States of Guernsey Island Archives
In 1986 the Island Archives Service was created, primarily to provide a records management service for the States of Guernsey, and also as a repository for other private and public records of historic and administrative value. Since its establishment the Archives has received many such records as gifts or loans, and through purchasing from individuals and at auction. Some of the records of most interest to family historians that are available for public viewing are listed below.
Please note, however, that whilst the Archives holds these valuable resources, the Priaulx Library is mandated in the first instance to deal with family history matters.
St Peter Port
Telephone: 01481 224512
It is requested that researchers make an appointment before visiting the Archives.
Please note that many of the records are in French and therefore require some knowledge of the language in order to read them.
States' records: Most States' administrative records dating from before 1948 are available for public viewing. These include:
- the Stranger Register, which dates from 1892 and lists non-locals who arrived in Guernsey and neither possessed a house nor paid a weekly rent greater than 3s.6d;
- the Foulon Cemetery registers, listing details of both burials and cremations;
- States' Supervisor records dating from the early nineteenth century;
- files concerning subjects as diverse as wrecks that occurred in island waters, tax rates for householders, and public house inspections;
Records from the Town and Country Hospitals are also available subject to a closure period of a century, and include records dating back to 1741, with details of inmates who were admitted through illness or poverty. These have been indexed to 1856.
States' records from the German occupation of Guernsey 1940-1945 are also available for public viewing, including:
- Identity Registration files. These give identifying details for all those over the age of 14 who remained on the island during the Occupation (with photographs of the individuals in most cases);
- administration files of the Controlling Committee and Essential Commodities Committee, which took on much of the day-to-day running of island affairs;
- German Civil Administration (Feldkommandantur) files, which record the activities of the occupying civil administration (in German);
- ledgers which give details of evacuees making application to return to the island in 1944-1945;
- records of the Channel Islands (Property) Rehabilitation Scheme, which gave compensation to islanders for the damage done to their property, indexed according to immediate post-war owners.
Parish records: The Archives has also received records from all of the parishes in Guernsey (St Andrew, Castel, Forest, St Martin, St Peter Port, St Pierre du Bois, St Sampson, St Saviour, Torteval, and Vale). These include:
- Constables' records from all ten parishes;
- Within the St Peter Port Constables' Collection is a list of Registered Persons Sent from the Island 1842-1880, which gives details of people's names, ages, occupation and reason for being sent from the island;
- Church records from the parish churches of St Andrew, Castel, Forest, St Martin, St Pierre du Bois, St Saviour and Vale. (In most instances, these are more easily consulted on microfilm at the Priaulx Library).
Other ecclesiastical records: As well as the Anglican parish churches, the Archives hold the records of many of the island's other churches:
- Baptist Chapel records, including those of Siloë, Bethesda and Bethel (now Shiloh);
- Methodist Church collection;
- Roman Catholic church records for St Joseph's, Notre Dame du Rosaire, St Yves, La Chaumière, St Magloire (l'Islet) and Delancey;
- Holy Trinity Church (Anglican);
- St James' Church (Anglican);
- St Peter's, Sark.
Records relating to the fiefs:
- Livres de Perchage. These contain details in French of landowners on some of the fiefs of Guernsey, giving names, areas of land and details of major structures such as houses and stables built on the land;
- Manorial court records of Fief Blanchelande, Fief le Comte, Fief de Sausmarez (these often require some knowledge of legal French, early-modern palaeography and manorial customs).
- The Stevens-Guille Collection, consisting of over 2500 documents relating to property, the division of estates through partage, military documents and a large number of letters, both personal and relating to the trading interests of the family;
- Legal and personal documents relating to Guernsey families, including the Durands, Gosselins, de Havillands, Dobrées and many others;
- Almanacs dating back to 1800, giving details of local dignitaries, lists of supply ships and other boats, and often licensed premises (from the mid-1800s) and tides.