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Discover your family history

Family history certificates

Copies of birth, death and marriage certificates are a great help if you are hoping to trace your family history. We can provide copies of certificates dating back to 1837.

Ordering copies of certificates

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

What if I want to find a record of an event before 1837?

Civil registration started in July 1837. To trace back further you will need to look at parish records which are available from some websites, local churches or archives offices.

The West Yorkshire Archive Service holds all kinds of local historical records. The service has branches throughout West Yorkshire. Anyone interested in the history of West Yorkshire should visit their website.​

Local family history service

How do I trace my family history?

  • Make a family tree starting with yourself, your brothers and sisters, parents, grandparents, etc.
  • Record all important events, dates and addresses relating to your family.
  • Show it to your relatives, especially the older ones. Ask them to fill in any gaps.
  • Look through old family certificates, correspondence, photos, heirlooms and other material. These will give you vital clues as to who your relations were, when they were born, when they died, who they married and who their children were (or are).
  • Birth, marriage and death certificates will give you vital information to help you continue your research. For example, a mother’s maiden name shown on a birth certificate will help you find a marriage certificate. The marriage certificate will usually provide you with the names of both the father of the groom and the father of the bride. You can then use this information to search for the next generation in your family tree.
  • Census records can help you piece together your family tree but certificates will provide you with more detailed information such as a full date of birth, place of marriage and cause of death.

What help can I find at the library?

​The Local and family history library at Leeds Central Library provides access to a huge collection of books, maps, directories, journals and pamplets on Leeds and West Yorkshire. You will also find everything you need for researching your family tree including the General Register Office indexes of Births, Marriages and Deaths, parish registers and census returns.

There is also free access to online family history resources in all libraries and family history workshops for beginners to help you get started.

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