Family History Collection

The Family History Collection is mainly housed in the reference section in Lord Louis Library in Newport. You can visit during normal library opening hours. A number of family history reference sources are held in this collection.

General Register Office (GRO) Index

The GRO Index (also known as the St Catherine’s Index) for births, marriages, and deaths in England and Wales is available on microfiche in the reference library.

The GRO Index consists of quarterly indexes to civil registrations of births, marriages, and deaths from 1837 to present day approximately. The indexes provide the details needed to apply for birth, marriage or death certificates at registry offices in England and Wales.

The separate indexes for each of these are arranged by March, June, September, and December according to the date of registration. Each quarter is arranged alphabetically by surname.

From 1984 onwards, the indexes are no longer arranged quarterly but published yearly.

Microfiche readers can be booked in advance either by visiting the reference section in person or by phone. Booking is recommended as the centre can be very busy at times. Contact 01983 823800.

Electronic records

The reference library hold a selection of CD ROMs to help with family history research. These include:

  • soldiers who died in the Great War (World War I)
  • Army Roll of Honour World War II 
  • Vital Records Index (birth, christening and marriage records from selected parishes in the British Isles). 

Access is available to the Times Digital Archive (The Times newspaper from 1785 to 1985) on public access computers in the reference library.


Periodicals available are:

  • Family Tree January 1995 to May 2003
  • Isle of Wight Family History Society Magazine.

General references

Standard reference works include:

  • Dictionary of National Biography
  • Who Was Who
  • Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers.

Related links