About Local Studies
The Newcastle Collection
General Register Office Indexes
Our Photographic Collection on Flickr
West Newcastle Picture History Collection
Fact sheets about Newcastle's history and guides to our collection
Family history and genealogy
Our research service
Established in 1884 this is the largest collection of local and family history material in the North East. We also collect current local material and index articles from newspapers about local people, places and events. Everyone is welcome to visit us and look at any of the collection but, as many items are rare or irreplaceable most of the collection is not on public display. To see anything just make your selection from our catalogues or ask a member of staff.
Monday 8:30am - 8pm
Tuesday 8:30am - 8pm
Wednesday 8:30am - 8pm
Thursday 8:30am - 8pm
Friday 8:30am - 5:30pm
Saturday 9:30am - 5:30pm
Sunday 11am - 5pm
Phone: 0191 2774100
Address: City Library, Charles Avison Building, 33 New Bridge St. West, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8AX
With the building of the new City Library the opportunity arose to display some of the treasures which belong to the people of Newcastle, reflecting their proud cultural history. The new building has facilities for storing and displaying items from the special collections in environmentally controlled conditions and a two-year Heritage Lottery Funded project provided the means to conserve and promote some of this unique material.
Download the Newcastle Collection leaflet (PDF, 825KB)
From 14 November 2011 we will hold the General Register Office Indexes which include a full set of records on births, marriages, deaths, civil partnerships, adoptions and overseas events. This new facility will make family history research easier for customers based in the north of England. The indexes will be located on level 6 of City Library, one of seven sites across England and Wales to offer a full set of records. Find out what you can view in person.
Over 6,500 historic photographs of Newcastle and the surrounding areas are online on Flickr. Help us to identify unknown locations and people or simply add our images to your favourites.
The images include nearly one thousand images from our Torday Collection. Laszlo Torday was a photographer who arrived in Tynemouth in January 1940 from Hungary and took most of his photographs of Tyneside during the 1960's and 1970's. They reflect his interest in the streets and people of Newcastle especially of central Newcastle and the suburbs of Heaton and Jesmond.
The hard copy Local Studies photograph collection consists of 80,000 photographs, prints and postcards representing the social, recreational and working lives of the region from the birth of photography in the 1850's, to the present day. You can view the collection at City Library.
The collection at West End Library contains over 19,000 photographs and documents relating to the history and heritage of West Newcastle from the 19th century to the present day. The collection covers Arhturs Hill, Benwell, Elswick, Fenham & Scotswood but also includes items relating to Denton Burn, Kenton, Lemington, Newburn, North Walbottle, Throckley & Westerhope.
Copies of images from the collection are available to purchase as photocopies or as prints.
For further information or specific requests contact:
West Newcastle Picture History Collection
West End Library
Newcastle upon Tyne
Telephone: 0191 273 6586
Please note that the collection is open to visitors on Mondays 9am - 4pm, on Thursdays 2pm - 4pm and at other times by arrangement with library staff.
- Nineteenth Century Regional Newspapers (You will be asked for a password. Please enter your Newcastle Libraries card number.)
We now have an annual subscription to the Gale/Cengage database of 19th Century Newspapers. There is access to it via every public computer across the libraries. There is also a facility for remote access at home if you have a Newcastle library card. The database includes three northern titles; The Newcastle Courant (Daily and Weekly), The Northern Liberator and the Northern Echo. It also includes a wide range of regional and some national titles, for example, The Illustrated Police News. If you are interested in family history or general historical research we think you will find this database useful and easy to use.
- Ancestry.co.uk (only accessible on computers in a library)
Ancestry Library Edition is a research tool offering the most comprehensive genealogical information available online. It has more than 4 billion names in over 4000 collections. Access to historical records such as Census Returns, Birth Marriage and Death Indexes, Passenger Lists, Military Records and much more. There are no passwords to remember and shortcuts can be found on the desktop of computers in any Newcastle library (not available through wifi).
Find My Past (only accessible on computers in a library)
Newcastle Libraries now provide free access to the Find My Past website on computers in every branch library. The site provides access to the recently released 1911 census as well as a range of other historical databases that will be of interest to family history researchers. View the databases available in Find My Past.
- Robert Burns: his connections to Newcastle and the North East (pdf, 279Kb)
- River Tyne Crossings and Newcastle Bridges (pdf, 311Kb)
- Famous People with North East Connections (pdf, 343Kb)
- Town Moor Hoppings (pdf, 289Kb)
- Notable Dates Connected with Newcastle During World War II (pdf, 310Kb)
- Origins of the Name Geordie (pdf, 280Kb)
- History of Newcastle (pdf, 297Kb)
- Recommended reading List (pdf, 286Kb)
- Local Maps (pdf, 310Kb)
- List of historical newspapers (pdf, 375Kb)
- Tracing Your Ancestors in the North East (pdf, 317Kb)
- Tracing Your Wartime Ancestor (pdf, 239Kb)
- Tracing Criminal Ancestors (pdf, 300Kb)
We have access to the Library Edition of Ancestry.co.uk through computers at every library. You can also access the resources below at City Library:
- Monumental inscriptions for Northumberland and Durham (pdf, 296Kb)
- Parish Register Transcripts and Indexes (pdf, 101Kb)
- Electoral registers and poll books for Newcastle (pdf, 288Kb)
- Census returns for Newcastle 1841 - 1901 (pdf, 102Kb)
- Directories from 1778 onwards
- We also hold copies of the International Genealogical Index and St. Catherine's House Index of Births, Marriages and Deaths.
- Certificates for births, deaths or marriages which happened in Newcastle upon Tyne can be ordered online from the Register Office at the Civic Centre. Visit the Newcastle City Council Register Office webpage.
Newcastle Libraries heritage centre holds a large amount of unique and valuable material relating to the North East of England. If you are unable to visit us, we are happy to provide you with certain information on the range and dates of records that we hold. This information is free of charge.
Our research service
Our staff are able to consult a wide range of printed sources, microfilm, microfiche and original records on your behalf. We welcome enquiries on a range of subjects, including family history. If you require more extensive family history or general local research; a list of local researchers is available on our website. We will produce a written or printed record of the information you require. Where applicable we may also provide advice on what to do next.
How much does it cost?
The research service costs £30 per hour - up to a maximum of two hours. We will try to give you an accurate estimate of the amount of time needed to undertake your research. You can set a time limit on the research by telling us that you only wish us to undertake one hours work. Payment for research is required in advance.
If your reply requires photocopies the first five copies will be included in the fee. Any further copies will be charged at 20p per copy. This amount will be collected after the enquiry is completed.
How do I apply?
You can make your advance payment by cheque or by credit/debit card. To apply by post download and print an order form and include this with your payment. Download a research application form (PDF, 200KB). To apply by phone and pay via credit/debit card phone 0191 277 4100.
What happens if you don't find what I want?
Although every effort will be made to find the information for you, the charge will still be implemented if we are not able to do this. This is because our staff will still have spent the required time searching for the information.