Derby, Derbyshire Genealogy

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Guide to Derby (city) history, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

Derby cathedral.jpg

History[edit | edit source]

Derby coat of arms
Derby location in England
Flag of the county of Derbyshire

The history of Derby is somewhat obscured by the lack of written records, many of which have been destroyed. However, the town started most probably as the Roman camp of 'Derventio' that was probably at Little Chester/Chester Green, the site of the old Roman fort. Later the town was one of the 'Five Boroughs' (fortified towns) of the Danelaw, until it was captured by Lady Aethelflaed of Mercia in July 917, subsequent to which the town was annexed into the Kingdom of Mercia.

The name of Derby was probably of Anglo-Saxon origin, Djúra-bý, recorded in Anglo-Saxon as Deoraby "Village of the Deer". This popular belief is asserted by historian Tim Lambert who states, "The name Derby is derived from the Danish words deor by meaning deer settlement."

Modern research into the history and archaeology of Derby suggests that the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons probably co-existed in this central part of England, occupying two areas of land surrounded by water.

In the middle ages, Bonnie Prince Charlie of Scotland set up camp at Derby on 4 December 1745, whilst on his way south to seize the British crown. The prince called at The George Inn on Irongate, where the Duke of Devonshire had set up his headquarters, and demanded billets for his 9,000 troops. He abandoned his invasion at Swarkestone Bridge on the River Trent just a few miles south of Derby. As a testament to his belief in his cause, the prince – who on the march from Scotland had walked at the front of the column – made the return journey on horseback at the rear of the bedraggled and tired army.

While Lancashire and Yorkshire lay claim to the major efforts in spinning and weaving, Derby and Derbyshire were more likely the originators of Britain's Industrial Revolution. The first cotton spinning mill opened in Nottingham in 1770 and was driven by horses. In 1771 Richard Arkwright, Samuel Need and Jedediah Strutt built the world's first commercially successful water-powered cotton spinning mill at Cromford, Derbyshire, developing a form of power that was to be a catalyst for the Industrial Revolution.

The beginning of the next century saw Derby emerging as an engineering center with manufacturers such as James Fox, who exported machine tools to Russia. In 1840, the North Midland Railway set up its works in Derby and, when it merged with the Midland Counties Railway and the Birmingham and Derby Junction Railway, to form the Midland Railway, Derby became its headquarters.

Derby has remained a major center for both light and heavy engineering works in the UK until today. [1]

Derby is located on the central lowlands of England, and is just south of the Derbyshire uplands Peak District region.

It was not until the Bronze Age that real signs of agriculture and settlement were found in the county. In the moors of the Peak District signs of clearance, arable fields and hut circles were discovered after archaeological investigation. However today the area adjacent, and particularly to the south, of Derby city is now a fertile, important, agricultural area of Britain.

Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries (Civil)[edit | edit source]

The links to information on cemeteries for Derby follow:

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Parishes[edit | edit source]

The Derby Diocese of the Church of England is the center of parish activity. Details follow:

Derby Church House
Full Street
Derby DE1 3DR
Telephone: 01332 388650

The main church is the Derby Cathedral. A list of parishes can be found in the website below:

Nonconformists[edit | edit source]

Protestant denominations in Derby include:

  • Baptist
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Methodist
  • Independent/Congregational
  • Plymouth Brethren
  • Presbyterian
  • Roman Catholic
  • Society of Friends/Quaker
  • Unitarians
  • Wesleyan

Non-Conformist Church Records can be found at:

  • The Genealogist - $, index to non-conformist church records (does not include Anglican Church)

Non Christian groups include the following:

  • Buddhist
  • Hindu
  • Jew
  • Muslim
  • Sikh

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Birth, marriages and deaths records have been kept by government since July 1837 to the present day. Prior to that, local parishes of the Church of England, and local branches of other faiths were the only repositories of this information. There are several locations for BMD records for Derby. These follow:

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Census records for Derby can be found using the following links:

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by several locations for Derby. Please follow the links below:

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

  • The Illustrated History of Derby by Maxwell Craven
  • Derby, A History by Jill Armitage

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

A link to other local newspapers can be found at the following website:

Occupations[edit | edit source]

In the past, Derby was the center of manufacturing for such heavy industries as rail, automotive, and construction materials.

Much of this has been moved offshore at the end of the last century, but Derby still boasts a considerable base of high tech industries. Such giants as Rolls Royce (automotive and aerospace), Toyota, Nestle and JCB (agricultural and construction equipment) are located nearby. Other giants such as railway systems engineering firm Bombardier Transportation who manufacture railway rolling stock at the Derby Carriage and Wagon Works, Hero TSC, who deal with much of Sky's telephone support, and Alstom who manufacture large power plant boilers and heat exchangers are located here.

As a consequence of this, the East Midlands Airport is the second busiest in the UK next to Heathrow for freight management.[2]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Derby, Derbyshire," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, Derbyshire, accessed December 11 2016.
  2. Derbyshire Economic Partnership,, accessed 18 December 2016.