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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 books and periodicals relating mainly to the history of Lincolnshire, held in the Foster Library at the Archives.

Newspaper Index
A subject index of over 23,000 newspaper articles, mainly from 19th Century issues of the Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury.

Tennyson Research Centre

The Tennyson Research Centre, at the Lincolnshire Archives in Lincoln, holds the most significant collection of books, letters, printers’ proofs, photographs, illustrations and objects relating to Alfred Tennyson and his family.

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 about the Heritage Service.


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/

Customer Notice: Viewing images and Online Ordering

As of January 2021, Adobe Flash Player is no longer supported and therefore browsers are disabling and blocking the software for security reasons. Lincs to the Past can still be used as a catalogue to search our collections for documents of interest, but you will be unable to browse through our digital image collections or view photographs. We are aware of this issue, and work is underway to make the contents of Lincs to the Past available by other means. We aim to complete this project during Summer 2021.

Thousands of object records are still available to view on the website and images can be ordered offline. For instructions on how to place an order please visit the 'Buy Images' page. Please do not use the online ordering system. For any queries about ordering digital images please email archive.copies@lincolnshire.gov.uk

Members of Lincolnshire Libraries can access a number of online resources that may be of use. For more information please visit Lincolnshire Libraries. We apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused.

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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.

Last updated: 29 January 2021

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