Family History Research

The BPMA is the definitive place to find out more information on past postal employees. Many of the records held in our archives are of potential interest to family historians. Royal Mail Group is still one of the largest employers in the country, and with over 370 years of history it has had an impact on countless lives.

Advice for Researchers

Information on individuals may be found in several sources, depending on what they did and where. Our records also vary over time.

This section gives you an idea of where to look and what you may find for various employees. References to our catalogues are given by the word 'POST' followed by a number.

Our Family History Research Guide (PDF, 1289KB) gives more specific information on the range of records for genealogical research. This guide is available in our Search Room when you visit the Archive.

When looking for an ancestor in the archives it pays to come prepared. Our records are extensive and are mostly arranged in date order. If possible bring the following basic information about your ancestor(s) with you - it may save you time:

  • Date of birth
  • Date of death
  • What type of job they had
  • Where in the country they worked

If you do not know these details, it may be better to start at a local record office for the area ancestors were believed to have worked.

Family History Research Service

Our team can conduct research into specific family history resources held at The British Postal Museum & Archive on your behalf. There is a charge for this service and full details are outlined in the Family History Research Service information sheet (PDF, 56KB). Orders must be placed by post using the Family History Research Service order form (MS Word, 276KB).

Image of Main Sources For Family History

Main Sources For Family History

Pensions and Gratuities records, Appointment records and Establishment books are the prime sources for family history research at our archives.


Image of Other Sources For Family History

Other Sources For Family History

The BPMA holds many other useful sources which can help paint a fuller picture of your ancestor's life.


Image of What Did Your Relatives Do?

What Did Your Relatives Do?

Not all Post Office employees were Postmen. The Post Office employed staff in a variety of roles, from Messanger Boy to Packet Boat Captain.


Image of Case Study 1: J H Laurence, Head Postmaster

Case Study 1: J H Laurence, Head Postmaster

This case study takes you through what we did to find out more about J H Laurence, Head Postmaster at Shepton Mallet.


Image of Case Study 2: Moses James Nobbs, Mail Coach Guard

Case Study 2: Moses James Nobbs, Mail Coach Guard

This case study takes you through what we did to find out more about Moses James Nobbs, Mail Coach Guard.


Image of Family History Links

Family History Links

Links of Family History societies or archives which may be able to assist in your research.


You may also be interested in...

Appointment Books

Appointment Books

Find your postal ancestors on Ancestry.co.uk

Search digitised Appointment Books (1737-1969) from our archive collection online at Ancestry.co.uk.


 

Uniforms

Uniforms

The postie's uniform is one of the most easily recognised in the UK

Find out about the history of postmen's and postwomen's uniforms up until the early 20th century.


 


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