Tonbridge History

 Advice for Family History researchers

We’re sorry, but Tonbridge Historical Society does not hold any material directly useful in tracing individual Tonbridge people – unless they were particularly notable in the town in some way. Nor do we have the resources to undertake research on your behalf. We may, however be able to help with queries about specific buildings or locations in the area, or local events and organisations.

For Family History Research relating to Tonbridge there are several lines you can follow:

The deposited copies of the Parish Registers for Tonbridge, covering 1547-1987, and microfilms, are at the Kent History and Library Centre (formerly the ‘Centre for Kentish Studies’, and before that the ‘Kent Archive Office’) in Maidstone. The catalogue entry is P371.

Transcribed records up to 1837 (typewritten) are also held at the Society of Genealogists in London.

An alternative source of photographic copies of the Registers is any of the many Family History Centres of the Church of Latter-day Saints. Their locations are listed here. Transcribed information from the records covering 1553-1837 is on their free website www.familysearch.org.

Brief biographical information about Tonbridge people who died in the 1914-18 and 1939-45 wars can be found on the present site: World War I and World War II.

There is a very comprehensive website on The history, genealogy and topography of the Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex prior to WW2. By December 2011 its database included details of 315,171 people, 8,500 places, 613 maps, 3,036 pictures, engravings and photographs, and 214 books, all searchable from the home page or here.

Family History Societies covering the Tonbridge area are the Northwest Kent Family History Society and the Kent Family History Society. The latter has a particularly comprehensive links page detailing further sources of information.

For researchers in or visiting Tonbridge, the Local Studies collection in Tonbridge Reference Library holds Tonbridge Parish Records on microfilm for Baptisms (1586-1876), Marriages (1563-1879), Banns (1754-1949 intermittently) and Burials (1559-1890). There are also books, directories and other material relating to the history of the town, and guides to doing family history research. The local studies catalogue for the County is here. Full access to Ancestry.com is available free of charge on the computers in Kent libraries for holders of Kent Library Cards. Ancestry is a subscription service when used at home, but you can make a start at www.ancestry.co.uk/ (home page), www.trees.ancestry.co.uk/ (family tree creator) and www.ancestry.co.uk/learn/facts (last name research tool).


Finally, if you’re a newcomer to family history, the BBC’s Family History website might be a good place to start, though there are plenty of others.

Useful information can also be found on these US-based sites: http://www.homeadvisor.com/article.show.History-at-Home-A-Guide-to-Genealogy.17370.html, http://householdquotes.co.uk/ultimate-genealogy-guide/ and https://www.vodien.com/blog/education/getting-started-genealogy-web.php .



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