Oswestry Library's Local History Centre holds the second largest collection of local studies material in the county after Shropshire Archives. The proximity of Oswestry to Wales and the historical, cultural and linguistic ties that link them are reflected in the substantial Welsh content of much of the collection.
In addition to a wide range of books on various subjects, the Local Collection contains newspapers, journals and magazines, trade directories, parish registers, census returns, maps and photographs. A range of guides on using local and family history resources at Oswestry Library can be opened or downloaded from the attachments on this page.
A range of recognised sources, such as parish registers and census returns, can be used to research your family history. The Discover Shropshire project has resulted in many more parish registers for both Shropshire and mid-Wales being available. The revised list can be downloaded from this page.
A source that is unique to Oswestry Library is our biographical index to the Oswestry & Border Counties Advertiser, which covers the years 1849 to date.
A Short Guide to Researching Family History at Oswestry Library and A Short Guide to Researching the History of your House at Oswestry Library are available as free guides.
Other sources include Soldiers Died in the Great War which contains details of the 635,000 soldiers and 37,000 officers who died in the First World War.
Ancestry, the UK's leading family history site, is now available free of charge at all of Shropshire's libraries. The website offers access to over 700 million searchable names, including all the 1841-1911 censuses, birth, marriage and death records, passenger lists, BT phone books, war records and parish registers.
This collaboration between Shropshire Archives and Shropshire Libraries has resulted in a greater range of local history, archive and museum resources through local libraries. Benefits of the project in Oswestry include:
- Access to microfiche copies of many of the archive documents held by Oswestry Town Council
- A greater range of parish registers, with those for such parishes as Chirk, Ellesmere, Kinnerley, Knockin, Llangedwyn, Llansilin and Llansanffraid being available for the first time
- Weekly advice sessions provided by teams of volunteers who help with local history projects
Family and Local History Advice Service
Oswestry Family and Local History Group volunteers run a twice weekly Family and Local History Advice service at Oswestry Library. Teams of trained, knowledgeable volunteers work alongside library staff to help both newcomers and experienced researchers to get the most from the expanded range of resources available as a result of the Discover Shropshire project. As well as parish registers, census returns and the Oswestry & Border Counties Advertizer, the volunteers are able to use dedicated computers providing free access to Ancestry and other online resources. The volunteers are staffing these drop-in sessions every Monday morning from 10am to 12noon and every Friday afternoon between 1.30pm and 4pm.
The Local History Centre endeavours to acquire a copy of all material produced relating to Oswestry and the surrounding area. If you are publishing a book or pamphlet, a sound or video recording, etc, then please tell library staff about it. Recent additions to the collection include:
- Oswald's Tree? Report of the 5th Seminar of the Old Oswestry Landscape & Archaeology Project, 2011
- Oswestry & District parish magazines between 1870-1960 (DVD)
- Trains on the border: the railways of Llanymynech and Pant by Neil Rhodes
- After Offa: Living life along the border (oral history project pack) by Helen East
- History of the parish of Ruyton XI Towns (DVD)
- Walks in North Shropshire and the borders by Ron Bond
The following documents can be downloaded from the links on this page:
- Parish Registers and Monumental Inscriptions at Oswestry Library
- A short guide to researching family history at Oswestry Library
- A short guide to researching the history of your house at Oswestry Library
- A guide to local and family history resources at Oswestry Library.