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Family History

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Discovering your ancestors is only a step away when you explore the wide range of resources available to you.

From ‘how to research your family history’ guide books to archival records, the ARK holds an extensive range of collections to enable you to trace your family history, backed up by our helpful ARK Team who are available to assist you in your research. All of our branch libraries have smaller collections of books explaining how to trace your ancestors and, of course, free access to the online subscription service, Ancestry (Library Edition). 

The archive collections are listed in the Knowsley Archives Service catalogue. The catalogue is updated on a regular basis and can be searched online here: You can search the analogue catalogue here: Archive Catalogue with Calm Links; and there is guidance on using the catalogue here:  Using the Analogue catalogue.  Alternatively, you can visit the ARK search room in person to consult the full hard copy catalogue and a limited number of ARK entries can be viewed in the National Archives’ Discovery database TNA Discovery . Contact the ARK Team for more information on our holdings.  

Researching family history documents
Searching records in the ARK

In addition to our extensive archive collections, photographs and maps, you can access a range of historic resources:                                                

  • NEWSPAPERS on microfilm
  • Parish registers on microfilm
  • Cemetery burial records on microfilm
  • Non-conformist parish registers on microfilm
  • Electoral registers
  • Civil registration indices for births, marriages and deaths on microfilm/microfiche covering both England & Wales and Ireland
  • Census returns on microfilm/microfiche
  • Hearth Tax returns, Lancashire 1662-1663, 1664, 1673 

If you wish to view resources on microfilm or microfiche, we recommend that you book in advance to make sure that there is a reader-printer machine available for you to use. For more information on the resources available, to find out about the help we can offer or to book a reader-printer, contact the ARK Team at The Kirkby Centre on 0151 443 4291.

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