Genealogical and historical information and links for anyone researching their ancestors in England and the British Isles

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Themes Explorers and Adventurers Nobel Prize Winners
Actors/Actresses and Directors Famous People Places of Interest
Anglo-Saxons and Danes Historic Events Prime Ministers
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Inventors and Scientists Royal Consorts and Heirs
Artists and Architects Monarchs World Heritage Sites
Composers National Parks Writers and Poets


Derbyshire lies in north-central England.

Towns include the county seat of Matlock.

Anglo-Saxons and Danes
Once part of the kingdom of Mercia. Occupying a large part of central England, Mercia stretched from Wales in the west to the kingdom of the East Angles (East Anglia) in the east and from the West Saxon kingdom of Wessex in the south to Northumbria in the north.

Famous People

The tourist industry pioneer Thomas Cook was born in the village of Melbourne in 1808. In 1841 he set up the first organized railway excursions and due to their success began offering holiday excursions in 1845. In 1855 the first continental tours were organized and in 1862 his company offered the world's first ever "package tours" where accommodation, food and travel were paid altogether as one "package".

Inventors and Scientists
Richard Arkwright was buried at Cromford in 1792. He had invented a mechanised spinning frame which revolutionised the production of cotton thread. In 1771 he had the new technology installed at his newly built Derwent Valley Mills, the world's first water-powered cotton spinning mills.

Richard Arkwright

The engineer George Stephenson, inventor of the first steam locomotive, was buried in 1848 in Chesterfield.

George Stephenson

National Parks

In 1951 the Peak District became Britain's first National Park.

Nobel Prize Winners

The chemist Robert Robinson was born in the village of Rufford near Chesterfield in 1886. In 1947 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

Robert Robinson

Physiology or Medicine
The molecular biologist Richard J. Roberts was born in Derby in 1943. In 1993 he shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with the American Phillip A. Sharp for their research into genes and DNA.

Places of Interest

Cathedrals and Abbeys
Derby Cathedral

Historic Buildings
Derwent Valley Mills

Notable Places
The stone circle at Arbor Low is one of the most important after Stonehenge and Avebury in Wiltshire.

Creswell Crags is one of the earliest known settlements in the British Isles was discovered here.

Stately Homes and Palaces
Chatsworth House was where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned before her execution at Fotheringhay Castle in 1587.

Hardwick Hall

Prime Ministers
Prime Ministers
William Cavendish, the Duke of Devonshire, Prime Minister from 1756-57, was buried at All Saints in Derby in 1764. He had died whilst abroad in the town of Spa (now in Belgium).

World Heritage Sites
The Derwent Valley Mills at Cromford where Sir Richard Arkwright opened the world's first water-powered cotton spinning mills in 1771 were designated a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 2001. The mills heralded the birth of the modern factory and the industrial revolution.

Richard Arkwright

Writers and Poets
The philosopher Thomas Hobbes died in 1679 at Hardwick Hall and is buried at Ault Hucknall.

Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes

I put for a general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death.
Leviathan (1651)

I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark.
(Last words, 1679)

The writer John Cowper Powys was born in the county in Shirley in 1872. With ancestors on his mother's side of the family who included the poets John Donne and William Cowper, he himself became a writer as did two of his younger brothers: Theodore Francis, born in 1875 and Llewelyn, born in 1884. He grew up in the West Country and it was this rural upbringing that featured so prominently in the books he wrote later in life. After spending a quarter of a century in the USA he returned to the British Isles and settled in Wales.

John Cowper Powys

He felt as though, with aeroplanes spying down upon every retreat like ubiquitous vultures, with the lanes invaded by iron-clad motors like colossal beetles, with no sea, no lake, no river free from throbbing, thudding engines, the one thing most precious of all in the world was being steadily assassinated.
Wolf Solent (1929)

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Family History Societies
Record Offices
and Archives
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Derbyshire Ancestral Research

Derbyshire Archaeological Society
Record Society