Whilst there are many books, guides and articles on researching your family history and in particular starting your research, this page attempts to bring together some information that is specific to researching in Lincolnshire.

Location.    Lincolnshire covers a large geographical area on the eastern side of the England, bordered in the north by the Humber River and the East and West Ridings of Yorkshire; to the west lies the River Trent and the counties of Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Rutland; and the counties of Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire are to the south. On the eastern side lies Norfolk and the long coastline of the Wash and the North Sea (see map). Unlike some counties, there has been very little in the way of boundary changes since medieval times.

Parishes.   There are over 650 parishes in Lincolnshire; most are relatively small in size compared to other counties. The Lincolnshire FHS produces a gazetteer. which is a useful tool in locating places in the county, and identifying their Registration Districts, Deaneries, etc.

Deaneries.   Anglican Church records of Baptism, Marriage and Burial are organised by Deanery and there were 23 Deaneries in 19th Century Lincolnshire. The majority of the Parish Registers and Bishop's Transcripts survive and are stored at the Lincolnshire Archives in Lincoln. The Lincolnshire FHS has produced a number of transcripts and indexes. Please see Publications page for further details.

The Isle of Axholme.   The area known as the Isle of Axholme is part of Lincolnshire, but is geographically separated by the River Trent. Until recently, it has been represented by the Isle of Axholme Family History Society, now sadly defunct. A useful amount of information covering the Isle is available in our Resource Centre.

Administrative Areas.   The county was divided into three administrative areas - Lindsey, Kesteven and Holland and these areas developed into councils until the 1974 local government reorganisation when they became a single county council.

One notable change to the internal boundaries is that Grimsby Registration District and Poor Law Union were created out of Caistor Poor Law Union in 1890.

Quarter Sessions were organised by the three administrative areas (Lindsey, Kesteven and Holland) and in addition certain boroughs in the county were also given the right to hold their own sessions. Boston, Grantham, Lincoln, Louth, Stamford, and Grimsby were all Quarter Sessions boroughs.

Place Names.   The researcher and visitor may be tripped up firstly by some familiar place names that are associated with other places in the world, for example in addition to the original place called Boston there are places in the county called New York, Gibraltar and Jerusalem; and also the unfamiliar pronunciation of some place names, for example Sollaby (Saltfleetby), Azleby (Aslackby) and Sprawston (Sproxton).

The Roman Heritage.   Lincolnshire has a strong Roman historical context. It was a centre of communications with both the Fosse Way and Ermine Street crossing the county. Lincoln itself was a legionary fortress and also 'colonia' (settlement area for retired legionnaires). The city was at one time the home of the famous 9th Legion (Hispano), from whence it marched south to confront the revolt led by Boudicea.

The Viking Heritage.   Having been part of the historical Danelaw area of Saxon England, Lincolnshire has many place names with Scandinavian origin, and Wapentake is a term still used.