Helpers

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'Helpers descriptions' are descriptions of collections and archives held by University of London colleges and institutions which tell you what you can use those collections for.

Typically archival descriptions are written by academics for other academics, and describe what is in the collection and leave it up to the reader to decide whether that collection will be of any use to them. There is a more in-depth description of what Helpers descriptions are, and a short discussion about how to get the best out of this site. If you are new to this site we recommend that you read both of these before continuing.

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Collection name Dates Themes Uses Brief description
Account book of debtors (Penrith and Whitehaven)
Link to full record
1830 - 1883
  • Genealogical data
  • Local history
  • Family history
This document contains lists of debtors in Penrith and Whitehaven, Cumberland, with the amounts owed and the dates of payment
Account book, Chippenham, 1792-1799
Link to full record
1792 - 1799
  • Contextualising information
  • Local history
  • Family history
This source is an account book of a private bank, probably that of James Montagu of Chippenham, Wiltshire.
Account book, farm labourers
Link to full record
1766 - 1771
  • Occupations
  • Contextualising information
  • Community life
  • Agricultural history
  • Family history
  • Local history
A weekly wages book for 1766-1771, probably for a small estate in Wales or the Welsh Borders, but with no geographical information and no index.
Account book, farm work (Stockbridge, Hampshire, 1816)
Link to full record
1816 - 1816
  • Contextualising information
  • Agricultural history
  • Local history
This manuscript volume details the weekly payments made to labourers, boys and women for work on what appears to be a Hampshire farm in 1816.
Account book, Lancashire farm
Link to full record
1810 - 1826
  • Contextualising information
  • Agricultural history
  • Local history
This is an account book for a farm near Caton, Lancashire, recording a wide variety of agricultural and pastoral activity.
Account book, Sussex farm
Link to full record
1811 - 1821
  • Contextualising information
  • Local history
  • Agricultural history
This is an account book for a farm near Funtington, Sussex, giving a wide variety of expenses incurred as well as profits.
Account book, Warwickshire farm
Link to full record
1625 - 1675
  • Contextualising information
  • Pre 1750
  • Local history
This manuscript volume contains the accounts of a farm in Warwickshire, apparently near Bedworth, probably from the period 1625-1675.
Account of an illegal coinage trial (Birmingham, 1858-1859)
Link to full record
1858 - 1859
  • Crime and criminality
  • Local history
An account of the discovery, trial and conviction of Antonio Calvocorressi and Thomas Moss for causing Turkish coin to be illegally made in Birmingham, 1858.
Accounts and rentals for estates in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire
Link to full record
1827 - 1840
  • Occupations
  • Contextualising information
  • Community life
  • Agricultural history
  • Family history
  • Local history
A Rental book for estates in Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire, including accounts kept by Dr John Humphries for Thomas Lodington Fairfax, Esq. Tenants names and location are provided, plus the amounts of rent due and paid. General expenses for running estate are included. There's no index, but this rental book would be useful for both local and family history research
Agreeable United Fair Friendly Society (rules and orders of the Agreeable United Fair Friendly Society for the relief of sickness, old age and infirmity)
Link to full record
1784 - 1784
  • Genealogical data
  • Community life
  • Women's history
  • Family history
  • Local history
The rules of a local 'mutual assurance society' based in Holborn, composed entirely of women, this source would give you some insight into women's long term concerns in this period.
Agricultural Returns (1892-1893)
Link to full record
1892 - 1893
  • Contextualising information
  • Agricultural history
  • Local history
This is a printed table, produced by the Board of Agriculture, setting out the total acreage under various types of crop and the numbers of various types of livestock in England, Wales and Scotland with breakdowns for 1892 and 1893.
ANTONIE Family (Britain in 1751)
Link to full record
1751 - 1751
  • Contextualising information
  • Local history
A manuscript volume entitled ‘Memoranda on the State and Resources of Great Britain. 1751.', which includes notes on various counties.
Articles on railway excursions
Link to full record
1842 - 1843
  • Contextualising information
  • Local history
'Tourist guides' to places that might be visited by rail on day trips from London in 1843
Assistant Masters Association
Link to full record
1898 - 1978
  • Occupations
  • Contextualising information
  • Family history
Contextualising information about teachers in private schools. This collection will not be useful if you are trying to trace a relative who was a pupil in a private school.
Benevolent Annuity Company
Link to full record
1771 - 1787
  • Genealogical data
  • Women's history
  • Family history
The Wives' certificate book for the Benevolent Annuity Company in Dublin. This is a very valuable family history resource if you have ancestors in Dublin. For each entry several pieces of genaelogical data are recorded. It is very rare to find this much information about women recorded in the 18th century.
Blank's Charity dole book (Lutton, Lincolnshire)
Link to full record
1818 - 1846
  • Occupations
  • Contextualising information
  • Women's history
  • Family history
Dole book listing the amounts of money distributed to individual paupers of Lutton, Lincs, each year from 1818 to 1846. No index.
Bridges, George (The Smugglers Defeated)
Link to full record
1739 - 1739
  • Contextualising information
  • Pre 1750
  • Crime and criminality
  • Local history
This signed holograph document, proposing methods to counter smuggling in Ireland, describes the illicit trade in wool, tea, brandy and other goods and was submitted to both Houses of Parliament in 1739.
British Families Education Service: Organisational records
Link to full record
1947 - 2000
  • Occupations
  • Mobility
  • Military history
  • Contextualising information
  • Family history
Rich contextualising information about teachers who schooled the children of British servicemen and women.
British Linen Company (subscription list)
Link to full record
1746 - 1746
  • Occupations
  • Contextualising information
  • Pre 1750
  • Family history
Charter of the British Linen Company and manuscript list of subscribers in Edinburgh and London.
Brougham Papers
Link to full record
1800 - 1932
  • Correspondence
  • Contextualising information
  • Family history
  • Local history
An enormous correspondence collection of about 60,000 letters to the Brougham family (mostly to Henry Peter Brougham, who was Lord Chancellor 1830 -- 1834). All the letters are catalogued by sender. While some of the letters were from dignitaries and the upper social strata of the time, many are from commoners asking for his help or advice. This correspondence is a valuable family history resource as the cataloguing makes it very easy to find if your ancestor wrote to the Broughams, and the letter they wrote is likely to contain an address and other useful contextualising information. The collection also contain a lot of information about Westmorland (where the Broughams lived) and may therefore be a useful local history tool for those interested in Westmorland.
BURNETT, John (wages and strikes, c1892)
Link to full record
1892 - 1892
  • Contextualising information
  • Occupations
  • Local history
  • Family history
This source includes notes by John Burnett, a member of the Board of Trade, concerning the reduction of wages associated strikes in the mining, shipbuilding, metal and textile trades in various parts of the country c1892.
Canal Acts, Bills and Surveys (1714-1774)
Link to full record
1714 - 1774
  • Contextualising information
  • Pre 1750
  • Local history
This volume of manuscripts and maps contains 16 items relating to river navigation and canals connecting rivers. Places and rivers mentioned include the Medway, Penshurst, Tunbridge, Edenbridge, Lewes, the Ouse (Sussex), Barcomb, the Aire, Wakefield, the Dun, Leeds, Selby and the Calder.
Castle Wemyss Estate papers, Jamaica
Link to full record
1802 - 1845
  • Mobility
  • Contextualising information
  • Family history
Papers relating to the Castle Wemyss sugar estate in Jamaica between 1802 and 1845. They include information on the slaves who worked the estate. If you have a relative you believe may have been a slave in Jamaica during this period then this archive may provide some additional information about them.
CHAPMAN, Sidney (The Strike in the London Boot Trade, 1884)
Link to full record
1884 - 1884
  • Contextualising information
  • Occupations
  • Local history
This source is a paper entitled The Strike in the London Boot Trade, 1884, written by Sidney Chapman, the solicitor to the Boot and Shoe Trades Protection Society.
Charles Booth
Link to full record
1886 - 1903
  • Occupations
  • Contextualising information
  • Family history
  • Local history
Large archive giving very good contextualising information for both family and local historians investigating late 19th Century London. Excellent online surrogate. Particularly interesting for its information about womens' employment and religious beliefs.
Chichester canal speech (c1605)
Link to full record
1605 - 1605
  • Contextualising information
  • Pre 1750
  • Local history
This volume contains a transcript of a speech by the Recorder of Chichester to King James VI and I on the occasion of that monarch's visit to the city.
College of Preceptors
Link to full record
1847 - 1945
  • Occupations
  • Contextualising information
  • Family history
Contextualising information about teachers who predominantly taught in private schools, between the mid 1800s and 1940s.
Council for Legal Education Exam Performance Records and Exemption Case Books
Link to full record
1861 - 1957
  • Occupations
  • Educational history
  • Genealogical data
  • Family history
The Bar exam records of the Council of Legal Education. For each student their exam score is recorded along with small amounts of contextualising information such as the relevant Inn of Court at which they studied. (Note that candicates' addresses are not recorded.) This collection may be useful if you have a relative who you can find very little detail about other than that they were in the legal profession. It may give you a small amount of contextualising information which will enable you to move your research on.
Customs account of London
Link to full record
1672 - 1672
  • Contextualising information
  • Pre 1750
  • Local history
This is a summary of customs dues paid by several merchants on various products imported to and exported from the port of London between Lady Day and midsummer of 1672.
Darley Estate, Yorkshire (1813-1826)
Link to full record
1813 - 1826
  • Contextualising information
  • Local history
This manuscript is an account book for an estate at Darley, Yorkshire. It lists the amounts paid for materials and for labour during various repairs and other tasks undertaken around the estate.
David Hylton Thomas
Link to full record
1854 - 1933
  • Educational history
  • Contextualising information
  • Local history
Information about 'industrial' or 'reformatory' schools. This archive is particularly interesting as most, if not all, of these schools have now been closed, and therefore this may be the only remaining source of information about particular schools.
David Medd Archive and the Photographic Archive of the Architects and Building Branch, Ministry of Education and successors
Link to full record
1949 - 1985
  • Educational history
  • Pictorial history
  • Contextualising information
  • Local history
Two archival collections of architects drawings and photos of almost all state schools built in post-war England and Wales. The photos show the progress of schools being built and therefore may form a very useful local history tool.
EDMONSTONE, Sir Archibald (Sir Archibald Edmonstone's estate ledgers)
Link to full record
1740 - 1783
  • Genealogical data
  • Community life
  • Pre 1750
  • Family history
  • Local history
Rental ledgers from Ulster in the late 18th century. Only likely to be of use to family history researchers wishing to find evidence of the existence of an ancestor.
Enclosure Commissioners for Luddington and Garthorpe
Link to full record
1796 - 1803
  • Contextualising information
  • Community life
  • Agricultural history
  • Local history
This is the Minute book of the Enclosure Commissioners for for Luddington and Garthorpe (Lincs), covering the period 1796-1803, and includes the relevant Act of Parliament (printed) and a record (manuscript) of the commissioners' meetings and resolutions. For local historians, it provides a fascinating record of the process of enclosure
English and Bristol Channels Ship Canal Company (list of subscribers)
Link to full record
1825 - 1825
  • Genealogical data
  • Family history
A list of subscribers to the English and Bristol Channels Ship Canal Company, giving name and addresses of 600 subscribers. This collection may be useful if you know you have a relative who may have been involved in this sort of project. It may give you a small amount of contextualising information which will enable you to move your research on.
FERGUSON, John (account books of textile manufacturing company Robert Ferguson & Son)
Link to full record
1807 - 1827
  • Genealogical data
  • Family history
Account books with many client names listed. This list is of use to family historians who suspect they may have relatives in the Carlisle area and cannot find any more information about them. It may give you a small amount of genealogical data which will enable you to move your research on.
Friendly Society of Moffat
Link to full record
1800 - 1800
  • Contextualising information
  • Community life
  • Local history
This manuscript gives the rules according to which the Friendly Society instituted at Moffat in the Southern Uplands of Scotland in 1800 operated and illustrates the values of local people.
FULLER, Alfred (original documents relating to London and Middlesex)
Link to full record
1597 - 1774
  • Occupations
  • Contextualising information
  • Pre 1750
  • Local history
This is a collection of property documents (title deeds etc) containing lists of property owners. It has a scattered chronological and geographical basis, with various internal indexes to the collections by place, county and date.
Gough family
Link to full record
1574 - 1832
  • Contextualising information
  • Pre 1750
  • Family history
  • Local history
An account of the manors and other properties purchased by the Gough family of Wolverhampton, 1574-1832, together with partial details of the family's descent.
HANBURY, William (topographical descriptions)
Link to full record
1750 - 1750
  • Contextualising information
  • Local history
This manuscript volume, entitled ‘Britannia’, contains topographical descriptions of places in England and Wales.
International Law Association Membership Records
Link to full record
1873 - 1938
  • Occupations
  • Genealogical data
  • Family history
A list of members of the International Law Association. This collection may be useful if you have a relative who you can find very little detail about other than that they were in the legal profession. It may give you a small amount of genealogical data which will enable you to move your research on. It may invaluable though as its lists members from mainland Europe in the 1920s and 30s, and may be the only remaining record of their addresses.
Land tax commissioners
Link to full record
1779 - 1779
  • Occupations
  • Genealogical data
  • Political history
  • Family history
  • Local history
London land tax commissioners, list of 104 names and addresses. A roll with printed oaths of allegiance and supremacy and 104 manuscript signatures and addresses of the Commissioners for the city of London for 1779. This is likely to be useful for family history and to those interested in both the collection of the tax within London and the political history of the period.
Legal documents relating to Kent and Sussex
Link to full record
1588 - 1814
  • Contextualising information
  • Pictorial history
  • Pre 1750
  • Family history
  • Local history
A large volume of legal documents (deeds, mortgages, wills, etc) from Kent and Sussex, some of which are very early. This would be of value to Kent and Sussex local historians. There are hundreds of people referred to in the volume and therefore it may of use to family historians who know they had relatives in Kent and Sussex, although there is no name index.
Legal papers relating to estates in Jamaica (documents relating to Stephen Drew's Jamaican Tontine)
Link to full record
1805 - 1836
  • Contextualising information
  • Community life
  • Family history
An extensive correspondence concerning subscriptions to a 'tontine' (a money making subscription scheme) to establish an estate in Jamaica. This would be of value to a family historian who knows that they have ancestors who may have been involved in these sort of projects.
Licences to beg, Norfolk
Link to full record
1583 - 1593
  • Occupations
  • Contextualising information
  • Pre 1750
  • Local history
A collection of licences to beg in Norfolk. This collection would give a local historian with an interest in Norfolk a very interesting picture of the underbelly of 16th century society not often seen in historical collections.
List of Customs officers in England and Wales
Link to full record
1675 - 1675
  • Occupations
  • Genealogical data
  • Pre 1750
  • Family history
  • Local history
A list of names, salaries and places of employment for customs officials. This list may be of use to family historians who believe that they had a relative who worked at a port.
London and Birmingham Railway (porters)
Link to full record
1837 - 1837
  • Mobility
  • Occupations
  • Contextualising information
  • Family history
  • Local history
This is a list of applicants for the post of Railway Porter. If one of these applicants was an ancestor of yours, you could use this source to explore their career history.
Lovat and Cromarty Estates (report of rentals and tenants)
Link to full record
1755 - 1755
  • Contextualising information
  • Agricultural history
  • Family history
  • Local history
Rental agreement for the tenants of the Lovat estates. Useful to local historians, and gives some good contextualising information about the tenants, so may be of use to family historians.
Lucien Wolf Collection
Link to full record
1290 - 1930
  • Jewish history
  • Pre 1750
  • Contextualising information
  • Family history
  • Local history
The research notes, manuscripts, press cuttings, transciptions and other general ephemera of Lucien Wolf, who gathered a huge amount of material about Jewish life and history in Britain. The collection contains extensive notes on the genealogies of about 100 Jewish families, several of which are traced into the 16th Century. There is a great amount of contextualising information about Jewish life, and the collection contains many hand written lists of Jewish names that Wolf discovered in various old documents and registers. There is also much information about areas with a large Jewish population, and therefore may be of interest to local historians.
Medbourne, account of cow pastures
Link to full record
1720 - 1780
  • Contextualising information
  • Community life
  • Agricultural history
  • Family history
  • Local history
This account of inhabitants of Medbourne who could graze cattle on the town's pastures probably dates from the later 1700s and would be useful to both family and local historians.
Medical Examinations in connection with the Colonies and Protectorates
Link to full record
1898 - 1919
  • Mobility
  • Genealogical data
  • Family history
Medical records of people who emigrated to the colonies between 1898 and 1919. If you have a relative you can't trace during this period, then this archive may show where they went. The records also hold a small amount of information about the interviewees' immediate relatives.
Methodist Missionary Society, Council for World Mission (formerly the London Missionary Society), China Inland Mission and 140 other missionary collections
Link to full record
1790 - 1950
  • Occupations
  • Community life
  • Mobility
  • Women's history
  • Contextualising information
  • Family history
Very rich contextualising information about missionaries in the 19th and 20th centuries. If you know you had a relative who was a missionary then this will be a very valuable resource. It is particularly useful as it provides an excellent resource for womens' history.
National Union of Women Teachers
Link to full record
1906 - 1962
  • Occupations
  • Women's history
  • Contextualising information
  • Family history
Extremely extensive archive giving contextualising information about women teachers.
NAYLOR, Francis Hare (Francis Hare Naylor's accounts book)
Link to full record
1736 - 1772
  • Occupations
  • Genealogical data
  • Community life
  • Pre 1750
  • Agricultural history
  • Family history
  • Local history
The accounts of Francis Hare Naylor of Hurstmonceux, Sussex, which list profits from rent, and well as money gained from various other activities he was involved in. Useful to local historians interested in this area of Sussex. Many tenants are named, as well as locals who had business dealings with Naylor, therefore this could supply family historians with evidence of a relative who lived in this area.
Parliamentary papers relating to royal grants (1690-1702)
Link to full record
1685 - 1702
  • Contextualising information
  • Community life
  • Pre 1750
  • Crime and criminality
  • Political history
  • Family history
  • Local history
A bound volume containing summaries arranged by date, with some full transcriptions, of grants of money, land and goods and appeals for grants. This book of grants could be used to follow up at least three varieties of historical lead if you're interested in local or family history.
PARRY, Lawton (survey of Lawton Parry's Estates)
Link to full record
1797 - 1806
  • Contextualising information
  • Community life
  • Pictorial history
  • Agricultural history
  • Local history
Descriptions and maps of farms and villages in Salop, Denbigh and Montgomery at the turn of the 19th century. Useful to local historians with an interest in that area.
Pattishall Manor, Northamptonshire (proceedings of a Court Baron)
Link to full record
1716 - 1716
  • Genealogical data
  • Pre 1750
  • Family history
  • Local history
A small court roll listing tenants in Pattishall. Useful to local historians with an interest in the area, and the list of tenants may also be of interest to family historians.
Russell Street fire, compensation requests
Link to full record
1672 - 1672
  • Genealogical data
  • Pre 1750
  • Family history
This manuscript volume concerns a petition submitted to the Justices of the Peace by named owners of houses and goods that were damaged by a fire in Russell Street in 1672.
Senate House Palaeography Collection
Link to full record
600 - 2000
  • Pre 1750
  • Family history
  • Local history
This is one of the finest open access teaching and research collections for the study of Western manuscripts in the world. The collection supports the study of manuscripts in Greek, Latin and Western European languages.
Sir Francis Galton -- Data and notes on Fingerprints and personal identification
Link to full record
1881 - 1910
  • Genealogical data
  • Family history
As part of Sir Francis Galton's studies into heredity, he collected thousands of fingerprints, and in many cases a 'schedule of family groups' to go with the fingerprints. These schedules contain genealogical data: father's name, mother's maiden name, their children, their birthdates, and the spouses (if any) of the children. This collection may be a good way of collecting genealogical data about relatives you know to have existed, but cannot be traced on the census, etc.
Sir Francis Galton -- Data and notes on twin studies
Link to full record
1874 - 1875
  • Contextualising information
  • Family history
As part of Sir Francis Galton's studies into heredity, he sent a circular to people who had twins in their families asking about how the twins had developed in life, and also for details of other family members. This collection contains the letters he received in response to this circular, and his notes about them. If you know that there were twins in your family in the mid 1800s then you may be able to find quite in depth contextualising detail about the twins themselves, and some genealogical detail about their close relatives.
Sir Francis Galton -- Data for 'Noteworthy Families'
Link to full record
1904 - 1906
  • Contextualising information
  • Family history
As part of Sir Francis Galton's studies into whether genius was hereditary, he collected data about families with 'noteworthy' members. Galton selected people with entries in Who's Who and sent them questionaires about their families and the occurence of people with 'high ability' in them. If you have relatives who you know to have been in Who's Who around 1904, then you may find more biographical details about their near relatives here.
Sir Francis Galton -- Notebooks on 'Records of Family Faculties'
Link to full record
1883 - 1884
  • Contextualising information
  • Family history
As part of Sir Francis Galton's studies into heredity, he offered prizes to members of the public who returned to him detailed records about their families. His published studies were anonymised, but this collection contains notes made about the data he collected, which are not anonymous. The data he recorded seems a little eccentric to modern eyes (for example, Galton studied whether his subjects were good or bad tempered) but if you know you have a relative who may have taken part in this study, then you will be able to find very interesting contextualising detail about them.
Society of Friends (family records)
Link to full record
1792 - 1850
  • Mobility
  • Occupations
  • Genealogical data
  • Community life
  • Family history
A selection of biographical documents prepared by the Society of Friends for members of their church. Useful for Family history, the selection comprises two marriage certificates, thirteen birth certificates, two probates of wills and one grant of administration of one of the deceased's effects.
Society of Public Teachers of Law Membership Directories
Link to full record
1909 - 1990
  • Occupations
  • Genealogical data
  • Family history
A list of members of the Society of Public Teachers of Law. This collection may be useful if you have a relative who you can find very little detail about other than that they taught law. It may give you a small amount of contextualising information which will enable you to move your research on.
ST GEORGE, Sir Richard St George Mansergh (maps and rent rolls of the estate of Sir Richard St George)
Link to full record
1775 - 1775
  • Contextualising information
  • Pictorial history
  • Agricultural history
  • Local history
Descriptions and maps of farms and villages in Cork, Kilkenny, and Tipperary. Useful to local historians with an interest in that area.
The photographic survey of private collections
Link to full record
1500 - 2000
  • Pictorial history
  • Contextualising information
  • Family history
Large collection of photographs of artworks held in private collections. If you have ancestors who were amongst The Great and The Good then you may be able to trace portraits of them in this collection.
Union of Graduates in Music (membership roll)
Link to full record
1948 - 1963
  • Contextualising information
  • Family history
Lists of officers and members of the Union of Graduates in Music (Incorporated), giving some further details of each individual listed.
WENTWORTH, Sir John (estate account book)
Link to full record
1700 - 1712
  • Occupations
  • Genealogical data
  • Pre 1750
  • Agricultural history
  • Family history
  • Local history
'Elias Backhouse's Accounts from 1700 to 1712' Account book for Sir John Wentworth's Yorkshire Estates, including lists of names with rents received at various times and separate lists of expenditure for various items and, sometimes, the recipients of the payments
Wills (Kent, miscellaneous)
Link to full record
1615 - 1782
  • Contextualising information
  • Pre 1750
  • Family history
Four wills from Kent and Sussex, written in 1615, 1701, 1766 and 1777.
World Education Fellowship
Link to full record
1920 - 1980
  • Occupations
  • Community life
  • Educational history
  • Contextualising information
  • Family history
  • Local history
Contextualising information about teachers in progressive schools. Probably not a useful archive for finding information about individual pupils from progressive schools. May give useful local history information about individual schools.
Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harnessmakers (membership book)
Link to full record
1685 - 1687
  • Genealogical data
  • Pre 1750
  • Family history
  • Local history
List of the members of the Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harnessmakers.

A full scan of the two documents is available in the 'Example(s) of holdings' section.

York Gate Collections
Link to full record
1700 - 1999
  • Contextualising information
  • Pre 1750
  • Community life
  • Musical history
  • Local history
  • Family History
The Royal Academy of Music's York Gate Collections include thousands of items relating to musical composers, performers and venues, which may be of interest to both local and family historians.

Glossary

The Helpers system is developed as part of the Accessing our Archival and Manuscript Heritage project, at Senate House Library, University of London, funded by the Laser Foundation and the EARL Consortium. Please see the project website for further details.