Bedfordshire Family History Society

PO Box 214, Bedford MK42 9RX
Patron: Colin Chapman, PhD, CEng, CSci, CChem, FSG
President: Pamela Birch
Registered Charity Number 281677



For details of our Next Meeting please click here


GDPR - June 2018


New Look Website - September 2017

The Website has a new look. To navigate click on the links on the black bar above. The middle ones will drop down and revel other links. The BFHS logo will go back to this page. The layout should be better for people using mobile devices to view the page.

Members Portal - March 2016

We have now added a members only page to our website which is protected by a username and password. If you are a member and wish to have a look at our page then go to the Members Portal button on the left, you will require your membership number and e-mail address. Fill in the request form and we will send you your username and password.

So what’s on the page, well to start with it is going to be pdf copies of Swap Journals only, but more may follow. If you have any ideas for other items then please get in touch.

At present we Swap Journals with some 54 other societies but only 4 send their journals by pdf. We expect other to follow in time. The hard copies are put in our library which is available at our monthly meetings. So this is restricted to those in and around Bedford who can attend these meetings. By putting swaps on our members portal it is opening up availability to all members both UK and overseas.

If you are not a member but think you may enjoy these society journals then why not join us. To do this go to the Membership Details button on the left.

Bedfordshire Family History Society Journals on CD - February 2016

Back copies of Journal Volumes 1 – 19 including indexes, in .pdf format. The CD costs £10 including postage and is available from Joy Townend, please use CD order form on page 13 of our Publications List. The CD can also be ordered online from our two outlets:Online Shops

Bedfordshire Heritage Tea Towels

tea towel with Bedfordshire map

These are really too nice to use for drying up; they are beautifully printed with some famous Bedfordshire landmarks forming a border for the County map. Even if you don’t have any Bedfordshire ancestors they make ideal gifts. They are 100% cotton and at £4.50 each can be obtained from the bookstall at Members’ meetings or by post (please add £1 for each tea towel ordered to cover UK postage and packing – for outside the UK please enquire) from: Cheques to be made payable to Bedfordshire Family History Society.

New Bedfordshire Surnames Index CD released - September 2012

A new CD is now available from the Society, price £10; this forms an index to all the Parish CDs, or to parish records in other forms. It extends the range of the Prime CD up to 1837 for marriages and at least 1851 for other records. For details click here

New Bedfordshire Probate records published - June 2012

The Bedfordshire Family History Society is pleased to announce the publication of Bedfordshire Wills 1543-1547, the third in our series of Tudor Probate records from the Archdeaconry of Bedford. For details of how to order this and other Society publication see Book Publications.

Website updated – February 2012

The BFHS website has been static for some time while we have been transferring to a new host. We are glad to report that the new website is now updated with:

  • The full list of Parish Record CDs (see below)

Please check your Favourites or Bookmarks – a link to the Home page should pose no problem, but a link to a specific web page may take you to the old site. Just delete such entries from your list, then access the page from here using the left menu or other link, and "Add to Favorites" or "Bookmark this page" to make a fresh entry.

We apologise for delay in updating the site for reasons that were beyond our control.


Bedfordshire Parish Records on CD - all parishes completed - September 2011

The Bedfordshire Family History Society has now published a Parish Records on CD for all of the 128 of the ancient parishes within the county. Each CD covers one of the ancient parishes, also used as the basis for census districts, and contains images of the transcripts of the registers up to 1812. These will replace a number of sets of records previously issued on microfiche, and in addition carry photographs of the church and village, a description of the parish from a C19th Kelly's directory, and searchable indexes of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials. Also, where available, Monumental Inscriptions from the churchyard and other burial grounds are included, and a scanned copy of the relevant book from the Bedfordshire 1851 Census Index. For more details of parishes available and prices follow this link Parish Records on CD. These CDs are listed in our publications list and also available from our Online Shops .


Pre-1852 Surnames Index CD

The Surnames CD is a consolidated surname index of all entries for baptisms and burials up to 1851 (beyond in some cases) and marriages up to at least 1837 in the Bedfordshire Parish Registers, as included on the Parish CDs. This has over one million entries with surname, forename, year, parish and event. Consequently it will give you more detail, up to a later date, than the Prime CD, including the forename and year of the event, and also indicates a baptism, burial or marriage. Entries from the marriage licences are also included for bride, groom and surety. However, the index consists of an alphabetical list of surnames, and it is up to you to search for all possible variant spellings. It can lead you to the detailed entries on a Parish CD or to the pre-1813 register transcripts in printed form or on microfiche (to order see the publications list).

Meeting Room arrangements for Members' Meetings at Mark Rutherford

The society holds monthly Members' Meetings, usually on the first Friday of the month, at Mark Rutherford School, Bedford MK41 8PX (except in August). The meetings are held in the Drama Theatre (situated at the eastern end of the school). The Drama Theatre has recently been re-decorated, and refurbished with new tiered seating and lighting; this now gives us more seating in pleasant surroundings. The Bookstall carries a wide range of books for you to purchase and the Library contains books and other material for members to loan. Both of these facilities are available at all members' meetings. Please follow the link, Future Meetings and Events for a list of our Members' Meeting dates.

Journal Indexes - February 2016

Previous Journals of the Society are available on CD – but do they contain any articles of interest to you?  To help, we are putting the indexes to previous volumes on the web site.  There is now available a searchable alphabetical index to those surnames referred to in articles in volumes 1 to 17.  Surname Index

The CD contains Volumes 1 – 19 of the journal and a link to the online Surname Index. Each journal volume covers a period of two years and contains an individual index to surnames and subjects.

This online surname index will exclude any substantial published name lists, such as census transcriptions for institutions or Members' Interest profiles. 

Further details of the microfiche for sale are listed in our Publications List. They may be purchased from the Society, or ordered online from our two outlets:Online Shops

Book Publications

Bedfordshire Wills Books transcribed by Patricia L Bell, BA, FSA

Bedfordshire Wills 1531-1539

Front cover of Wills bookThis publication contains transcriptions of the Probate Registers (books 3, 4 and 5) from the Court of the Archdeaconry of Bedford, held at the Bedfordshire Archives and Records Service. It is fully indexed by personal names, places and subjects. An invaluable aid for Local and Family Historians and students of Tudor England. Contains 353 wills in 230 pages. Yellow cover. Published 2005.  (Click front cover to see bigger image)

It costs £8.55 including P & P in the UK and £14.00 Overseas including P & P (to order see below).


Bedfordshire Wills 1537-1545 and cases from the Archdeacon's Court

This book contains the next batch of records (books 6, 7 and 10) from the Archdeacon of Bedford's Court which include a large number of other cases brought before the Ecclesiastical Court as well as records of Probate. These throw light on the practices of late Tudor times, but there are also many wills from this later period, following on from the previous volume. Fully indexed, this book forms an invaluable aid for Local and Family Historians and students of Tudor England. Contains 420 entries, of which 252 are full wills, in 208 pages. Blue cover. Published 2010 (Click front cover to see bigger image)

It costs £9.55 including P & P in the UK and £15.00 Overseas including P & P (to order see below).


Bedfordshire Wills 1543-1547

This publication contains transcriptions of the Probate Registers (book 11) from the Court of the Archdeaconry of Bedford, held at the Bedfordshire Archives and Records Service. With full indexes of personal names, places and subjects, this book contains 268 new probate entries in 208 pages, with in addition a lengthy introductory analysis. Green cover. Published 2015. (Click front cover to see bigger image)

It costs £9.55 including P & P in the UK and £15.00 Overseas including P & P (to order see below).


Bedfordshire Wills 1547-1552

This volume is the fourth of the series and contains abstracts from 234 wills. 191 were proved in the ecclesiastical court for the Archdeaconry of Bedford between 1547 and 1551, twenty-six in the peculiar jurisdiction of Leighton Buzzard 1537 – 1554, and eighteen in the Biggleswade peculiar, 1540 – 1558. The publication of a group of wills enables us to see similarities, trends and differences over a range of common themes. Grey cover. Published 2017. (Click front cover to see bigger image)

It costs £12.05 including P & P in the UK and £17.50 Overseas including P & P (to order see below).



Bedfordshire Parish Poor Law Papers 1622-1834. Reprint

Poor Law Front CoverThis book contains a surname index of names of people that appear in surviving Bedfordshire Poor Law documents, held at the Bedfordshire and Luton County Archives. It also contains an alphabetical list by Parish of Poor Law documents that survive. The book is A5 in size and contains over 200 pages of information. (click front cover to see bigger image)

It costs £9.55 including P & P in the UK and £15.00 Overseas including P & P.from :--

Bedfordshire Family History Society
P.O. Box 214
MK42 9RX


Online Shops

parist chestWe also have two online bookshops where you may buy books, CD's, microfiche and membership: Genfair and The Parish Chest.
The Parish Chest
can be found by following this link.
can also be found by following this link.



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Page last updated

Brian Payne