How to search the name index


The name index contains index entries for people, families, companies and other organisations mentioned in our manuscript and archive collections.


The easiest way to search is to put something into the Free text fields box. This is a free text search for all person, family, company and organisation names in the database. For whole names use surname, forename, e.g. "Greville, Charles".
Or, you can choose to search specifically in Surname, Forename or Corporate name.

You can narrow the search by entering a date range into the Dates of Existence box, e.g. 1700-1850.


When you have found the name you are looking for, click on the hyperlink labelled 'Click here to see linked Catalogue records', to retrieve a hitlist of all the catalogue records in which that person's name has been indexed.


Search tips


Searching the catalogue free text fields may return better results than the indexes - not all collections have been indexed in detail.


By default the advanced searches will conduct an AND search on the word or words you have entered, e.g. if you enter University Park it will find every record in which both words, 'university' and 'park', appear. If you enter the words within quotation marks, e.g. "University Park" you will get results for the exact phrase.


An AND search is also assumed if you enter search terms into more than one field. So for instance if you entered University into the free text search, along with a date range 1200-1300, and the catalogue did not contain any medieval material, you would not get any results.


You can change the default criteria by clicking 'Refine Search Criteria'. There are three ways of refining the search option:

  • With all the words (Boolean search AND)
  • With at least one of the words (Boolean search OR)
  • Without the words (Boolean search NOT)


For wildcard searches, use * before, after or within your search term.


Archdeaconry searches


The search options towards the bottom of the form all relate to the rich name indexes for people mentioned in certain parts of Archdeaconry of Nottingham archive: churchwarden presentment bills (AN/PB), some marriage bonds (AN/MB), some declarations of penance (AN/PN) and some excommunications (AN/E). There is more information about the Archdeaconry of Nottingham and its records on our website.


Unlike other name indexes, Archdeaconry name indexes are not split up into surname, forename, title, date etc. All name information is contained within the Surname field. Name data can also be searched alongside other name indexes in the free text search.

The Offence field allows researchers to retrieve records for everyone presented for particular offences in churchwarden presentment bills.


The Role field is used to narrow down the search to people playing a particular role (e.g. 'presentee', 'bride', 'groom'). A similar field, Marital Status classifies people involved in marriage bonds only.


Researchers can also search for the occupation of the people involved, and their Literacy (e.g. 'signed', 'mark'). The Age of the bride and groom applying for marriage bonds has been indexed. Researchers can search for an age range in this box, e.g. enter 30-40 to get records for all people marrying between these ages.


Archdeaconry index data also includes the Date of Event and Place of Event. These two fields can be used to narrow down churchwarden presentment bills, marriage bonds or penances relating to people living in a particular parish at a particular time.



Why can't I find the person I am looking for?


  • Cataloguing and indexing of the entire Archdeaconry collection has not yet been completed. The Archdeaconry name indexes currently hold information from the following series:


    • Presentment Bills (series AN/PB 292 – AN/PB 351). All people named in all presentment bills dated 1587 to 1699. For presentment bills dated 1700 to 1752, we have only indexed the names from presentment bills containing presentments. Those returned ‘nothing to present’ have not been indexed.
    • Marriage Bonds. All marriage bonds dated 1771 to 1789 and 1801 to 1884 (series AN/MB 167-185 and AN/MB 197-280). Earlier marriage bonds, and those dated 1790-1800, have been indexed and published in book form. For more details, see the page about marriage bonds on our website.
    • Penances. The name indexing of penances is an ongoing project. So far we have indexed names from series AN/PN/365-366 (1713-1741) and AN/PN/368-370 (1745-1794). The penances from 1741-1745 require conservation before they can be indexed. We are now working back and indexing series AN/PN/363 (1701-1707). Please contact us if you are interested in a particular name or date which has not yet appeared in the indexes.
    • Excommunications (AN/E 196/1-2). Entries from two books of schedules of excommunication dated 1617 to 1628.

  • Inconsistency in the spelling of personal names can also lead to problems in retrieval. Try searching for a number of different spellings. This can be done by choosing ‘Refine my search’ and typing all the variants into ‘With any of the words’. For example, type Thompson Thomson Tompson Tomson to retrieve variants of this surname.
  • The presentment bills indexes include an additional field for 'Original Spelling'. This records the spelling used in the original document, which can vary greatly from modern usage. Names have been standardised in the principal 'Surname' index field to assist retrieval. However, spellings in marriage bond and penance indexes are always the ones used in the original document.

Why can't I find the place I am looking for?


  • The spelling of place names has sometimes changed over time. We have indexed all place names according to the spelling used in Bartholomew's Survey Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1914 edition.
  • Most places mentioned in Archdeaconry records are parishes, made up of townships and hamlets. For instance, the place Kimberley does not appear often in the index, because it was a hamlet in the parish of Greasley. There will be many more entries for people from Kimberley indexed under 'Greasley'. To check which parish a particular place was in, use the ‘Table of parishes and places in Nottinghamshire’ on the Archdeaconry Resources section of our website. Places which were in Peculiar jurisdictions do not appear in Archdeaconry records until 1842.

How can I do a search to find all instances of a particular offence presented in a particular parish?


  • Go to Search the Name Index. Choose the offence you are interested in from the drop-down list in the ‘Offence’ field. Then type the name of the parish into ‘Place of Event’ and click ‘Search’.
  • If there are no results, check that you are searching for the correct spelling of the parish name. Use the 'Table of parishes and places'on the Archdeaconry Resources section of our website.
  • There are some offences which are very similar to each other. Repeat the search for each offence. A full list of Archdeaconry offences is available on the Archdeaconry Resources section of our website.

Why were so many brides and grooms aged 21?


  • '21.' is a way to translate the phrase 'of full age'. Brides and grooms who were under 21 years of age had to get the consent of their parents or guardians in order to marry. If they were over 21 years of age it was not strictly necessary to record exactly how old they were. Therefore, where the number 21 appears in the Participants database, it could mean that the person was any age at all over 21, or even exactly 21!

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