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About Lincs to the Past

Lincs to the Past is focused on giving access to cultural heritage collections. Thousands upon thousands of records (and images) relating to objects, monuments, books, documents, registers… are available online for you to enjoy, to explore, to discover, and to learn about.

Lincs to the Past is a hub for research and local information and covers items held in Lincolnshire’s Archives, Libraries, Museums and Tennyson Research Centre. It is a search engine that provides a single place from which to search through a wide range of cultural collections from across Lincolnshire.

What collections can I access?

The collections available through Lincs to the Past are:


Lincolnshire Archives is the public archive service for Lincolnshire (http://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/archives). The Archives centre in Lincoln offers an accessible search room for researchers investigating the extensive archive and reference library collections but for those who cannot physically visit the site, you can search a wealth of resources online.

This search engine includes the following:

A catalogue of over 300,000 original documents relating mainly to Lincolnshire; dating from the 11th Century to the present day. Types of records include those of the Diocese of Lincoln, Church of England parishes, other religious denominations, landed estates, businesses, solicitors, organisations, local authorities, courts, schools and other public bodies. Not all the catalogues of the Archives are yet available on-line, but they will be added to regularly [we always welcome volunteers who can help with our project to re-key over 50 years’ worth of typescript catalogues].

When requesting documents, please make sure that you use references from the lowest level of the relevant catalogue, by using the navigation links in the Sequence Details section.

Parish Registers
A catalogue of Lincolnshire Parish Registers, providing references for the baptism, marriage and burial registers dating from 1538 to the 20th Century.

Lincs to the Past holds over 200,000 images of individual pages of these registers for the following periods: baptisms 1538-1911, burials 1538 onwards, and marriages 1538-1837. The events (baptisms, burials and marriages) and dates are all searchable, as are many surnames.

There is also an index to nearly 21,000 microfiche of Parish Registers, providing references for viewing those later registers for which images are not yet included on Lincs to the Past.

Convicts Database
A database of Lincolnshire convicts known to have been transported Australia, Gibraltar and Bermuda between 1788 and 1868. There are nearly 2,000 convicts listed here with details of their convictions and sentencing.

Lincs to the Past includes images of nearly 2000 Ordnance Survey maps, covering much of historic Lincolnshire. The majority are 2nd edition 25” maps (c1905), annotated by the Valuation Office c1910. Where these do not survive, we have tried to fill gaps with other blank maps. For some urban areas larger scale maps, mostly 50” to the mile, are available. The “Zoomify” function allows you to zoom in to the smallest annotation or individual buildings.

The annotated maps show the boundaries of individual properties, and the corresponding numbers relate to entries in the “Records of Valuations made by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, in accordance with the provisions of pt 1 of the Finance (1909-10) Act, 1910”, [Reference: 6-TAX]. The registers at this reference give details of the owners and occupiers of each property, so are an excellent starting point for house history research.

Probate Index
Images of approximately 75,000 probate inventories are included on Lincs to the Past. These itemise the possessions of deceased people from a wide range of occupations in the period 1504-1853, and are important social history resources.

There are also approximately 75,000 index entries for other probate records such as Wills and Administration Bonds from the following series:

  • Lincoln Consistory Court Wills, 1801-1858
  • Lincoln Consistory Court Administrations, 1674-1701 & 1729-1858
  • Archdeaconry of Stow Wills, 1700-1834
  • Archdeaconry of Stow Administrations, 1700-1834
  • Wills in the Dean & Chapter Act Books, 1305-1534
  • Miscellaneous Wills, Inventories and Administrations, series J-Q, 1525-1857
  • Various “Aylmer” Wills, 1489-1588
  • Office Copy Wills from Lincoln Probate Registry, 1858-1910
  • Prebendal Court of Empingham, Rutland, Wills, Administrations & Inventories, 1751-1835
  • Prebendal Court of Nassington, Northamptonshire, Wills, 1748-1844
  • Wills from the Lincoln “White Book”, 1467-1618

A catalogue of nearly 25,000 books and periodicals relating mainly to the history of Lincolnshire, held in the Foster Library at the Archives, and at some other libraries.

Newspaper Index
A subject index of over 23,000 newspaper articles, mainly from 19th Century issues of the Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury. Microfilms of the newspapers are available for consultation at Lincoln Central Library, Boston Library, Grantham Library, Sleaford Library and Stamford Library.

Tennyson Research Centre

The Tennyson Research Centre, at Lincoln Central Library holds the most significant collection of books, letters, printers’ proofs, photographs illustrations and objects relating to Alfred Tennyson and his family. Please follow this link for more information.

Lincs to the Past contains details of the books and letters held at the Centre, and a lot more besides, including images of:

  • Julia Cameron’s photographs
  • Manuscript for In Memoriam
  • Early proofs of Charge of the Light Brigade


Search the superb collections of Lincolnshire County Council. There are thousands of objects to choose from, from gold rings to photographs, ammonites to Turner paintings, and images of many of these items are available to view.

Please follow this link for more information and this link for details of individual sites.


This search engine includes reference, local studies and non-fiction items from the holdings of Lincolnshire County Council’s libraries. For the full Library Catalogue, including details of how to reserve books and availability at library branches throughout the County, please see http://virtuallibrary.lincolnshire.gov.uk.

Historic Environment Record

The Historic Environment Record (HER), which you can get to by following this link, records information on archaeological sites and standing buildings in Lincolnshire, from Lincoln Cathedral and World War II airfields to finds of single Roman coins. The HER also holds details of Scheduled Monuments and Listed Buildings.

This search engine provides a gateway to nearly twenty-five thousand records, and acts as an index to the rest of the HER.

The HER has a large library of local books and journals, thousands of aerial photographs, hundreds of archaeological reports, photographs, maps and overlays. Everything held in the HER is available to visitors to help them with their research.

See also: http://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/gateway/

Look Out For

OPEM exhibition at The Collection

28 January - 2 May 2017

Exhibition Opening Times: 10:00am - 4:00pm

OPEM 4 is the fourth biennial open exhibition hosted by The Collection and Usher Gallery, and will showcase the work of local and regional artists who were chosen by a pair of industry experts (writer/curator Elinor Morgan and artist Brian Griffiths) based on the quality and originality of their work. Hundreds of artists from around Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire and more entered into the competition, hoping to have their work featured centre-stage at a professional art exhibition.

The winning artists are:

• Reece Straw

• Jake Kent

• Stephanie Douet

• Jake Moore

• Selina Mosinski

• Matthew Chesney

• Ellen Brady

• Colette Griffin

This will be the first time some of these artists have exhibited with a professional institution. By winning the competition these artists will each receive money and supplies to fund the creation of an all-new original piece of work for this particular show. Other prizes include a £3000 purchasing/commissioning prize which has been sponsored by the Heslam Trust, while another artist will receive their own solo exhibition in The Usher Gallery.


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Lincolnshire's heritage is a rich, diverse and precious legacy. Your donations will be used to improve your visit through better exhibitions, increased digitisation and conservation work. Your generosity will help to preserve and keep vibrant our heritage for future generations. Thank you for your support.

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Last updated: 9 March 2011

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