North East Lincolnshire Archives


Lincs Inspire manages the North East Lincolnshire Archives, which houses original documents for this area dating from the 13th Century to the present day. The Archives may be able to help if you are interested in:

  • Your family history

  • The history of your house, village and school

  • The people of North and North East Lincolnshire

  • Legal rights and titles

  • Professional conservation and binding

North East Lincolnshire Archives is temporarily closed

Updated: 6th January 2021

In accordance with Government guidelines, North East Lincolnshire Archives is currently closed. We can still answer enquiries received by post, telephone (01472 323585) or e-mail ( Thank you for your support and understanding.

The original archives held at North East Lincolnshire Archive relate to these main record classes:

  • Schools: admission registers and log books of about 100 schools in North and North East Lincolnshire, from 1863 onwards.

  • Registers of Grimsby ships, 1824-1988. 

  • Grimsby crew lists and agreements, 1864-1914. 

  • Registers of Grimsby fishing apprentices,1879-1937. 

  • Archives of Grimsby Borough (1227-1996), including Ainslie Street Cemetery (1855-1943), Scartho Road Cemetery from 1889, Grimsby Poor Law Union and Scartho Road Institution (1890-1930), Brighowgate Children’s Home (1913-58) and Grimsby Borough Police and Watch Committee (1846-1966). 

  • Local Boards of Health and Urban or Rural Sanitary Authorities: Barton (1863-94), Brigg (1863-94), Clee with Weelsby (1878-89), Cleethorpes with Thrunscoe (1873-94), Glanford Brigg (1892-94), Grimsby (1851-1913), Roxby with Risby (1880-94) and Winterton (1863-85).

  • Borough of Cleethorpes (1894-1996), including Clee Burial Board from 1875. 

  • Boroughs, Urban Districts (UDC) and Rural Districts (RDC) in North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. They include Barton UDC, Brigg UDC, Cleethorpes borough, Glanford Brigg RDC, Grimsby borough, Grimsby RDC, Roxby-with-Risby RDC, Scunthorpe UDC and Scunthorpe borough, Winterton UDC, and the four Humberside Borough Councils (1974-96) of Cleethorpes, Glanford, Grimsby and Scunthorpe. Records of the Isle of Axholme RDC are held at East Riding of Yorkshire Archives in Beverley. For records of old Lincolnshire authorities outside North and North East Lincolnshire contact Lincolnshire Archives in Lincoln. 

  • Grimsby Quarter Sessions Court.

  • Petty Sessions (Magistrates) Courts: registers for Grimsby and Scunthorpe. 

  • Grimsby Borough Coroner’s court. 

  • Enclosure awards and / or plans: Barnoldby le Beck, Brumby, Brumby Moors, Clee, Crosby, Great Grimsby, Hibaldstow, Holton le Clay, Scawby, Stallingborough, Waltham, Wroot. 

  • Parish Councils and / or Burial Authorities: Alkborough, Althorpe, Amcotts, Appleby, Ashby cum Fenby, Barnoldby le Beck, Barton Town, Bottesford, Brigsley, Cadney cum Howsham, Cleethorpes, Great Coates, Humberston, Irby upon Humber, Keadby and Althorpe, Laceby, Little Coates, Scartho, Scawby, Stallingborough, Thornton Curtis, Waltham, Winteringham. 

  • Hospitals and Scartho Road Institution, Grimsby. 

  • Motor Vehicle Taxation Office (Grimsby Borough, EE and JV, only).

  • Landed estates and families, including Parkinson of East Ravendale, Sheffield of Normanby Hall and Winn of Nostell Priory.

  • Solicitors, land agents, estate agents and farmers.

  • Businesses and manufacturers.

  • Shipping and trawling companies, including British United Trawlers, Consolidated Fisheries and Sir Thomas Robinson and Son.

  • Charities, clubs and societies.

View our Online Catalogue which provides access to summary descriptions of our archive collections, and more details of selected entries. If you cannot find what you are looking for, we may still be able to help, so please contact us.

Using the Search Room
You are welcome to visit North East Lincolnshire Archives to look at our original documents and entry to the Search Room is free.
Please note that space is limited, so you are strongly advised to contact us before making a visit. You need to know if the documents you want are available and you need to reserve a seat because the Search Room has only six seats (and four microform readers).
If your enquiry is complicated it is better to write or email first, rather than telephoning. When emailing please include your name and postal address.
In the Search Room you can consult the topic guides, catalogues and indexes, and decide what you want to see. You then complete a document request slip and hand it to the officer in charge, who will get out the document for you.
The staff give free advice on original and printed sources held at
North East Lincolnshire Archives. They are happy to advise you on your enquiry, and to explain any difficulties, but they cannot undertake detailed research on your behalf.
Postal and e-mail enquiries
If you cannot get to the Search Room there is a limited postal and e-mail service. General enquiries about catalogues and indexes can be answered and specific entries from the catalogues can be checked. However, if the staff need to make a detailed search of original documents, you will usually be advised to employ a record agent. A list of record agents (who are independent of North East Lincolnshire Archives and who charge fees) may be supplied on request.

Group visits

Group visits to NELA (maximum group size 15 persons) and introductory talks by the staff can be arranged. There is no lecture room, but it may be possible to arrange talks elsewhere in the Town Hall.

Our finding aids, reference books and original records will help you to find out more about where and how your family lived.

You can start your family history research using our online database which contains 40,000 catalogue entries, and is growing all the time.

North East Lincolnshire Archives holds microfilm copies of parish registers for the following Church of England deaneries in northern Lincolnshire: Bolingbroke, Calcethwaite and Candleshoe, Corringham, Grimsby and Cleethorpes, Haverstoe, Horncastle, Lawres, Louthesk, Manlake, West Wold and Yarborough.
The original parish registers and other parish records, such as banns books and settlement papers, are held at Lincolnshire Archives in Lincoln. Lincolnshire Archives is the Diocesan Record Office, and it also holds Bishop’s Registers, Bishop’s Transcripts of parish registers, marriages licences and wills proved by the Lincoln Consistory Court. Its
website includes a list of parishes for which registers and Bishop’s Transcripts.

Obtaining copies of baptism, marriage and burial events
For copyright reasons, printouts of the parish register microfiches must be ordered from Lincolnshire Archives.
Civil registration after 1st July 1837

Civil registration of births, deaths and marriages was introduced as a legal requirement in England and Wales from 1st July 1837. Copy certificates of these events can be obtained from the General Register Office or from the local registration services run by local authorities. Fees are payable. North East Lincolnshire Archives does not supply these certificates.
You will need to know the exact date and location of the event before applying for a certificate. Indexes for the whole of England and Wales, 1837-2000, are available at Grimsby Central Library.

You may be allowed to use your own digital camera in the Search Room. Please ask. You must still fill in a copyright declaration and must ask the staff’s permission before taking any pictures. There may be charges.
At present there is no self-service copying at North East Lincolnshire Archives and you must fill in a Copyright Declaration Form.  We have these in the Search Room, or you can ask for one by post or email. Please remember that the Declaration Form must be returned by post or by hand because the law requires a hand-written signature.
You can order photocopies or photographs of some documents. In some cases it may not be possible, because the documents are too fragile, or because copyright laws prevent it.

Download a copy of our Charges.

Where can I ask about tracing my family tree?
Many indexes and copies of sources for family history are held at Grimsby Central Library. The North East Lincolnshire Archives (NELA) holds many original documents, including records concerning the history of shipping and fishing and Public Records (records of government agencies such as Coroners, Courts and HM Customs). Lincolnshire Archives in Lincoln is the Diocesan Record Office for the area and holds original parish registers (copies of many are in the Archives at Grimsby), Bishop’s Transcripts of registers and wills proved before 1858.

I am trying to trace my family tree, but my ancestors didn’t come from North Lincolnshire. How can I find out about them?

NELA has a list of archive offices throughout the British Isles. You can also look at

How can I find a record of my employment as a Grimsby fisherman?
In the first place, approach the Secretary of the Grimsby Fishing Owners’ Association at: Office F6, The Enterprise Village, Prince Albert Gardens, Grimsby, DN31 3AT. Telephone: (01472) 355441. The Association has records from 1961 onwards.

I need to prove my school attendance. How can I get a record of the schools I attended?
Ask first at the school, but if your old school has closed down, or if the registers of admission are no longer kept at the school, you can contact NELA, which holds many old admission registers (be warned, not all school admission registers survive).

Where can I find out my own school examination results?
NELA does not hold any examination results. If your old school cannot help, you may be able to get information from the Examination Board. In North East Lincolnshire, this is often through
How can I find out about my time in the Brighowgate Children's Home in Grimsby?
The surviving records of the Brighowgate Children's Home (which opened in Grimsby in 1913) are held at NELA. If the admission registers are more than 100 years old they are open to the public. If they are not that old, you can only get your own information by completing a search form and asking the staff at NELA to search for you. There is no charge.

Where can I find out about the history of local fishermen and seamen?

NELA holds the fishing apprenticeship registers for Grimsby, which contain entries for over 7,000 apprentices, dating from 1879 to 1937. NELA also has over 38,000 crew lists, dating from 1863 and 1914 and the fishing boat registers, with entries for more than 4,000 vessels (1824 to 1988). In addition, NELA has the records of many companies engaged in fishing, shipping, shipbuilding and related maritime industries.
Where are non-current registers of electors kept?
NELA holds registers of electors for Great Grimsby for the period from 1863 to 1996 and for North East Lincolnshire since 1996. For other places in Lincolnshire contact
Lincolnshire Archives in Lincoln on (01522) 782040.

Where are the records of the local councils that were abolished in 1974 and 1996 kept?
NELA holds the minutes and many other records of the abolished Borough, Urban Districts (UDC) and Rural Districts (RDC) in North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. They include Barton UDC, Brigg UDC, Cleethorpes Borough, Glanford Brigg RDC, Grimsby Borough, Grimsby RDC, Roxby-with-Risby RDC, Scunthorpe UDC and Scunthorpe Borough, Winterton UDC, and the four Humberside Borough Councils (1974-96) of Cleethorpes, Glanford, Grimsby and Scunthorpe. Records of the Isle of Axholme RDC are held at East Riding of Yorkshire Archives in Beverley. For the records of old Lincolnshire authorities outside North and North East Lincolnshire contact Lincolnshire Archives in Lincoln.

What microfilm resources do you have?
• Parish registers from the eleven northern deaneries of Lincolnshire (no index of personal names)
• International Genealogical Index (1992) for England.
• Cleethorpes cemetery: index of burials (1877-1990) and microfilm of registers 1877-1999.
• Grimsby cemeteries: index of burials, and microfilm of registers, 1855-1970.
• Grimsby Borough: registers of electors, 1863-1900.
• Port of Grimsby registers of fishing apprentices, 1880-1937, and registers of ships, 1824-1918.
• Nonconformist churches – we hold very few records of the Baptist, Congregational or Methodist churches. Most of the surviving nonconformist records for the area are held at the Lincolnshire Archives.
• Some other microfilms are kept at the Grimsby Central Library, including local census returns and the General Register Office (“GRO”) index.

Can I bring my children with me?
We advise you not to bring small children. There are only a few seats and they are needed for searchers. There are no lounge or refreshment facilities in the Archives.

Do I need a reader’s ticket?
No membership tickets are issued. NELA is not a member of the County Archives Research Network (CARN) reader ticket system. You will need to sign the Attendance Book.

Do I need to book a microfiche or microfilm viewer?
Yes. You can do this by phoning (01472) 323585. Some original documents are fragile, so you may have to look at microfilms to help preserve the originals. One microfiche viewer can be adjusted to most standard wheelchairs. If you think you may require any adjustments to be made, please contact us before your visit.
How long can I stay?

As long or as short as you like. We take bookings from 30 minutes up to whole morning sessions or whole afternoon sessions, or for a whole day.

What is the geographical area covered by North East Lincolnshire Archives?
The part of  Lincolnshire county now within North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. However, the records of some families and businesses based in the area relate to other parts of United Kingdom and the wider world.



Grimsby Town Hall, Town Hall Square, Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, DN31 1HX.
The entrance to North East Lincolnshire Archives is through a side door on the east side of the building and not through the main entrance.  
How To Find Us.

No smoking, eating or drinking is permitted in North East Lincolnshire Archives. There is no refreshment area, but there are cafes and pubs close by in the town centre. We regret that there are no facilities for small children.

Telephone: (01472) 323585

Opening times:

Open to the public: Monday to Thursday, 9.30am-12.30pm and 1pm to 4pm.
Closed to the public on Friday, Saturday, Sunday; Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Good Friday and Bank Holiday Mondays.

Disabled access:

The Search Room is accessible to wheelchairs and there are adapted toilet facilities.

Policy, Plans and Procedures: