Archives: what’s here

The Plymouth and West Devon Record Office holds records in many forms relating to many different subjects and organisations. You can find many types of collections, including maps, photographs, correspondence and more.

Undertake research

  • Historical map of Stoke showing a built up housing area and reservoirLocal, family or house history can be researched here.
  • Look at family history sources online for free via ‘Find My Past’ and ‘Ancestry’ websites.
  • Engage the services of a private researcher.
  • Access our famous ‘All Search’ database (not available online) which has over 1.3 million names of individuals, in the Plymouth and West Devon area, discovered in a variety of documents held at the record office including:
    • Church baptisms, marriages and burials
    • Royal Naval Hospital burials
    • Plymouth Prison registers
    • Coroner’s inquests
    • Free Trade Association register
    • 17th century plague rate
    • Some electoral rolls
    • And many others…

Access collections

  • Look at maps and photographs.*
  • Order copies of documents or photograph them yourself (copyright regulations and fees apply).
  • Search our online catalogue (descriptions of our collections and documents) for free onsite or remotely

* As part of our ongoing work to prepare our collections for our relocation to The Box, some of our photographic collections are being moved off site and will no longer be available to view in our search room from 30 May 2018. Where a collection has been digitised, the digital images of this material will still be available to use. Please contact us if you are planning to undertake research involving photographic material and we can advise you on the availability of specific items.

Find out more about the archives or deposit archives

  • Request group talks and tours.
  • Ask questions relating to our collections.
  • Discuss depositing records with us for permanent preservation. Please note that from January 2018 to January 2021, we will cease taking in new deposits and no new documents or records will be accepted until we have completed our move to The Box, Plymouth.

Unable to visit us or are pushed for time?
What can be ordered remotely?

A man walking between large racks holding archival boxesIf you are unable to visit the office in person, you can:

  • Use the services of one of our private researchers to search through records for you. Due to staff numbers, we cannot do research on your behalf, although we will advise which sources might be useful.
  • Look at the descriptions of the documents for free through our online catalogue. You can then pre-order documents prior to your visit to the office, to save time.
  • Provide us with precise reference numbers for up to ten documents to be copied (search the online catalogue first) and we can supply a quote (by email or letter). We will only copy originals that are no bigger than A3 size.
  • Provide us with exact names, dates and parishes to order copies of up to ten entries from the parish registers.

Alternatively, most of these can now be accessed through the Find My Past website (but not later than approximately 1911).