Information and public services for the Island of Guernsey

Today

News

Channel Islands Christmas Lottery Tickets go on Sale
Saturday 01 October 2016

Channel Islands Christmas Lottery tickets go on sale across the Channel Islands on Saturday 1st October, with organisers anticipating another record year in ticket sales.

Read more
Guernsey theory test to include Hazard Perception testing
Friday 30 September 2016

From 1st November 2016 the Guernsey theory driving test will include a hazard perception element.

Read more
Visit of His Royal Highness the Duke of York
Thursday 29 September 2016

His Royal Highness the Duke of York is visiting the Bailiwick on Monday (3rd October, 2016).

Read more All News
Coming soon – a map of events, hazards and other useful information
weather iconFair periods and isolated showers, perhaps heavy with a risk of thunder this evening.
High-°CLow11°C
5 day forecastTide timetables
weather iconFair periods and isolated showers, perhaps heavy with a risk of thunder this evening.
High-°CLow11°C
5 day forecastTide timetables


Arrival


VesselFromTimeArrived
Commodore Goodwill St.Malo 22:00 21:54A 


Departure


VesselToTimeDeparted
All arrivals and departures Shipping forecast


Arrival


AirlineTimeDateFromFlightStatus
Mail/Newspapers06:302016-10-02NewspapersNPT546


Departure


AirlineTimeDateToFlightStatus
Aurigny07:002016-10-02GatwickGR600
All arrivals and departures
Sign In

Island Archives

Contact Us - Island Archives

Share this page

The Island Archives was created in 1986 to collect, preserve and provide access to public and private records relating to the history of the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

Spread over three floors of the deconsecrated St Barnabas Church in Cornet Street the Archives houses thousands of documents, files, books and images that date from the 14th century to the present. We maintain an extensive collection of records of the States of Guernsey, both ancient and modern. Others of historical value are obtained by purchase, deposit or donation from institutions or private individuals. Whilst most of our records concern Guernsey, we also hold a number covering the rest of the Bailiwick, including an extensive Alderney collection.

  • Research and visiting us

    • There is no charge for consulting records at the Islands Archives, or for staff advice on available resources. It is best to contact us prior to your visit with the details of your enquiry so that we can help you make the most of your research and ensure the records you would like to see are available. We request that you make an appointment to visit us when contacting us with the details of your enquiry via e-mail, post or telephone. An overview of the records we hold is available on this page.
    • Facilities and services
    • Group tours
    • Tours for groups are available by prior arrangement.
  • Collections

    • Provided here is an overview of some of the records held by the Island Archives. Most of these are available for public viewing, although some materials of a sensitive nature may be subject to restrictions.
    • States of Guernsey, Crown and official records  
    • By far the largest amount of material we hold is from States' Departments and Committees, from the nineteenth century to the present day. Records include Billets d'État (agendas), minutes of committees, working papers and correspondence, plans, maps and photographs. Most States' administrative records dating from before 1948 are available for public viewing although certain records (such as those relating to health) are subject to restrictions. We also hold the records of the Lieutenant Governor's and Bailiff's office.
    • Parish records
    • We look after records from all ten of the civil parishes in Guernsey, dating mostly from the eighteenth century to the modern day These include bornements (relating to boundaries), deliberations of the Douzaines, accounts and tax books.
    • Ecclesiastical records
    • We hold records from the parish churches of St Andrew, Castel, Forest, St Martin, St Pierre du Bois, St Saviour and Vale and also the other Anglican churches of Holy Trinity, St James' Church, and St Peter's, Sark. In most instances, records of baptisms, marriages and burials are more easily consulted on microfilm at the Priaulx Library. As well as the Anglican churches, the Archives holds records of several of the island's other churches and chapels:
      • Baptist Chapel records, including those of Siloë, Bethesda and Bethel (now Shiloh);
      • Methodist Church collection, relating to both French and English circuits from the 18th century to the present;
      • Roman Catholic Church records for St Joseph's, Notre Dame du Rosaire, St Yves, La Chaumière, St Magloire and Delancey.
    • Royal Court Library
    • The historical part of the Royal Court Library has been transferred to the Archives' care. This specialised collection is strong in the areas of Channel Island law and history, Norman customary law, English public records publications and historical French and English legal texts. Volumes may not be removed, though enquiries relating to books that may be consulted on our premises are welcome.
    • Records of families and individuals
    • We hold legal and personal documents (such as letters, diaries and photographs), relating to Guernsey families and individuals. These include Durands, Gosselins, de Havillands, Dobrées and many others. One of our most important collections is the Stevens-Guille Collection, spanning the medieval to the modern periods. Consisting of over 2500 documents that relate to property, the division of estates through partage and military affairs, the collection includes numerous letters, both personal and relating to the trading interests of the family.
    • Organisations and charities
    • We look after a diverse collection of records (including committee minute books, correspondence, programmes, scrapbooks and accounts) from local institutions such as La Société Guernesiaise, The National Trust of Guernsey, The Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society, the Women's Institute, and others.
    • Business records
    • We hold the administrative records of many Guernsey businesses. These include Mowlem's, Best's Brickfield, Norman Piette (formerly Peter Robilliard & Sons and P.E. Robilliard & Norman), Guernsey Gas Light Co., Randall's Brewery, Caledonia Nursery (Charles Smith and Son), Blue Diamond Group (Fruit Export) and others.
    • Records relating to fiefs
    • We hold the manorial records (15th - 20th centuries) of many of the Fiefs of Guernsey, including Livres de Perchage. Please note that these records often require some knowledge of legal French, early-modern paleography and manorial customs.
    • Artworks and photographs
    • We hold artwork and a large number of photographs of the Bailiwick of Guernsey by photographers such as Thomas Singleton, T.B. Hutton, F.W. Guerin and Charles Toms. We also have a collection of States' photographs which show, for example, the construction of the reservoir. Guernsey Museums and Galleries has responsibility for the island's collection of fine art.
    • Maps and plans
    • We are home to a large number of historic and modern maps and plans relating to Guernsey and its Bailiwick, including Ordnance Survey Maps (1898 - 1979) and many relating to buildings, engineering and construction.
    • Film and sound archive
    • The Island Archives holds recordings and film newsreel footage from public and private sources. Subjects include both World Wars, including the signing of the German surrender in May 1945. These may be viewed or listened to by appointment.
    • Reference library
    • We also have a small library which holds publications on the First and Second World Wars, the medieval Channel Islands and Norman history, biographies, history, transport, languages, law, shipwrecks and more.
    • Major accessions
    • Every year The National Archives, Kew, collects information from over two hundred archives and record repositories in the UK about major collections of records they have received the previous calendar year. This information is added to the National Register of Archives, and is also edited and used to produce thirty-four thematic digests which are made available through The National Archives' website and distributed for publication in a number of learned journals and newsletters. The Island Archives has participated in this survey since 1996 to make available online information about its major collections for researchers.
    • Details of Island Archives' major accessions for the years 1996 to 2014 are available here pdf icon Accessions 1996-2014 [623kb].
  • Researching your family history

    • Provided here is an overview of some of the records held by the Island Archives that may help with researching your family history. Most of these are available for public viewing, although some materials of a sensitive nature may be subject to restrictions.
    • States of Guernsey Records
    • By far the largest amount of material we hold is from States' Departments and Committees. Most States' administrative records dating from before 1948 are available for public viewing. These include:
      • Register of Stranger Poor (1892-1914), listing non-locals who arrived in Guernsey with limited means;
      • Foulon Cemetery Registers (1856 onwards), listing details of both burials and cremations in this non-denominational cemetery;
      • Town and Country Hospitals (18th - 20th centuries), these include references to inmates dating back to 1741, with details of those who were admitted through illness or poverty. Records of the Town Hospital have been indexed up to 1856. Workhouse and related records are available subject to a closure period of a century from creation.
    • States' records from the period of the German Occupation of Guernsey 1940-1945 are also available for public viewing, including:
      • Identity Registration Forms. 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;
      • Ledgers which give details of evacuees making application to return to the island in 1944-45;
      • 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.
    • For more information about records from the Occupation period please see the "Researching the German Occupation 1940-45" section on this page.
    • Parish Records (Constables and Douzaines)
    • The Island Archives holds the administrative records from all of the ten civil parishes in Guernsey. Records in these collections which may be useful for researching family history include deliberations, minutes, correspondence, deeds and tax books. Within the St Peter Port Constables' Collection is a list of Registered Persons sent from the island (1842-80), which gives details of people's names, ages, occupation and reason for being sent away.
    • Procureur of the Poor/ Outdoor Assistance
    • These poor law records are primarily found through the records of the parish Constables or through the Town and Country Hospital collections held at the Archives. There is a 100 year restriction on these records due to their sensitive nature.
    • Funeral Remembrance Cards
    • We hold an indexed collection of more than a thousand cards which were sent during the 19th - 20th centuries to invite guests to funerals, detailing the deceased, the date and location of the funeral.
    • School records
    • We have a collection of material including log books, registers, minutes, photographs and school magazines for various (but not all) schools in Guernsey.
    • Legal documents
    • We hold a large number of deeds, etc. relating to property transactions. Most were written in French before 1969.
    • Military Records
    • Please note that The National Archives, Kew, holds any personal service records. For more information on military history resources we hold please see the "Researching military history" section on this page.
    • Ecclesiastical Records
    • We hold records from the parish churches of St Andrew, Castel, Forest, St Martin, St Pierre du Bois, St Saviour and Vale and also the other Anglican churches of Holy Trinity, St James' Church, and St Peter's, Sark. In most instances, records of baptisms, marriages and burials are more easily consulted on microfilm at the Priaulx Library. As well as the Anglican churches, the Archives holds records of several of the island's other churches and chapels:
      • Baptist Chapel records, including those of Siloë, Bethesda and Bethel (now Shiloh);
      • Methodist Church collection, relating to both French and English circuits from the 18th century to the present;
      • Roman Catholic Church records for St Joseph's, Notre Dame du Rosaire, St Yves, La Chaumière, St Magloire and Delancey.
    • Clubs and Societies
    • Records from various clubs and societies including St John's Ambulance Association and Brigade, the Women's Institute, the North, West and South Shows, Royal Guernsey Agricultural and Horticultural Society, La Société Guernesiaise, Masons, Western (Styx) Community Centre, and the St Peter Port District Nursing Association.
    • Almanacs
    • Dating back to 1801, these publications contain details of licenced premises, businesses, and lists of local officials and dignitaries.
    • Family Trees and Research
    • We may already have a family tree and/or completed research on your family. One of the principal sources is the Reserson Pedigrees, largely the work of Nicholas Reserson (1727-98), who was elected a jurat of the Royal Court in 1770. Over the years, other researchers extended Reserson's work, and the collection contains family trees and other material prepared by Spencer Carey Curtis (1865-1945), Edith Frances Carey (1864-1935), Thomas William Mansell de Guérin (1861-1929), and perhaps others.
    • Special Collections
    • One of the largest collections is the Stevens-Guille Collection, spanning the medieval to the modern periods. Consisting of over 2500 documents that relate to property, the division of estates through partage and military affairs, the collection includes numerous letters, both personal and relating to the trading interests of the family. We also hold a large number of legal and personal documents relating to Guernsey families including the Durands, Gosselins, de Havillands, Dobrées and many others.
    • Published Resources
    • There are a number of family history publications in our library that are available for consultation, including:
      • Le Poidevin, David Wilfred - How to Trace your Ancestors in Guernsey (1978)
      • Backhurst, Marie-Louise - Tracing Your Channel Islands Ancestors - A Guide for Family Historians (2011)
      • Kreckeler, David  - Guernsey Emigrants to Australia (1996)
    • Other local research facilities
    • Whilst the Island Archives holds many valuable resources, the Priaulx Library specialises in family history studies and holds the census records of Guernsey (1841 - 1911). Many of the parish and non-conformist church records are available on microfilm at the Priaulx Library. The library also holds local newspapers (1791 - present), Army Lists, Elizabeth College Registers, and other family papers. The library may have some completed research on your family, and a list of family names already researched is available on their website.
    • The Island Archives do not hold or issue copies of birth, marriage or death certificates which are a matter for the civil registry held at the Greffe. Copies can be accessed at the Priaulx Library as indexes and on microfilm.
    • Please contact us with details of your ancestors once you have carried out your preliminary research. We can then search our computer database for any references in our collections. If you are unable to visit in person you could employ a family history researcher to carry out research on your behalf. Unfortunately we are not able to recommend any particular researcher.
  • Researching your property history

    • Provided here is an overview of some of the records held by the Island Archives that may help you with researching your property history. Most of these are available for viewing, although some materials of a sensitive nature may be subject to restrictions.
    • Completed House Pedigrees
    • We may already hold a completed house pedigree for your property, drawn from manorial records (livres de perchage - please see below). Selected house pedigrees were also published in the Report and Transactions of La Société Guernesiaise 1987-1990, which are available for consultation in our library.
    • Livres de Perchage
    • We also hold a large collection of 15th - 20th century manorial records known as Livres de Perchage. These are useful for completing house histories, or pedigrees, and contain details (in French) of land and property owners on some of the fiefs of Guernsey, giving names, areas and details of property.
    • If you wish to consult these records at the Island Archives you will need to know upon which fief the property in question is situated, and the names of the previous owners of the property as far back as possible. This usually may be established from the deeds, which are normally passed on to the new owner when the property is conveyed. Copies of these are held at the Greffe, and the registers of them can be viewed there, in the originals or on microfilm. Please note that prior to 1969, these records were kept in French.
    • We have produced a guide to using livres de perchage which is available in our research area.
    • J.H. Lenfestey Collection
    • This is an extensive collection of Livres de Perchage, partages, conveyances and other documents relating to property, dating back to the fifteenth century. The collection also includes maps of fiefs and research papers relating to Guernsey place names.
    • Manorial Court records
    • We hold the records (15th - 20th centuries), of Fief de Blanchelande, Fief le Comte, Fief de Saumarez (Castel) and Fief de Sausmarez (St Martin). Please note that these records often require some knowledge of legal French, early-modern paleography and manorial customs.
    • Maps and Plans
    • We hold a large number of maps and plans in our collections relating to Guernsey and its Bailiwick. The following may be particularly useful when researching the history of a property:
      • 1787 Duke of Richmond map
      • 1843 plan of St Peter Port by John Wood
      • 1873 plan of St Peter Port by James Duquemin
      • 1898 - 1979 Ordnance Survey maps
      • 1800 - present States of Guernsey maps and plans
      • Twentieth-century Building Control plans
    • Channel Islands (Property) Rehabilitation Scheme records
    • This was set up by the States of Guernsey on the 8th April 1946 to reimburse islanders for loss or damage as a result of the Occupation, employing a gift of 3.3 million pounds from the UK government. Records of this scheme, which ended in 1953, provide the applicant's details, the nature of loss or damage, and the finances and works involved. The records relate to both dwellings and business property. They also cover property such as furniture, vehicles and boats. Some of the files include inventories detailing the contents of properties.
    • The records are indexed in hardcopy, according to the names of applicants. To search them you will need to know the name of the person(s) who owned the property during the Occupation, or immediately afterwards, and the name of the property at this time.
    • Parish Records
    • The Island Archives holds the administrative records from all of the ten civil parishes in Guernsey. Records in these collections which may be useful for researching property history include bornements (relating to boundaries), plans, accounts, tax books, etc., deeds, minutes and correspondence.
    • Architectural Records
    • Working papers of Guernsey Architects including N.H. Guilbert and George Bramall, containing drawings, plans, correspondence and research relating to Guernsey architecture during the 19th - 20th centuries.
    • Edmund Lenfestey Collection
    • An extensive collection of photographic slides of buildings in St Peter Port, taken by the late Edmund Lenfestey in 1975.
    • Published Resources
    • There are a number of publications in our library that are available for consultation, including:
      • Brett, C.E.B. - Buildings in the Town and Parish of St Peter Port (1975)
      • McCormack, J. - The Guernsey House (1987)
      • Lenfestey, J.H. - Guernsey Place Names (2014)
      • The Guernsey Farmhouse, published by the Guernsey Society (1963)
      • van der Tang, Maria M. - Guernsey Churches, Chapels and Missions Past and Present (2011)
      • Published photographs in a number of books, including a series by Carel Toms and Victor Coysh (19th - 20th centuries)
      • Almanacs - these printed works dating back to 1800 often include lists of licensed premises
    • Other records in our collections
    • The Island Archives holds thousands of records including deeds, letters, photographs (including aerial), books etc. relating to the history of the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Please contact us with details of your property and any known previous owners and we can search our computer database.
    • Other local research facilities
    • Please be aware that the Greffe and States' Cadastre are best equipped to deal with current property enquiries in the first instance. The Greffe holds non-current Cadastre registers going back to 1912 and conveyancing registers going back to 1567. Census records (1841-1911) are available at the Priaulx Library.
    • Please note we cannot undertake property searches either for the public or "Land Registry" type searches for solicitors, credit rating agencies etc.
  • Researching military history (pre 1940)

    • Provided here is an overview of some of the records held by the Island Archives that may help you with researching Guernsey's military history. Most of these are available for viewing, although some materials of a sensitive nature may be subject to restrictions.
    • Due to the island's location and frontier status after the English loss of mainland Normandy in 1204, Guernsey has a rich military history.
    • The Crown maintained a garrison at Castle Cornet. Later, regiments were also stationed at Fort George (built 1780) and elsewhere. A local militia, from 1831 named The Royal Guernsey Militia, also defended the island.
    • The French repeatedly attacked the island in the Middle Ages, even occupying Castle Cornet 1338-45. After extensive rebuilding in the Tudor period, during the English Civil War the Castle was held for the Royalists, besieged by the Parliamentary islanders until its surrender in December 1651.
    • Fortifications continued to be strengthened, and more built during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as material remains such as the granite coastal towers and forts testify.
    • From the late seventeenth until the early nineteenth century island privateers - private vessels licenced by the Crown under letters of marque to seize enemy ships - were active, bringing wealth to the island.
    • During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the island produced a number of renowned military personnel, including Guernsey's greatest naval hero Admiral Lord de Saumarez (1757-1836), Major General John Tupper of the Marines (1727-95), Admiral Thomas Le Marchant Gosselin (1765-1857), Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Mansell (1777-1858), and Major General Sir Isaac Brock (1769-1812), the so-called 'Hero of Upper Canada'. General John Gaspard Le Marchant (1766-1812) founded the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.
    • The First World War saw not only the maintenance of local defences, but also the recruitment of many Guernsey people to serve in the allied cause, most notably in the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry (the RGLI). The Second World War brought a different experience. Whilst Guernsey people again served abroad, German Forces occupied the island itself, 1940-45. Still seen today are many concrete bunkers, tunnels and other fortifications constructed during this period.
    • Over the more peaceful post war years, after the disbandment of the Militia and the withdrawal of the garrison, Guernsey's defence works and military records have become a matter for historical preservation and study.
    • Although the Island Archives does not hold personal military service records, we do hold a number of items that may be useful when researching military history. These include official States of Guernsey and parish administrative records, and those relating to individuals such as commissions appointing Militia officers, personal letters, diaries, etc.
    • Almanacs
    • Dating back to 1801, these publications include lists of local officials and Militia and certain regimental officers.
    • Parish Records - Constables and Douzaines (seventeenth - twenty-first century)
    • The Island Archives holds administrative records from all of the ten civil parishes in Guernsey. Records in these collections that may be useful for researching military history include parish deliberations, minutes, correspondence, and militia lists of personnel.
    • Personal Records
    • The Island Archives hold various collections which include the personal records of those who served, including militia commissions, letters home, field service post cards, diaries, notebooks, army forms, poems, photographs, memoirs, and letters of sympathy to the families of those killed in action.
    • Lieutenant Governor's records (nineteenth - twentieth century)
    • The Lieutenant-Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Island of Guernsey is Her Majesty's personal representative in the Bailiwick, and historically was the military commander of the island. Records relating to military history include a photocopied set of letters covering the Napoleonic period (the originals are kept in the Greffe), and nineteenth-century letter books containing correspondence to and from Whitehall, including the First World War period.
    • Records of English Civil War period
    • The Archives holds some correspondence related to the administration of the Bailiwick during the English Civil War, including part of the correspondence known as the 'Osborne Letters' which is a small group of letters that include letters sent to and from Charles I and II, and the Governor Sir Peter Osborne. There are exchanges of correspondence with Parliament forces, which involve calls to surrender Castle Cornet. We also hold some appointment letters, petitions, instructions etc., covering the English Civil War and Commonwealth periods.
    • Josué Gosselin collection
    • This collection includes military records dating from the late seventeenth to the nineteenth century including militia commissions, lists of duties, general orders, correspondence, some army and navy lists, and papers relating to the careers of General Gerard Gosselin (1769-1859) and Admiral Thomas Le Marchant Gosselin (1765-1857).
    • Stevens-Guille collection
    • One of our largest collections is the Stevens-Guille Collection, spanning the medieval to the modern periods. Consisting of over 2500 documents, the collection includes Militia and other military records dating from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century including militia commissions, plans of troop exercises, and correspondence exchanged with Lieutenant Governors. Many of the papers concern the Guille and De Carteret families.
    • Dalzell family of Guernsey
    • This collection consists of family correspondence and papers relating to military service (Abyssinian campaign) of John Dalzell and First World War service of his son, John (1867-1918).
    • Barlow/ McCrea letters
    • Early nineteenth-century correspondence relating to the Barlow and McCrea families. Letters include a relation of the death in action of Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Barlow, of the 61st Regiment (South Gloucestershire) Regt of Foot, in 1812 in the Battle of Salamanca, Spain, during the Peninsula War.
    • Harvey collection
    • Correspondence from John and Harry Harvey serving in India, to family in Guernsey, of the 1870s-1880s, mentioning social and family news (in India and Guernsey), and current events such as threats of war, speculation of war with Russia over Afghanistan, etc.
    • Walter collection (nineteenth - twentieth century)
    • Correspondence of the Walter family.  Some family members lived in the Middle and Far East. The collection includes copies of letters from 2nd Lieutenant F. Brousson to his mother during the Boer War; papers, photographs and correspondence concerning the construction of Karachi Airship Base (Pakistan), 1926-27; a First World War notebook belonging to J. B. Walter [commanding officer] that supplies details of soldiers including next of kin, age, etc, together with military publications including regulations and training manuals the early 20th century.
    • Mansell collection
    • Records of Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Mansell (1777-1858) dating from the late eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century. Subjects include Mansell's appointments to warships, the capture of ships, and general correspondence.
    • Hocart collection
    • This collection includes instructions to the commanders of merchant vessels regarding privateering, particularly during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. The collection also contains lists of ships, detailing captains and their crew.
    • Raban collection
    • This holds the research papers of James Peter Caplin Priaulx Raban (1918-96), maritime historian and Anglican clergyman, relating to maritime trade and privateering during the eighteenth to twentieth centuries.
    • De Havilland collection
    • This contains the nineteenth-century correspondence and accounts of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Fiott de Havilland (1775-1866), and of Major-General John Tupper (1727-1795), relating to the cutters Tartar and Surprize.
    • Phillipps MSS collection
    • Acts of Court, petitions, etc., concerning military matters, many relating to Alderney (eighteenth century).
    • Durand collection
    • Correspondence relating to Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Durand (1836-1911) based in India in the late 19th century.
    • Royal Court Library
    • The Archives house the historical part of Guernsey's Royal Court's Library, including Victorian transcripts of numerous records, the originals of which are both in the island and in English repositories such as the National Archives. On the whole they cover dates from the early sixteenth to the late seventeenth century. There are numerous examples of letters containing military intelligence, the supply of troops and equipment etc. Of particular note is a copy of the 'Legge Survey' (1680) illustrating and describing Guernsey's defences.
    • Military Structures
    • The Island Archives holds a number of official records (incl. the series Actes des Etats, 1605-1840 and Billets d'État), along with correspondence, plans and deeds dating from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, relating to military structures in Guernsey, including:
      • Arsenals - Town, St Peter Port; Baubigny, St Sampson; Les Beaucamps, Castel; Les Naftiaux, St Andrew
      • Barracks - Castle Cornet and Fort George, St Peter Port; Jerbourg, St Martin; Grandes Rocques, Castel
      • Castles and forts, including batteries, magazines and stores
      • Coastal defence towers (loophole and Martello)
      • Military roads
      • War memorials and cemeteries
      • Many plans feature military structures, in varying levels of detail, including:
      • 25" Ordnance Survey maps 1898 - 1979
      • Admiralty charts, including for Alderney (mid nineteenth-century onwards)
      • 1787 Duke of Richmond map
      • 1832 plan of Guernsey by James Cochrane
      • 1843 plan of St Peter Port by John Wood
      • 1873 plan of St Peter Port by James Duquemin
    • First World War 1914-18
    • The Island Archives holds a number of records from this period, including official records created by the States of Guernsey and parish officials, and some personal records of those who served and their families.
      • States of Guernsey records- Board of Administration minute books and correspondence files of the period, on a number of subjects including food supplies, imports and exports, foreign nationals living in Guernsey, arms and ammunition, militia, etc.
      • States' Supervisor correspondence, mostly relating to the control of food supplies.
      • Bailiff's Files - papers covering a number of subjects including Militia, military tribunals, food supplies, imports and exports, Guernsey War Relief Fund. Access to these requires consent of the Bailiff's Office.
      • Lieutenant-Governor - Various correspondence, including the employment of prisoners of war as agricultural workers.
      • Harbour Master's file covering the period 1913-20, including mentions of ships sunk by German submarines off Guernsey.
      • The War diary of the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry 1917-18, a copy of the original at the National Archives
      • A booklet listing casualties that mention 'Guernsey' in the care of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
      • Parish collections - records that include Militia lists of males over the age of 17 and 45, liable to serve in the Royal Guernsey Militia, organised by parish, with correspondence referring to exemptions, etc.
      • Castel Parish Church collection - a quantity of correspondence relating to the placing of a wall plaque in memory of Major George Le Page killed in France in 1916.
      • Photographs- we hold a number of photographs and postcards in our collections. Military subjects include men in uniform, sometimes with their families, ceremonies at Fort George, Belvedere Field etc., and men leaving for war in 1914, depicting crowds of people and men ready to embark at the White Rock. We also hold a video of a newsreel recording of this event.
      • Church monthly magazines.
      • Newspaper hoardings.
      • Rolls of Honour - these list those who served and were drawn up by parishes, parish churches and schools.
      • Hodder collection - mostly correspondence of the Hodder and Ollivier families.
      • Tooley collection - mostly correspondence between Lt. H.A.R. Tooley and his wife.
      • Len Corbin collection - mostly correspondence of the Lenfestey family.
      • C. Toms family collection - photocopies of letters from Charles Toms to his wife while on active service June 1917 to August 1919, and his diary from January to July 1917.
    • Second World War and German Occupation of Guernsey 1940-45
    • Information about records we hold from this period can be found in a separate section on this page.
    • Published Resources
    • There are a number of publications that are available for consultation, including:
      • Blicq, A. Stanley - Norman Ten Hundred, a record of the 1st (Service) Bn. Royal Guernsey Light Infantry 1917 - 1918 (1920)
      • Coysh, Victor - Royal Guernsey: a history of the Guernsey Militia (1977)
      • Hoskins, S.E. - Charles II in the Channel Islands (2 vols, 1854)
      • Hurden, Bethia J. - The Royal Sark Militia (1992)
      • Le Marchant, Denis - Memoirs of the Late Major General Le Marchant 1766 -1812 (1997)
      • Le Patourel, J. (ed.), - The Building of Castle Cornet, Guernsey: documents relating to the Tudor reconstruction (1958)
      • Marr, James - Guernsey People (1984)
      • Norman, R. R. - Guernseymen at War: the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry France and Flanders 1917-1919 (2009)
      • O'Neill, B.H. St J. - Castle Cornet Guernsey (1952)
      • Parks, Edwin - The Royal Guernsey Militia: a short history and list of officers (1992)
      • ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Parks, Edwin -Diex aïx! God help us: Guernseymen who marched away, 1914-1918 (1992) (lists those who served during the first world war)
      • Read, D. B. - The Life and Times of Sir Isaac Brock (1894)
      • Ross, J. - Memoirs and Correspondence of Admiral Lord de Saumarez (2 vols, 1838)
      • Ryan, A. N. (ed.) - The Saumarez Papers: selections from the Baltic correspondence of Vice-Admiral Sir James Saumarez 1808 - 1812 (1968)
      • Shayer, David - James Saumarez: the Life and Achievements of Admiral Lord de Saumarez of Guernsey (2006)
      • Thornton, T - The Channel Islands 1370-1640: between England and Normandy (2012)
      • Tupper, F.B. - Chronicles of Castle Cornet (1851)
      • Voelcker, Tim - Admiral Saumarez versus Napoleon: the Baltic, 1807-12 (2008)
      • Casualties that mention 'Guernsey' in the care of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (1998)
      • Published photographs in a number of books, including a series by Carel Toms and Victor Coysh (19th - 20th centuries)
      • Published articles in the Transactions of La Société Guernesiaise, the Review of the Guernsey Society, Alderney Society Review, CI Monthly Review, Norman historical journals, etc.
      • Dictionary of National Biography
    • Other local research facilities
    • Please note that The National Archives, Kew, holds any surviving personnel records of the regular services.
    • Obituaries and other information can be found in local newspapers, copies of which are accessible at the Priaulx Library. The library holds Army and Navy Lists (incomplete eighteenth - twentieth century, complete Army lists 1756-1844), which can be used to trace officers of the British Army, the Royal Navy and the East India Company. The library also has an extensive collection of local source material, including militia records, the Groves' Military Collection of publications, and other resources such as census records.
    • Guernsey Museums and Galleries are responsible for several museums displaying Guernsey's military history. These include the 201 Squadron (RAF) Museum, the RGLI Museum and the Royal Guernsey Militia Museum, all of which are located at Castle Cornet.
    • The Royal Court's record office, the Greffe, holds some military records, including a mid-nineteenth-century set of plans entitled "Fortifications des Etats" and letter books, some marked 'military letters' c.1778-1863 (thus including the Napoleonic period) in the Lieutenant Governor's collection. The De Sausmarez Collection includes numerous records of Courts Martial, etc., from the late eighteenth century, correspondence with officers etc.
  • Researching the German Occupation (1940-45)

    • Provided here is an overview of some of the records held by the Island Archives that may help you with researching this topic. Most of these are available for viewing, although some materials of a sensitive nature may be subject to restrictions.
    • Identity Registration Forms
    • These give identifying details including name, date of birth, address, and employment 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. The issued identity card was to be carried at all times and produced for inspection on request of a German serviceman in uniform, a Parish Constable, Douzenier or Police Officer.
    • The Island Archives holds two sets of identity forms for Guernsey. One set is organised alphabetically for the whole island, with the forms for islanders who died during the Occupation and Sark residents being filed separately from the main collection. The second set is also organised alphabetically but by parish, and includes a number of forms completed by evacuated islanders who returned within a few months of the liberation. Unfortunately there are no photographs on the forms for returning islanders.
    • Wartime diaries and personal records
    • The Island Archives holds a large number of diaries, Red Cross messages and personal correspondence relating to the Second World War. These include those of individuals who evacuated to the UK and islanders deported to Germany, as well as those who remained in the island during the Occupation. A more detailed list of these records is available.
    • We hold a collection of letters written by Brigadier A. E. Snow, Commander of Force 135, to his wife, Anne, in 1945. They detail the rehabilitation of the Channel Islands during the months following liberation.
    • Another of our significant collections is the Ambrose Sherwill Collection. Sherwill was appointed President of the Controlling Committee in 1940 and held the post of HM Procureur. The collection includes his memoirs and a number of letters.
    • Records relating to Evacuees
    • The Archives holds a set of seventeen ledgers thought to have been organised for persons wishing to return to Guernsey from the UK following the end of the war. The ledgers contain forms, mostly dated 1944, giving brief details of individuals, including dates of birth, addresses in UK and Guernsey, dependents, occupations, etc. The ledgers are organised alphabetically, and there are also two schools ledgers for pupils that were evacuated. Another schools' ledger may be missing.
    • A list of ships used in the June 1940 evacuation is also available.
    • The Archives also holds records such as diaries of evacuees, letters, UK identity cards and ration books of those who left Guernsey. There are some records of teachers and assistants evacuated with pupils such as the Muriel Parsons diaries, the Nora Roughton collection, and also wartime records of the Guernsey Society, etc.
    • The Archives holds a set of the journal "The Channel Islands Monthly Review" (1941-45), which was a newsletter for evacuees published by the Stockport and District Channel Islands Society.
    • Deportations
    • The Archives has a number of records of persons deported by order of the German authorities in 1942 and 1943. There are for example the diaries of deportees, and files within the Feldkommandantur records, internment camp records mostly for Biberach in Germany, including sketches of the camp, the accommodation and surrounding countryside, and also letters to and from Guernsey.
    • Channel Islands (Property) Rehabilitation Scheme
    • This was set up by the States of Guernsey on the 8th April 1946 to reimburse islanders for loss or damage as a result of the Occupation, employing a gift of 3.3 million pounds from the UK government. Records of this scheme, which ended in 1953, provide the applicant's details, the nature of loss or damage, and the finances and works involved. The records relate to both dwellings and business property. They also cover property such as furniture, vehicles and boats. Some of the files include inventories detailing the contents of properties.
    • The records are indexed in hardcopy, according to the names of applicants. To search them you will need to know the name of the person(s) who owned the property during the Occupation, or immediately afterwards, and the name of the property at this time.
    • Records of the Controlling Committee
    • An extraordinary meeting of the States of Guernsey was held on the 21st June 1940. It was decided to appoint an emergency committee called 'The Controlling Committee of the States of Guernsey', Ambrose Sherwill was appointed its first president. The committee was given all the executive and administrative powers of the States. This committee met for the first time on the 25th June 1940.
    • There are files available for study on a number of subjects within this index such as "Identity Cards", "Emigration and Immigration", "Water Supply", "Sports", "Acts of Bravery", "Internees and Evacuees", "Prisoners of War" and so on.
    • Minutes of the Controlling Committee held at the Archives date from 25th June 1940 to 24th September 1945, copies of which are available in our research area.
    • Records of the Essential Commodities Committee
    • In March 1939 a report was submitted to the States recommending the establishment of this committee. This was formed under the presidency of Sir Abraham Lainé. The committee was given wide ranging statutory powers, including the rationing of commodities. Directed by the British Government this commenced on 9th May 1939 and by September 1939 the committee had built up a reserve of food, including wheat and flour, also coal, oil and potash.
    • Files available include "Red Cross: General", "Fuel, Water etc.", "Foodstuffs", "Purchasing Commissions", "Milk & Dairy Products", "Land, Cultivation, Crops etc.", "Petrol & Oil", "Rationing" and "Red Cross: Supplies", etc. Visitors can access indexes of the files in our research area.
    • Other States of Guernsey records
    • Board of Administration files include general Occupation records, unoccupied dwellings files, accounts, fire brigade reports, purchasing files re. goods from France, transport regulations, air raid precautions, requisitions, societies, various supplies, rationing, Red Cross, etc.
    • There are a number of reports relating to the Occupation, including "Report of Five Years of German Occupation" (23 May 1945) by John Leale, President of the Controlling Committee; Report of the States Committee for Post-Occupation (Channel Islands Property Rehabilitation Scheme), and a report by the States of Guernsey Committee for the Control of Essential Commodities entitled "Report on Essential Supplies and Services during the Occupation of Guernsey" (1945).
    • Billets d'État
    • We hold a bound set of Billets d'État detailing the deliberations and resolutions of the States of Guernsey, including the period 1940-45. These are available in our research area.
    • Feldkommandantur files
    • A branch of the Feldkommandantur 515 (Field Command) was set up in Jersey in early August 1940, through which the Germans administered the Channel Islands. This was a sub district of the Departement de la Manche in France, and feldkommandanturs were set up in occupied territories as administrative links between the military and the civilian population. The files of the Guernsey branch fall into two main sections, reflecting the division of responsibilities in the organisation. The majority of the contents of these files are in German. The Militarische Fuhrung (military command) dealt mainly with matters directly affecting the German forces on Guernsey, while the Zivile Verwaltungsgruppe (civil administration) was concerned with the population as a whole.
    • Militarische Fuhrung was responsible for matters mainly affecting German forces, military operations/meetings, requisitions of vehicles and bicycles, renaming places in German, travel arrangements and permits, Red Cross, soldier's accommodation and military cemetery, offences and complaints etc.
    • Zivile Verwaltungsgruppe was responsible for matters affecting the general population, including finance, agriculture, transport, education (including teaching of German in schools), deportations, shipping and supplies, road improvements, utilities, German requisitions and demolitions, lists of aliens and civilian workers, etc.
    • Photographs
    • Original photographs of the Occupation period include a group photograph of Occupation Committee members; young men and soldiers around Laufen Internment Camp; a group photograph of an Internment Camp in Guernsey; the Occupation Intermediate (Grammar) School, Girls' Intermediate School in Rochdale; a scrapbook of cuttings and photographs, which includes German troops in St Peter Port and citizens queuing for rations, and a set of photographs with plans and notes on various German tunnels and of defences under construction.
    • We can also provide page locations for Occupation related published photographs contained within published books available in our library.
    • Film Archive
    • The material we hold covers the Occupation period and subsequent Liberation celebrations. They include a film that was played to German cinema audiences to show Hitler's supposedly "model" occupation of British territory. With scenes in Guernsey, Jersey and Sark, it purports to show life continuing as normal with plentiful food etc. Another film, made by the Crown Film Unit, appears to have been produced within two months of the Liberation.  In it, islanders were asked to re-create the hardships they endured during the Occupation, but there are also scenes of jubilation at the arrival of the Red Cross Ship Vega and the distribution of food parcels, mine clearance and the return of normality. Post occupation films include the visit of HM the Queen for the 50th Anniversary of Liberation and the unveiling of memorials related to the Occupation.
    • Sound Recordings
    • Cassette tapes, some with transcripts, provide the memories of islanders who stayed, or were evacuated or deported to internment camp.  The Guernsey Retired Teachers Association describe their wartime teaching experiences, and those involved with G.U.N.S [Guernsey Underground News Service] recall their activities. There are also tapes mentioning housing, water supplies and policing during the Occupation and of the evacuation of the Girls' Intermediate School before and during the Occupation.
    • Other local research facilities
    • The Priaulx Library has a number of records relating to the Occupation including wartime diaries, local newspapers, photographs, etc.
    • The Channel Islands Occupation Society was formed to study all aspects of the occupation. The Society collects sound, documentary and photographic material from the Occupation period.
  • Donating records to the Archives

    • The Island Archives welcomes the donation of records that relate to the history of Guernsey and deserve preservation from businesses, clubs, societies and individuals.
    • A variety of material is accepted including documents, books, files, letters, photographs, postcards, sound and film. These can be donated, or deposited long term where ownership is retained by the depositor.
    • Each item we receive is given a unique Archives' reference, catalogued on our searchable computer database and packaged in archival quality materials. Records are kept in environmentally controlled storage which maintains a stable temperature and humidity to help prevent deterioration.
    • Records are made available for public consultation either immediately or at the expiry of an agreed specified period, subject to our usual regulations and relevant legal provisions including those relating to copyright and data protection.
    • If you are interested in donating or depositing records please contact us.

Share this page

Useful Pages