Local studies and family history

Local studies and family history


On Level 6 of City Library, you'll find our Family History information, Local Studies Collections, study space and PC access.

You are welcome to use our stock for your own in-person research.

Heritage Research

If you have an enquiry regarding our collection and items we hold, please do complete the online heritage enquiry form and we'll respond within 5 working days, depending on demand.

If we're unable to help with your enquiry, we may be able to conduct research for you.

We can conduct a limited research service for a fee, please see details of what research we'll undertake.

We'll undertake up to 2 hours of research at £30.00 per hour. Payment can be made in person or via the telephone. To arrange telephone payment please email us heritage@newcastle.gov.uk, or call us on 0191 2787878, your request will be passed to the Heritage Team, and they will call you to take payment.

We’re sorry that we cannot undertake in-depth Family History Research.  

About Local Studies

We have the largest collection of local studies and family history materials in the Northeast. We collect current local material.  Everyone is welcome to visit us and look at any of the collection but, as many items are rare or irreplaceable, some of the collection is not on public display.  To see anything, just make your selection from our catalogues or ask a member of staff.

Historical Maps

Some of our historic maps of Newcastle have been digitised and can be found on our Flickr Collection 

Researching your family history in Newcastle

We have lots of resources to help you trace your family history. 

Monumental Inscriptions for Northumberland and Durham
Parish Register Transcripts and Indexes
Electoral Registers and Poll Books for Newcastle
Census Returns for Newcastle 1841 - 1901

You may also find useful information at the Archive services for Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.

We have useful guides about Newcastle and researching your family history.

Local Maps
History of Newcastle
Robert Burns: his connections to Newcastle and the North East
River Tyne Crossings and Newcastle Bridges
Town Moor Hoppings
Origins of the name Geordie
Notable dates connected with Newcastle during World War II
Tracing your Ancestors in the North East
Tracing your Wartime Ancestors
Tracing Criminal Ancestors

  • Directories from 1778 onwards
  • Access to websites Ancestry and Find My Past
Historical Newspapers

The Local Studies collection contains 69 different local newspaper titles from 1710 to the present day, consisting of approximately 2000 bound volumes and 1500 reels of microfilm.

General Register Office Indexes

City Library holds the most recent General Register Office Indexes, an essential tool for family history research.  The indexes cover all civilly registered life events from 1837, such as births, deaths, marriages and civil partnerships.  We also have the adoption index and overseas life events.  The indexes are in fiche format and can be viewed on Level 6 of the City Library, find out what you can view in person.  For further information about the indexes and how to apply for certificates please visit the General Register Office.  Certificates for births, deaths or marriages which happened in Newcastle upon Tyne can be ordered online from the Registrars Office at the Civic Centre.

The Photographic collection

The Local Studies photographic collection consists of over 80,000 photographs, prints and postcards representing the social, recreational and working lives of the region, from the birth of photography in the 1850s to the present day.  They can be viewed on Level 6 of the City Library.  

View archive images online

Over 7,000 historic photographs of Newcastle and the surrounding areas from our collection are online on Flickr. The images include nearly 1,000 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 1960s and 1970s.  They reflect his interest in the streets and people of Newcastle, especially central Newcastle and the suburbs of Heaton and Jesmond.

Ordering a Photograph 

You can request a copy of a photograph in our collection, they can be provided in either digital or hard copy formats.  Find details of our charges. 

Ordering and pre-payment can be made at the City Library on Level 6, payment can be made by cash, cheque or card, alternatively contact us with any queries.

Newcastle Photo Archive (formerly West Newcastle Picture History Collection)

West Newcastle Picture History Collection has changed its name to Newcastle Photo Archive.

The Archive at the Local History Hub at the West End Library contains over 21,000 photographs and documents relating to the history and heritage of West Newcastle from the 19th Century to the present day.  The city centre and all suburbs are included, from Arthurs Hill and Elswick in the East, Newburn and Throckley in the West and Kenton and Fawdon in the North.

Bespoke displays of photographs are maintained at five of our libraries: Blakelaw, Cruddas Park, Kenton, Newburn and West End. Once the rebuild of the Outer West Library is complete a display will return there too.

You can now find out more about the Archive and see many of their images by accessing their website.

For further information or specific requests contact:

The Secretary

Newcastle Photo Archive

127 Picktree Lodge


Co Durham

DH3 4DQ 

Email: newcastlephotoarchive@gmail.com

Please note that the collection is open to visitors at the Local History Hub in the West End Library on Mondays from 10am to 4pm.

North East Heritage Group

North East Heritage connects you to the local history collections of Public Libraries and Archives in the North East of England.

Heritage and local history is about our culture, our social history, our economy and our environment. The importance of archive collections cannot be overestimated and many of the records are vital to an understanding of a community’s cultural history and heritage. Heritage and local history collections are accessible to present and future generations, bestowing a sense of identity and pride.

Lahav Jewish Heritage Project

Jewish Heritage Project

Celebrating the history of the Jewish community in North East England in memory of Ron and Kath Lahav.

Newcastle Libraries and Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums are collaborating on a joint project to collect, preserve and celebrate the history of the Jewish community in North East England. Our vision is to preserve and celebrate the history of the Jewish community - how its members came to the North East and the important contributions that they have made to regional life.

For more information on how you can help preserve your community’s heritage. Contact info@discoverymuseum.org.uk

Jewish Life on Tyneside 

A Jewish Life on Tyneside exhibition was held at City Library about which we created a film, providing a lasting record for the local collection.  

Lahav Jewish Collection

As part of the Lahav project we are creating a Jewish book collection at the City Library. The collection includes items from our Local Studies collections about the history of the North East Jewish Community and books about the national and international Jewish Communities.  There are books to borrow and items to view. See our Lahav Jewish Collection book list and our Lahav Jewish Heritage Collection on eBooks.

You can arrange viewing of an item from the Newcastle Collection in advance, giving us at least 5 days' notice.

Contact us

  • email: information@newcastle.gov.uk
  • phone 0191 277 4100

Visitor Information

To find out about visiting our great City, please go to the NewcastleGateshead website where you can find information about staying in the area and what's on.

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