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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
Our series of free lunchtime talks continues in August with Stephanie Davies talking about ‘'My Cousin Florence- Florence Nightingale’s connection to the Gascoigne family of Lotherton’'. The talk is on Friday 14 August 1 to 2pm at Leeds Central Library. All are welcome and no booking is required. The full programme of talks is available to download from the Documents section on this page.
Keep up with latest news and events with our quarterly newsletter, available to download from the documents section of this page.

Learning sessions
We offer a range of local and family history learning sessions in Central Library including
  • Family History for Beginners
  • Maps and Trade Directories
  • Tracing Your Family History Online
  • Local History Online
All of these are FREE but booking is essential. You’ll also need a basic working knowledge of computers to take part in online sessions.

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

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