Searching the Archives

Newsflash: Shropshire Archives has a new website and online catalogue.

Please visit to search our collections.

What records are included?

Discovering Shropshire’s History website includes details of a vast range of archives and local studies material held at Shropshire Archives and local libraries throughout the County.  We regularly update and expand the records which are on the site and so it is worth revisiting.  However,  it does not include details of all the archives held so if you can’t find what you are looking for please do contact us through

How to search

You can use the search box found at the top of each page to enter a particular keyword, combination of words or a reference number. This will return search results with the records displayed in order of the most relevant first.

Tip – you can search for an exact phrase by using quotation marks, e.g. “Industrial Revolution”.

Tip – you can also use an asterisk for wild card searches e.g. “Davi*son” will find both Davison and Davidson.

Results page

The results page will display basic information about each record and a thumbnail image where available along with the archive or museum service by which it is held.  “Shropshire Archives” will be displayed for all material held at Shropshire Archives or County Libraries.

Click on any record from the list to view to the full description and references for that record.

Tip – you can filter your results to show just the records of the Museums or Archives by selecting the relevant tick box.

Record display

This will be displayed at the top of the record in large type.

Document Reference:
This reference should be used to order or refer to individual documents when you contact us.  If the record displayed is labelled as a Collection, Section or Series level record then you will need to use the Catalogue shown at the bottom of the page to find details of individual items or files (see “Catalogue view” below for further guidance).

For local studies material a Class number will given (as well as a System Reference number prefixed XLS).  Please quote the Class number as well as the title of the item (shown in large type at the top of the record) in order to refer to these records.  For this material please check the Location as this will indicate at which libraries copies of the item are held.  For further information you can contact the library direct or contact Shropshire Archives if you would like help with this.

System Reference:
All System Reference numbers are prefixed with an X for ease of identity.  They refer to the catalogue entry only and should not be used order individual documents or books unless you are unable to identify the correct Document Reference or Class number (see above).  However, if you are unsure it may be helpful to quote this as well.

Catalogue view:
At the bottom of each record you will find the Catalogue view with the current record highlighted in bold.  This shows the record in the context of its collection.

From here you can either:

  • click on the + symbol next to the current entry (in bold) to find more specific records, or
  • browse the Catalogue to find other records in the collection by either
  1. selecting one of the other entries shown (to display the record)
  2. clicking on the + symbol to open up and explore other sections

If there is no + or – symbol shown then you have reached the most specific entry. Click on the text to display the full record.

Where to go next

In some cases, the record will include an image of the document or photograph described so that you can view it online. However, in most cases, if you would like more information you will need to either:

  • visit in order to view the original
  • contact us to request a copy
  • make use of our Research Service

Further information about all these services is available at

Further search options and tips

Narrow your search:
To the right of the results page you may see an option to “Narrow your search”.  This allows you to select various terms, such as Subjects, Places, Persons, Formats and Partners in order to filter your results.  Please note that filtering by Person, Place and Subject will result in only those records which have been specifically indexed being displayed.

Tip – to narrow your search to material held in a specific library select that library from the Places filter.

Advanced Search:
The Advanced Search page allows you to run more specific searches:

  • use the drop down box to search the records of a particular Partner organisation,
    e.g. Shropshire Archives, Newport History Society
  • use the search boxes provided to search specific fields or combination of fields, for instance, this allows you to search for key words in the title of a book along with a particular author (enter the author’s name in the Person search box).

Please note that searching by Person, Place and Subject will result in only those records which have been specifically indexed being found.  For many catalogue entries, the information is not yet indexed.  Also please note that the Times/Periods search box does not currently work for searching by date on archive documents.  We will be looking into how we can develop these areas to further improve the searching facilities of the site.

Tip – you can also use the Advanced Search page to restrict your search to a particular collection by entering the System Reference followed by an asterix in the Identifier/Ref No search box, for example:

  • enter X552* and another term to search within the Powis Collection (the collection reference is the first part of the System Reference given for every record in that collection)
  • enter XLS* and another term to search within the Local Studies collection  (books, articles, ephemera etc)

Tip – to restrict your search to material held in a specific library enter the name of the library in the Place search box, e.g. Oswestry Library.

For further information, please visit

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