Articles on the History of Essex, Researching your Ancestors, and British History

Essex Images for Family History

Chelmsford, High Street 1892, Essex.  (Neg. 31508)  © Copyright The Francis Frith Collection 2005.
Chelmsford, High Street 1892
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.

Adding location images to your family tree.

Having researched your family tree and collected census returns, civil registration certificates and parish registers, it is always good idea to add some pictures of the Essex town or village where your ancestor lived. Apart from a using Google or Bing for searching, try some of these sources listed below.

Essex Record Office

The Essex Record Office have all types of pictures in their archive. All of them can be seen on a visit to the Record Office, but some online digital copies are available in the Essex Archives Online catalogue. Select 'images' from the 'refine your search' drop-down box.

Francis Frith Collection

The Francis Frith Collection contains over 100,000 historic photographs. Between 1860 and 1970 their photographers travelled all over Britain taking photographs of thousands of towns and villages. See their list of Essex locations. - Francis Frith images

As an alternative to the above, Ancestry also offer access to the Francis Frith Collection as part of their Premium UK Membership. The image quality is very good and you do not have to pay for each individual image.

Ebay for postcard images

Ebay has 100s of postcards featuring Essex. This link already formatted for Essex Postcards

street scene with post office building and people outside
Kelvedon Hatch Post Office c.1905 for postcard images

Another source for postcard images of Essex is the auction website

TuckDB postcards

TuckDB is a free database of antique postcards. Every card in this database was published by the now defunct Raphael Tuck and Sons. There are over 960 postcards in their Essex collection. All are good quality scans and free to download.

Flickr, the online photo management and sharing application, is well worth a look if you are seeking images of present-day Essex. Occasionally there are a few older images, especially on The Commons section of the website.

Heritage Gateway

Heritage Gateway is a database of national and local records of England's historic sites and buildings. Includes records and photographs of all listed buildings, and historical and archaeological information on locations throughout England.


For present-day images try the Geograph Project which aims to collect and reference representative images of every square kilometre of the British Isles. You will find images of churches, old buildings, and general street and cuntryside views. All images are licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence

Europeana Collections

If you are researching public houses then you may be interested in the Charrington Archive which is part of the National Brewery Heritage Trust collection. It is best viewed on the Europeana Collections website. This link is structured for a search on the terms Essex Brewery and brings up several public houses in the Essex area.

British Library

The British Libary's Online Gallery has many maps and several images of Essex. Well worth a look.

Tate Britain

The archive of Tate Britain contains hundreds of pictures and photographs. Many photographs are early 20th century from the John Piper Collection. Type place name or Essex in the search box.

If you are interested in adding maps then see our article Essex Maps for Family History

More articles on the History of Essex, Researching your Ancestors, and British History

Find your Ancestors in the Newspapers

Essex Standard Newspaper

Newspaper archives are now a very important source of information for researching your family tree.

Try our example search to help you discover if your ancestors are in the British Newspaper Archive.

Help me find my ancestors

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Looking for pictures to add to your family tree album?


Ebay is a good source of old images of Essex towns and villages. If you're looking for pictures to add to your family tree album, then try one of the auctions, or there are several 'Buy It Now' shops offering postcards which have been touched up and improved - so if you're unsure about bidding, try these. Link already formatted for Essex Postcards. Browse through or type the name of the location in the Ebay search box.