The family history department is located at Central Library

Although we hold a collection of resources primarily covering Buckinghamshire, we can still help if your ancestors lived elsewhere, as we provide access to family history resources covering the whole of England and Wales.

Family history enquiries are welcomed either in person, by phone or email. Some enquiries may incur a small charge - see under family history research on the library charges webpage for details.


GRO index/civil registration - births, marriages, deaths

Electoral registers

Voters lists

Registers of Parliamentary electors were introduced by the 1832 Reform Act. A voter’s name must be on them in order to cast a vote.

They have been compiled annually since 1832, except for:

  • 1916–17 and 1940–44 inclusive during the World Wars
  • 1919–26 and 1945–49 when the registers were compiled twice a year.

All registers list the name (usually surname, first name and initials) of the voter and an address.

Until 1918, the registers included:

  • the qualification that entitled the person to vote
  • details of their current residence
  • the address of property owned in the constituency or polling district.

Following the 1918 Representation of the People Act it stated that, wherever possible, the register should be published in street order with no surname index.

From 1928–1970 the abbreviation 'Y' was used to denote someone who would reach the age of 21 during the first half of the year in which the register was in force. After 1970, the date of birth is given for anyone approaching the age of 18.

Viewing the current edition of the Milton Keynes Electoral Register

Milton Keynes libraries no longer hold copies of the Open Electoral register.

For information about how to view the electoral register please contact Milton Keynes City Council Electoral Services. For historical records you can contact Buckinghamshire Archives in Aylesbury.

The open version does not contain all the electors in Milton Keynes as any elector can request that their personal details be kept private. Consequently details are not included in the open version.

Viewing the current edition of the Electoral Register for other areas of the UK

To view the full electoral register for any area of the UK, you need to contact the electoral services department of that local council for details and access arrangements.

Viewing previous editions of the Milton Keynes Electoral Register

Historical electoral registers for the area are held at the Buckinghamshire Archives in Aylesbury.

Family history consultations

International genealogical index

This resource is also known as the Mormon Index or IGI.

  • The IGI was compiled by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons). It contains millions of names gathered from records all around the world.
  • For the UK this consists mainly of records of baptisms and marriages extracted from parish registers. It covers the period from 1538 up to the mid 1870s.
  • You can search the IGI online at the FamilySearch website or on microfiche in the family history department.

Non-conformist registers

'Non-conformist' was the term used to describe all those who did not attend the Church of England.

  • Until the early part of the 19th century, only Church of England baptisms and marriages had any legal status.
  • Under the terms of the Hardwicke’s Marriage Act in 1753 all marriages between the years 1754 and 1837 had to take place within the established church with only Quakers and Jews being exempted from this.
  • From the 16th century onwards, many Protestant non-conformists kept registers of births (or baptisms) and deaths (or burials) of members of their own congregations.
  • The Buckinghamshire Archives in Aylesbury also hold some non-conformist registers for Buckinghamshire.

Family history magazines

We hold copies of several family history magazines at Central Library and subscribe to two local publications:

  • Bucks Ancestor - magazine of the Bucks Genealogical Society
  • Origins - magazine of the Bucks Family History Society

Local newspapers

  • Most of our local MK newspaper collection is on microfilm.
  • If you are making a special journey to use the newspapers on microfilm we recommend that you contact us in advance to book a microfilm reader by phoning the local studies library on 01908 254051.
  • Our local newspapers are not indexed so, if you are looking for a particular event, it helps to have a good idea of the month and year before beginning your search.
  • You can view a list of the local newspapers held at Milton Keynes libraries.


  • Local newspapers for Buckinghamshire - these are held at the Buckinghamshire Archives at Aylesbury.
  • Local newspaper cuttings - from 1981 onwards, all the local newspapers have been scanned to create a newspaper cuttings collection of items relating to North Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes. Subject areas include people, architecture, politics, arts, local government, health, social issues and leisure. You can search the index of local studies cuttings.

Military records

Parish registers

Tracing a missing person

Trade directories

Directories held in the local studies and family history library

  • Pigot’s and Kelly’s Directories for Buckinghamshire from 1830 to 1939.
  • The library also holds more recent Business Directories for Milton Keynes - Search the Library Catalogue for more details.
  • BT Telephone Directories and Yellow Pages directories for the Milton Keynes area are available in the library from 1976 onwards.
  • You can view the current editions of the BT Directory and  Yellow Pages online.

Trade directories for the rest of the UK

  • Historical Directories is a digital library of local and trade directories for England and Wales, from 1750 to 1919. It contains high quality reproductions of comparatively rare directories - essential tools for research into local and genealogical history.
  • Ancestry library edition website can be viewed free of charge in all Milton Keynes libraries and contains a number of digitised UK trade directories.

UK census

Wills, probate and letters of administration

A will is a formal document setting out what a person wants to happen to their possessions after their death.

Wills dating from after 12 January 1858, when a single Court of Probate was set up, are usually easy to trace. Before 1858, wills were proved in a variety of ecclesiastical (church) courts and are generally more difficult to find.

Buckinghamshire wills

Many of the wills for Buckinghamshire from the 16th century to 1858 are held on microfilm in the Family History Library. You can search for a will online through the Buckinghamshire Archives.

Wills before 1858

  • For all wills proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) prior to 1858 - online access at National Archives documents
  • For wills proved in the Prerogative Court of York (PCY) before 1858 - these are held at the Borthwick Institute in York.

Wills after 1858

Copies of wills, probate and letters of administration for the whole of England and Wales from 1858 can be ordered from the HM Courts and Tribunals Service.

Wills outside Buckinghamshire

  • Pre 1858 wills can be found locally or on the National Archives website, however, it applies mainly to wealthier people.
  • 1858-1966 abbreviated probate records are available on the Ancestry website.
  • Wills after 1858 can be found on the website under 'Search for Wills'.

National probate index

All wills and administrations proved in England and Wales from 1858-1943 should be listed in the National Probate Index. A microfiche copy of the annual printed index is available at the Buckinghamshire Archives.

You will find the deceased’s name, occupation, address, date and place of death, the names of the executors and the value of the estate.

Online will and probate records

The Ancestry website has a collection containing summaries of the vast majority of probate cases in England and Wales between 1861 and 1941. It effectively forms an index to wills and probate records for this period.

Created by the Probate Registry, the collection covers 80 years from 1861 to 1941.

It does not cover the years:

  • 1858-1860

There are some gaps for the years:

  • 1863
  • 1868
  • 1873
  • 1876
  • 1877
  • 1883
  • 1888
  • 1899-1903
  • 1910-1911

They hope to add the missing records as soon as possible.

Useful family history websites

  • UK BMD - UK births, marriages, deaths and censuses.
  • AGRA - Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives offer the services of a professional genealogist or a family history researcher.
  • Deceased Online - central database for UK burials and cremations.
  • Family Search - The 1841-1911 censuses for England and Wales and 1841-1891 censuses for Scotland can be viewed here free of charge. The website does not currently provide access to digital images of the census.
  • FreeCen - A project to make all the UK censuses freely available online. As the work is being undertaken by volunteers the website is not complete but it can be a useful tool.
  • Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet.

Milton Keynes City Council Libraries contact information

Milton Keynes Central Library, 555 Silbury Boulevard, Milton Keynes MK9 3HL