Using catalogues and indexes

If you’re new to using archives you may want to have a look at the guides on the Archives Hub website, where you can find lots of information about working with archives and visiting repositories.

Suffolk Record Office has been creating index cards and catalogues since the offices opened in the 1940s. Some of these have been updated to a computerised format and can now be searched using the online catalogue.  Others are still only available on paper and card in the relevant branch.

The archive collections at Bury and Ipswich have a alphanumeric classification system which determines their reference e.g. ecclesiastical parish collections have the prefix FB and FC (at Ipswich) and FB and FL (at Bury) and parish council collections have the prefix EG. Lowestoft collections are classified using a number only sequence.

In all three branches we have card indexes for name, place and subject.  These indexes will direct you to the catalogues which will provide additional information and allow you to decide if you want to order the archives from the strongroom.    

There are also specialist indexes to help you access material such as wills, manuscript maps, photographs, illustrations and prints etc.

Online catalogue

Our new website has a large number of archive catalogues available for searching.  You can also order documents for viewing in the relevant branch searchroom.  Guidance on searching online and pre-ordering documents can be found here.

We will be updating the catalogue regularly but there are lots of collections which are not yet online.   If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you may need to contact us by email or come and visit in person.