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How to search the site

Searching Essex Archives Online (EAO) is free.

EAO contains written descriptions of all the records held by the Essex Record Office (ERO), some of which are also available as digitised copies.

Some digitised items are free to view or to listen to, but viewing images of parish registers or wills requires a subscription.

EAO searches descriptions of documents, not their actual contents. For example, a search will tell you if we have a particular parish register, but not all the names of people included in that register.

  1. Using the search form
  2. Choosing search terms
  3. Everything/Accessions/Images
  4. Advanced searches
  5. Document reference

1. Using the search form

  • Start on the home page
  • Enter your search terms into the Search the archives box
  • If desired, use the Date range boxes to enter the years you want your search to start and finish
  • Click the Search button

2. Search terms

  • Use key words, such as place names or the type of document you are interested in, e.g.:
    • For electoral registers from Brentwood - Brentwood electoral
    • For baptism records from Harlow - Harlow baptism
  • Personal names will only find results when a person is mentioned in a catalogue description
  • Do not use words such as the, and, in, etc.
  • EAO may not find useful results for broad themes such as ‘Second World War’, or ‘medieval records’. Instead, try searching for particular kinds of documents and using the date range boxes

3. Everything/Accessions/Images/Audio Visual

A dropdown box on the main search page offers you the option of searching for:

  • Everything - searches all items in our collection
  • Accessions - limits your search to items which have arrived in the collection but have not yet been fully catalogued
  • Images - searches for items which have digital images attached
  • Audio Visual - searches for digitised audio visual items

4. Advanced search

On the Advanced search page you can use the Refine your search dropdown box to narrow your search parameters.

  • People – offers you boxes to search by surname and first name
  • Places – offers search boxes for place name, property or address
  • Subjects – searches the subjects index
  • Institutions – searches the institutions index
  • Documents – searches an index of particular types of document

5. Document reference

Every item at ERO has a unique document reference code. If you know the document reference of an item you want to find, enter this directly into the Document reference box in the top right of the screen and click Search.