Explore your ancestry with Hampshire Archives

Have you ever wanted to research your family history?

Thanks to Hampshire Archives and Local Studies and Ancestry, 500 years of fascinating historical documents held at Hampshire Record Office have been digitised and made available online and searchable for the first time.

Through this partnership we’re bringing the past to life, with the November 2022 release of our newly digitised probate records. Probate records are made up of wills, administrations, and inventories (documents relating to a deceased person’s estate). They were proved in the church courts of Winchester Diocese until 1857/8.

You can access this valuable information for free onsite at Hampshire Record Office, where our experts are on hand to help you with your search. Or pay a visit to any of Hampshire's 40 public libraries and log in using a public computer. This means you can research Hampshire family records without paying, while enjoying a warm and welcoming space to spend some time, connect with others, or to work or study. Or, if you can’t visit your local library, anyone anywhere in the world can learn about their Hampshire roots with an Ancestry membership.

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Featured in the records are fascinating examples of every-day Hampshire residents including:

close-up of a church bell
In 1606, Christopher Mortimer from Pamber died while ringing the church bells. The inventory of his estate has been uploaded so you can access it digitally.
a piece of old hand-written script
In 1604, Thomas Hancock wrote his will and handed it to his friends on the end of a pole at Hawley Common. You now don’t need to be nine feet away to read this will, as it’s now available online.

And this is only part one of our launch. Coming in 2023 will be the digitisation of parish registers, which contain records of baptisms, marriages, and burials, giving you more ways to uncover your family’s history in Hampshire. If a loved one might be as excited about this as we are, why not buy them an Ancestry subscription as a present this festive season?

Whether you’re interested in exploring your own family tree and genealogy or delving into the lives of Hampshire’s most notable residents, like Jane Austen and Florence Nightingale, there’s so much to discover.