Family History - key sources

Indexes of Births, Marriages and Deaths
Civil registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths started in England and Wales in 1837. We hold microfiche copies of the indexes to births, marriages and deaths, 1837 to 2004. These indexes include most births, marriages and deaths giving you sufficient information to purchase a certificate with full details from a Register Office. For details on how to use the indexes and on-line sources, See our guide to BMD [link]

Census Returns
Census returns give the names, addresses, ages, occupations and places of birth of all the members of individual households, including children, servants, visitors etc., who were present on the night the census was taken. The information is not released for 100 years to ensure confidentiality, so the 1911 census is the latest one that has been released. All census records (1841-1911) are available online through Find My Past and Ancestry (subscription websites) and can be searched for free at the History Centre. We hold microfilm copies of the Hull census returns from 1841 to 1901, for which street indexes are available. See our guide to Census Records.

Burial Records
Burial records often include details of the deceased's last address, age and occupation. We hold copies of the records of the municipal cemeteries (1861 onwards) and The Hull General Cemetery (1847-1972) on microfilm. Monumental inscriptions from gravestones often give information about the deceased and other family members. The History Centre has the monumental inscriptions for The General Cemetery, and a number of volumes of Monumental Inscriptions produced by the East Yorkshire Family History Society. For further details see our guide to burial records.

Church Records
Once you get back to before civil registration was introduced in 1837 you will need to consult Parish Registers which will give you information on dates of baptisms (not births), marriages, and burials in church yards (not dates of death). Different denominations keep their own records;

Church of England at the Diocesan office at The Treasure House, Beverley (see Other archives). The Treasure House also holds some non-conformist records.

Roman Catholic parish registers are at Middlesbrough Diocesan Archives.

Many non-conformist records, Quakers and Methodists, are held at the History Centre. The History Centre also holds microfiche copies of Hull’s Holy Trinity parish registers 1554-1892 and transcripts of early registers for Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire as produced by The East Riding of Yorkshire Family History Society. For further details on our records see our guides on Non-Conformist Quakers [link] and Non-Conformist Methodists.

Street Directories
Hull History Centre holds Street Directories from 1791 up to 1968 (though there are none for 1938-1953). It should be noted that directories were not produced every year and that we do not hold a complete run of directories. Also, as they were compiled and issued by private publishing companies and primarily intended for business purposes, information is selective. See our guide to Directories [link] for further details.

Burgess Rolls, Poll Books and Electoral Registers
Burgess Rolls are early Electoral Registers and list people entitled to vote in local and national elections. It should be remembered that not every one was entitled to vote until 1928 and that only those registered to vote will be recorded. Poll Books were printed after elections and listed those who voted for each candidate, often giving the address as well. The last Poll Books produced were for the 1868 election after which the secret ballot system was introduced. The History Centre holds:

  • Hull Burgess Rolls & Electoral Registers 1835 to the present day.
    (No electoral registers were produced during WWII so there is a gap for 1940-1944)
  • Hull Poll Books 1747 to 1868

For further information see our guide to Burgess Rolls, Poll Books and Electoral Registers.
If you find your ancestor's will it can tell you a lot about their relative wealth and how they lived and it may well give details of your ancestor's relatives. The History Centre holds a microfiche index to wills proved in England and Wales from 1858 to 1943 as well as a small number of wills in the university collections. 

The Hull History Centre holds 40 local titles, with 10 main runs dating from 1787. For further information on the History of Newspapers in Hull and details of our holdings. These are mostly accessible on our microfilm readers.

International Genealogical Index (IGI)
The International Genealogical Index, maintained by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, contains millions of baptism and marriage references, compiled mainly from parish records and is easy to check as it is arranged alphabetically by name within each county. An old version of the IGI is available on microfiche at the Hull History Centre and the information is now also available on the Family Search website.

Other Sources
Other useful sources include Hospital records, school records [link] (particularly registers), records of orphanages or childrens' homes, court records, records relating to the First and Second World War, maps [link] and photographs [link] of the area your ancestors came from. Unfortunately almost no workhouse records have survived in Hull.