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Local and family history services

Discover your family history and research the local area in the Local and Family History library, located on the 2nd floor of Leeds Central Library.
 
  • Collection of over 180,000 items – books, local newspaper archive, journals, directories, maps, photographs, electoral registers, playbills and parish records. 
  • Focus on Leeds and West Yorkshire – fiction, history, geography, religion, education and natural history. Significant publications covering the rest of Yorkshire. 
  • Online resources including free access to Ancestry.com (in all Leeds libraries).
  • Staff on hand to help with general enquiries, plus one-to-one and drop-in sessions for help with more detailed research.
  • Regular events – lunchtime talks, learning sessions (see below) and more.
An FAQ and further information on all our services can be viewed in the Documents section of this page.


Ordering copies of certificates

If you wish to purchase a certificate please visit the order certificates page (see External links) for more information. For family history applications, the minimum information we require is the first name, surname, quarter and year, and the registration district.

Where possible please supply an index reference from the Yorkshire BMD website. This will aid the search for the certificate.

Lunchtime Talks
Find out more about the history of Leeds and Yorkshire in our free monthly local history talks. All are welcome. No booking is required but places are limited, so we advise arriving early to avoid disappointment.

Fridays
1pm to 2pm
Leeds Central Library, Arts Space 1st Floor

11 September 2015
Cutting a Dash – barbering and hairstyling in Leeds.
Kitty Ross, Leeds Museums

9 October 2015
The Wonderful World of a Victorian Spinster: Ellen Heaton of Woodhouse Square.
Janet Douglas, local historian
 
All are welcome and no booking is required. The full programme of talks is available to download from the Documents section on this page.
 
Newsletter
Keep up with latest news and events with our quarterly newsletter, available in the Documents section of this page.

Family History Workshops

We offer free family history workshops for those just beginning their family tree. These are one-off sessions looking at the basic resources that can be used in genealogical research.

The next dates are 30 September, 28 October, 25 November and 16 December all at Central Library, 2.30pm to 4pm. Booking is essential. Contact details are at the bottom of this page.


Family History Drop-in

We currently run a monthly family history drop-in session for those who are having difficulty with an aspect of their research. These operate on a drop-in basis with no need to book.

The next dates are 9 September, 14 October, 11 November and 9 December, all at Central Library 10am to 12pm.


Prints and Playbills Day
 
This new event will showcase our vast collection of theatre bills, circus bills, prints, posters and plans. It takes place on 12 September 1pm to 4pm in the Central Library and is free. Come and have a browse and see what you can discover about life in Leeds.
 

Research services
If you’re unable to visit the library, staff will answer quick enquiries received by email, letter or telephone free of charge. For more detailed research, a fee will apply (contact us to find out more).


Join the mailing list
Contact us to be added to our mailing list and receive regular updates on upcoming events and activities.

Industrial Heritage Trail app
Pick up (or download from our documents section) a copy of our Leeds Industrial Heritage Trail, which gives an introduction to the story of Leeds, concentrating on the legacy of Victorian times and some of the people, places and spaces that have made the city what it is today. It provides you with all the information you need to follow the trail around the historic buildings of central Leeds and along the waterways; as well as details of other places of interest in and around the city.

You can also download the app at www.yourtrailsapp.co.uk/leeds

 
Opening hours and contact details
Monday 9am to 7pm
Tuesday  9am to 7pm
Wednesday 9am to 7pm
Thursday 9am to 6pm
Friday  9am to 5pm
Saturday 10am to 5pm
Sunday 11am to 3pm

Tel/Fax: (0113) 247 8290
Local and Family History Library
2nd Floor, Central Library
Calverley Street
Leeds
LS1 3AB
 
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