Family History

Do you have a Methodist ancestor?  Before 1932 there were Wesleyan, Primitive and United Methodists.  Today we are all part of the Methodist Church in Britain.

My Primitive Methodist Ancestors

The first place to search if you think you have a Primitive Methodist ancestor is our community archive website, ‘My Primitive Methodist Ancestors’.  This is the main online resource for information about Primitive Methodism, especially people and places.  You can add your own stories and pictures. This is a great place to publish your research and make it available to others.

Finding Records of People

If your ancestor was a Primitive Methodist minister (itinerant or travelling preacher), they will be in the Directory of PM Ministers and their Circuits. We have a copy in our Library, as well as a full set of PM Minutes which include obituaries for all ministers.

If your ancestor was a Local Preacher, their name and address will be on local circuit preaching plans.  We have some plans in our collection, which volunteers are helping to digitise and put on line.  You can check your area here.  The next place to look is the local County Record Office (see below).

Obituaries for ordinary men, women and children, as well as preachers, were published in the PM Magazine. We have an Index to all the Obituaries in the PM Magazine in the Library.

Looking for Local Records 

Methodist churches, called ‘societies’, were organised into ‘circuits’.  The circuit records should be deposited at the appropriate County Record Office. (Some circuits were in more than one county!) Boundaries changed, and it is not always easy to discover which circuit a church was in at a particular time.  The local County Record Office is the first place to start if you are looking for local Methodist records.