Online collection for some of the best family history resources online.
Some sites are pay per view but vouchers can be purchased in many libraries.
Explore Hampshire’s heritage through Hantsphere's photos, illustrations and stories Themed topics include the R.M.S.Titanic, Hampshire’s pubs and everyday life in 1900.

Original records

Hampshire Archives and Local Studies holds original records for Hampshire.
The following libraries hold parish records, census returns and other information for their local area:

Books and pamphlets

Libraries have books and pamphlets on archaeology, buildings, geology,genealogy, folklore, biographies and industries, plus general histories of Hampshire’s towns and villages. There are also four special collections on railways, aviation, military and naval history.


Hampshire county and town directories from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries gives details of householders, tradesmen, local officials and more. Original or fiche copies are available in selected libraries.

Newspapers and Magazines

Many libraries have microfilm copies of the earliest Hampshire newspapers for their local area. The Times Digital Archive contains every complete page of The Times, from 1785 to 1985 and is available online in libraries.
Hampshire magazines and journals from the 19th century onwards cover a wide range of subjects including family history.

Maps, photos and illustrations

Ordnance Survey and other historic maps, postcards, prints, photographs and plans. Sketches, watercolours and illustrations of Hampshire’s past people and places.

Sound and film

The Wessex Film & Sound Archive has film and sound recordings from the whole of Hampshire.