Monday, 3 April 2006


This is one in a series of items focusing on British counties, starting at the beginning of the alphabet in England.
Bedfordshire's land area, 1,235 sq kilometres, makes it one of the smaller counties of England; less than half the size of the present City of Ottawa. The population, 50,000 in 1800, grew to around 150,000 in the first half of the 20th century, then ballooned following the Second World War to near 380,000 by the end of the century.
The Bedfordshire Record Office, now known as the Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Record Service (the acronym is a rather uninspiring BLARS), was the first county record office in England. It is located in Bedford, the County Town. The BLARS web site boasts of their service quality, recognised by the award of a Charter Mark in 1993, 1996 and 1999, the only archives service in the country to gain the award three times.
A section on the BLARS web site is for genealogy. It includes links to information on: adoption records, Anglican parish registers, the Bedfordshire parish register series, burial indexes, cemetery records, census return by paridh, monumental inscriptions, non-Anglican registers, non-conformist register transcripts, non-ecclestiacal birth and death registers, occupations, register of electors, soldiers' letters, unusual cernsus returns and population lists. Although not mentioned under genealogy there are also holdings of pre-1868 probate records and land registration also of interest for family history.

A partial catalogue of holding may be found at the Access to Archives database as well as at the BLARS web site.

No particularly significant migration from the county to Canada has been located.

Reference Web Sites

GENUKI (Bedfordshire)
Bedfordshire and Luton Archives

Bedfordshire Family History Society

Vision of Britain (Bedfordshire)

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