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Finding British Parliamentary Papers in the M.S.U. Libraries, Collections Guide No. 6 (Advanced): Journals

This is a guide to doing research with British government documents, particularly Parliamentary documents, emphasizing use of microform and paper materials, those in existence prior to the electronic era.


The Journals of the House of Commons and of the House of Lords record the activities of Parliament since 1547. Prior to the 19th Century, the Commons Journals also included many committee reports which were often not in the Sessional Papers. M.S.U. Libraries has the House of Commons Journals from 1547-1900 on microprint (#9) in PRR/Microforms. These Journals are indexed at the end of each session of Parliament since 1800. Prior to 1800 all sets of the Sessional Papers are incomplete. Furthermore, many House reports prior to 1800 were included in the Journals instead, so it is worth looking in the House Journals to find report material up to 1800. Also, remember the difference between the Journals and the Debates: the Journals are the written record of the activities; the Parliamentary Debates are the spoken record.

Aside from the indexing and full texts contained within the digital product above and in microprint House of Commons Journals, we have these indexes/guides to the House of Commons Journals:

A Select List of Reports and Other Papers in the Journals of the House of Commons, 1688-1800. J 301 .M3 1976 Main

Before the 19th Century there was no uniform method of retaining the Sessional Papers in any repository. Consequently reprintings of any set are incomplete. In addition, prior to the 19th Century, committee reports often appeared in the House Journals. So, especially for the 18th Century the material in the House Journals can be very important (and these items will not necessarily be found in the bound set of the 18th Century Sessional Papers which M.S.U. Libraries has). This index covers government, finance, agriculture and food supply, trade, transportation, social welfare and social problems, education, cultural institutions, and legal administrative topics. The index excludes foreign affairs topics. It is arranged by topic and name in one alphabet. There is also an index of persons who presented papers to the House. Citations provide the year of the Journals, volume number, and page to check in the microprint.

The Journal of the House of Commons, a Bibliographical and Historical Guide. JN 673 .M4 Remote Storage B

General Index to the Reports from Committees of the House of Commons, 1715-1801 Printed but not Inserted in the Journals of the House. J 301 f.A22 1715 Main oversize basement center and Microcopy Guides 2nd floor west

This should be used with microform #14700 reels 1-10 in PRR/Microforms which contains the reports indexed in this source. The General Index... shows the layout of topics in the volumes of the microfilm. There is a subject index referring the user to session year, volume, and page number.

Now, for the House of Lords, we have the following volumes of Journals and guides to them in the M.S.U. Libraries:

A Complete Collection of the Protests of the Lords, with Historical Introductions. (Covers 1624-1874). JN 623 1875 .A5 v. 1-3 Main

Calendar of the Journals of the House of Lords, from the Beginning of the Reign of King Henry VIII to 30th August 1642 and from the Restoration in 1660 to 21st January 1808. DA 25 .C1 1810 Special Collections

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