Family History

WDA has a number of resources and collections available to help anyone researching Catholic indivduals living in the London (north of the river), Middlesex and Hertfordshire areas. There is no need to have experience of doing research in archives or to have done large amounts of family history to visit us. However, as the records we hold can be quite specialised, it is best to have done some preliminary research before visiting so that you get the most out of your visit and we have all the information we need to help you.
If you want to find sacramental records (baptism, marriage, confirmation, death) relating to your ancestors, this can be a time consuming process. It becomes easier if you can find out where they lived at the time, e.g. parish, street, registration district, and a rough idea of the date it took place before starting your research. To do this, you can use census records or order birth, marriage or death certificates.
If you've never used Catholic records for research before, or you are looking for a specific piece of information, then Family History Guide 2 will explain what you are likely to find:

You should also check that we have the records you need here in the archive. We hold a small selection of baptism, marriage, confirmation and death registers mostly dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. These include registers from parish churches, embassy chapels and registers kept by individual priests. A detailed list is available below:

Guide 1: List of Sacramental Registers

If you are unable to find the register you need in Family History Guide 1 or by searching our online catalogue, the likelihood is that it is still held in the parish church. Information on the best way to access these is available below:

Guide 3: Requesting Information from Sacramental Registers

If you think your ancestor's contact with the Church might have been through a school or other children's institution, then Family History Guide 4 explains where to find records:

Guide 4: Records of Schools and Children's Institutions

If you're still puzzled or have any questions not answered here, then do contact us. These are only very basic guides and so they may not be applicable to all situations. However, we are always happy to give specific advice where possible.

For any other records relating to your family history, the best places to start are the research guides provided by The National Archives here, and the local history centre covering the area they would have lived in -a list for London is available on the GENUKI website here