A Couple of Basic Sources

Colin Wilson

Hertfordshire Archives and local newspapers are two primary, contemporary, but complementary sources. They have been mentioned in another article, ‘A Discussion about Sources’ but have been put in this article to make them easier for readers to locate. Note both lists are searchable using the <ctrl f> function among other methods.

Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies (HALS)

Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies (HALS) is a repository of original documents such as deeds, leases, wills, vestry minutes, maps and images. Most will be regarded as primary sources.  Photos included are parts of collections. There will be more photos in the photos collection. Tithe and Ordnance Survey maps have not been included. The emphasis is on more official information. A list, mostly of documents, has been added to this article.

The British Newspaper Archive

The British Newspaper Archive has digitised a multitude of newspapers and made them available on-line at https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk. It has a useful search facility, allowing researchers to locate small but important information in unexpected places.  Newspapers have a different emphasis to official documents. While some information will be primary, most would at least be contemporary rather than gleaned from sources many years later. Opinions may come into play, and the content would be reports rather than eye-witness records. More usefully, they do not usually contain the sort of historical information found in books. There is often the human touch, with day-to-day detail – the sort of information most history books would not include. They are rather more interested in the stories which will sell copies. This can be more personal and fascinating than historical data. A list of references with transcriptions has been attached to this article.

Thanks are due to HALS and the British Newspaper Archive for permission to use copyright material.

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This page was added on 23/07/2022.

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  • It’s worth noting that if you can’t find the paper you’re looking for in the British Newspaper Archive you should try checking your local county archives as well, to see what they hold.

    For instance the BNA only has copies of the West Herts & Watford Observer for the years 1863 – 1909, but HALS also has all of the more recent editions available to view on tape.

    By Sorcha Sanouillet (30/07/2022)