Family History

If you are just starting researching your family history, there are some helpful websites to get you going. Try The National Archives or the BBC Family History Unity or British Genealogy. You should do this before going anywhere else.

Records of local United Reformed Churches, and Congregational, Presbyterian, and Churches of Christ congregations, usually do not contain the same biographical details as records of other denominations and information is often fragmentary.

Because each congregation was (and is) free to manage its own registers and records independently, some churches kept more detailed records than others. There is no central index or list of all the records which have been kept.

If you know that your family or ancestors were members of a particular congregation, the best place to start looking for information about them is in the registers and records of that church. Records of a congregation are held locally – usually at that church’s local County Archives or County Records Office, or sometimes at the church itself. Most County Archives now have a searchable catalogue on their websites, or you can contact them directly to see if they hold any records deposited by that church.

If you know that your family or ancestors were ministers or missionaries serving with one of the Churches – eg the Presbyterian Church, the Congregational Church, the Churches of Christ, or the URC – there might be more information about them in the records of the Church at national level. There is information on where the main national-level collections of each Church are held on our Archives page [] and all interested researchers are welcome to make an appointment to consult the collections.

If know that your family history is within these traditions, and you would like help with working out where to begin your research, please contact the Archivist:
Mrs Helen Weller
Westminster College, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0AA
Email the archivist