Family History

Family History

Discovering your ancestors is only a step away when you explore the wide range of resources available to you.

From ‘how to research your family history’ guide books to archival records, the ARK holds an extensive range of collections to enable you to trace your family history, backed up by our helpful ARK Team who are available to assist you in your research. All of our libraries have smaller collections of books explaining how to trace your ancestors and, of course, free access to the online subscription service, Ancestry (Library Edition).

The archive collections are all listed in our catalogue. Thanks to Heritage Lottery Fund support, we are currently retro-converting our hard copy catalogue into an electronic format using Calm and we expect the catalogue to be available online by summer 2018. In the meantime, you can visit the ARK search room to consult the full catalogue, search a limited number of entries in the National Archives’ Discovery database TNA Discovery or contact the ARK Team for more information.

In addition to our extensive archive collections, photographs and maps, you can access a range of historic resources:

  • Church of England Parish registers on microfilm
  • Protestant non-conformist and Catholic parish registers on microfilm 
  • Civil registration indices for births, marriages and deaths on microfilm
  • Census returns on microfiche
  • Hearth Tax returns, Lancashire 1662-1663, 1664, 1673
  • Prescot Reporter and Kirkby Reporter newspapers on microfilm
  • Electoral Registers covering:

County Palatine of Lancaster from 1832 – 1949

Prescot UDC, covering Huyton with Roby, Knowsley, Prescot: 1939

Kirkby UDC: 1959 – 1973

Huyton UDC: 1966 – 1975

Knowsley MBC: 1974 – year before current

  • Trade and street directories
  • Cemetery burial records on microfilm

If you want to view resources on microfilm or microfiche, we recommend that you book in advance to make sure that there is a reader-printer machine available for you to use. You can also contact the ARK for more information about the coverage and availability of the resources you want to look at. For more information on the resources available, to find out about the help we can offer or to book a reader-printer for family history research, contact the ARK on 0151 443 4291 or email

The Family History Help Desk should be your first port of call if you are new to family history research, or are trying to find your way through the maze of information and resources. Run by a knowledgeable and helpful member of the ARK Team, the Family History Help Desk is open every 4 weeks in all Knowsley branch libraries. Sessions are run on a drop-in basis where we will do our best to put you on the right track. Contact your branch library or the ARK Team for details.

The Kirkby Centre
Norwich Way
L32 8RR

Telephone: 0151 443 4365 / 4291

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