History of Colchester

Colchester © Copyright The Francis Frith Collection 2005. http://www.francisfrith.com
Scheregate, St John Street, Colchester, 1921
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.

Welcome to the home page for the History of Colchester and its inhabitants.

Below you find links to a range of sources transcribed by History House. Further below under 'more family and local history sources' you will find additional links to help you.

For other locations in Essex use the 'Essex A to Z' in the navigation menu.

Pigot's Directory of Essex 1823

Pigot's Directory of Essex 1823 - list of inhabitants.

Poll of Voters 1826

Colchester inhabitants who voted in the 1826 general election held in the Borough of Maldon.

Freemen admitted between 1845 and 1866

Colchester inhabitants who were admitted as Freemen of the Borough between 1845 and 1866.

Poll of Voters 1847

Colchester inhabitants who voted in the 1847 general election.

White's Directory of Essex 1848

White's Directory of Essex 1848 - list of inhabitants.

Essex Almanac 1866

Essex Almanac of 1866 - a description of Colchester.

Colchester Criminal Cases

Court cases involving Colchester residents - ongoing project >>more.

Education in Colchester

Reports and returns on schools and education in Colchester.

Places to visit

Colchester Castle - 2000 years of history.

Feature articles

How Colchester was hit by the strongest earthquake in England's history.>>more

An account of the siege of Colchester during the English Civil War, from Daniel Defoe's tour of Essex.

Colchester Poor

Under the Poor Law of 1834, Colchester became part of the Colchester Union. See our article on researching your workhouse and pauper ancestors.

Images and Maps of Colchester

Photograph of Trinity House contributed by a History House reader.

For images of Colchester see our article on Essex Images for Family History.

For maps of Colchester see our article on Essex Maps for Family History.

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My Colchester Ancestors

Are your ancestors from Colchester? Why not tell us their story: My Colchester Ancestors.

More family and local history sources

New to researching your family tree or unsure where to find information? Take a look at our Your Ancestors section of the website. It contains tips, advice, links to resources, and stories.

Discover how to explore newspaper archives. With millions of pages now online, there is always the possibility of finding articles featuring your ancestors.

Search for Colchester census returns at Ancestry.co.uk.

1841 England Census | 1851 England Census | 1861 England Census
1871 England Census | 1881 England Census | 1891 England Census
1901 England Census | 1911 England Census

Search for Colchester census returns at Findmypast.co.uk.

1841 Census | 1851 Census | 1861 Census | 1871 Census | 1881 Census | 1891 Census | 1901 Census | 1911 Census

part of old deed

All types of objects relating to family history are sold on Ebay. Photographs, copies of Wills, house conveyancing, bills of sale, and much, much more. See our article Essex Ancestors on eBay

If you're looking for pictures of Colchester to add to your family tree album, then try Ebay. Link already formatted for Essex Postcards

Books featuring Colchester from Abebooks. Just click the logo. The search terms are already formatted for Colchester.

Books featuring Essex on Amazon. Just click the logo. This link is already formatted for Essex History in the book section. Refine the search to look for Colchester, such as: Colchester history.

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The Essex Record Office 'ERO' is an excellent starting point for research. The ERO has an online catalogue by the name of Essex Archives Online which includes parish registers. Access to both via the ERO's homepage.

Also try FreeReg: a database of parish registers transcribed by volunteers. The Essex coverage is increasing each day.

Excellent detailed information on the history of Colchester appears in the Victorian Counties History on the British History Online web site: The Borough of Colchester, A History of the County of Essex: Volume 9: The Borough of Colchester (1994).

Colchester has several museums. Find out more on the Colchester Museums web site.

Colchester Archaeological Trust newspaper with archaeological news in the Colchester area and across Essex.

History of Medieval Colchester.

Index and photographs of gravestones in St Botolph's Church, Colchester and on St Botolph's war memorial

Web site on the history of Colchester Workhouse.

WW2: A Civilian in the Second World War. The war-time diaries of Eric J Rudsdale who was at the time the Curator's Assistant at Colchester Castle Museum. Published daily in blog format.

Colchester Castle
Colchester Castle
print published 1834

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

Colchester - Cary's New and Correct English Atlas, 1798

Colchester - First Series Ordnance Survey Map 1805

This work is based on data provided through www.VisionofBritain.org.uk and uses historical material which is copyright of the Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth. Licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence BY-SA-4.0

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Looking for pictures to add to your family tree album?

street view
Postcard of St John's Abbey Gateway, Colchester.

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.