Local and family history services
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Roofing work closure

The Local and Family History department will be closed from Monday 24th April to Friday 28th April due to roofing works. Staff can be contacted by email at localandfamilyhistory@leeds.gov.uk but will have very limited access to stock during this period. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Other departments within the building remain open. The third floor of the Central Library is currently closed due to roofing works. The Quiet Study room and meeting room are inaccessible until further notice. Some areas of specialist stock are also inaccessible. Please contact us to check for specific items at libraryenquiries@leeds.gov.uk or 0113 378 5005.

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. 

  • Take a look at our new Leodis Collections interface which brings together images on specific topics and uses open source maps to highlight their location.

  • 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 and more.

An FAQ and further information on all our services can be viewed in the Documents section.

Ordering copies of certificates

If you wish to purchase a certificate please visit the order certificates page 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.


Keep up with latest news and events with our quarterly newsletter (Spring 2017 Edition - PDF 1.25MB).

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.

All workshops are held at the Central Library. Booking is essential - see contact details.

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.

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.

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) 378 6982

Email: localandfamilyhistory@leeds.gov.uk

Address: Local and Family History Library
2nd Floor, Central Library
Calverley Street




Ancestry - only accessible in libraries

Leeds Libraries heritage blog

Nineteenth Century British Newspapers

Times Digital Archive: 200 years of the Times online​

Yorkshire Births, Deaths and Marriages archive


To view documents in PDF format you will require the free Download Adobe Reader Adobe Acrobat Reader

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