Welcome to The Keep help pages
These pages provide help on how to conduct your research, find documents using our catalogues and order documents to look at when you come to The Keep.
Use the menus on the left to navigate around the help pages.
You can also visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Using an archive is not like using a library or visiting a museum. Library books are arranged according to subject and author whereas archives are arranged according to the person or organisation creating them. Museums have objects out on display for everyone to look at but you can’t see anything else the museum holds without making special arrangements. An archive’s collections are kept in secure climate-controlled stores that aren’t accessible to the public, but are brought out for people to see and use with the minimum of formality.
So searching for information in archives can be more complicated than searching a library catalogue for a book. When you enter a search term, you may not always receive a list of documents relevant to your research straight away.
As often as not, finding a document will rely on, browsing and filtering through your search results and collection hierarchies to find what you are looking for. You may need plenty of patience and tenacity to find relevant documents, that may be kept in different collections.
The Archives Hub has an excellent resource that explains some of the challenges involved in using and searching archives. It would be well worth your time to read it.
Are you looking for guides to help you with your research?
How to Find a Will
Tracing the History of a House
Guide to Rating and Taxation Records
Guide to Newspapers
Guide to Maps
Guide to Electoral Registers
Guide to Building Control and Planning Consent Plans
Guide to church and cemetery registers
Doing family history
Personal Research Service