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.

We offer a large range of resources including online information and events to help with your research. You do not need to be a member to access our resources. If you wish to use the computers, you will need a library card. Here are some of the services we offer:

Collection of over 180,000 items

These include books, local newspaper archives, journals, directories, maps, photographs, electoral registers, playbills and parish records.       

Focus on Leeds and West Yorkshire

Including items about fiction, history, geography, religion, education and natural history. We also have significant publications covering the rest of Yorkshire.       

Online resources

All Leeds libraries have free access to Ancestry.com.       

Staff available to help

There are members of the team on hand to help with general enquiries, plus one-to-one and drop-in sessions for help with more detailed research.       

Regular events

We offer workshops, lunchtime talks, learning sessions and more.       

Ordering copies of certificates

If you would like to purchase a certificate, please visit the order copy 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 Births Marriages and Deaths (BMD) website external link. This will help the search for the certificate.

Workshops and sessions

We run regular one-off Family History for Beginners sessions. There are also regular sessions on how to use family history websites including Ancestry and a phone consultation service for those who are having difficulties with their research.  You can book onto our sessions here

You can book these sessions on Ticket Source external link.

Staff in the Local and Family History Library can give you a quick overview of Ancestry.com but cannot sit with you while you search.

All sessions are free to attend and need to be booked in advance. Contact us to book or for more information.

Family history drop-in

We currently run a monthly family history drop-in session for those who are having difficulty with their research. Booking is not needed for these sessions.

Research services

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

Join the mailing list

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

Opening hours and contact details


9am to 8pm


9am to 8pm


9am to 8pm


9am to 8pm


9am to 5pm


10am to 4pm




Local and Family History Library
2nd Floor
Central Library
Calverley Street


Local and family history library contact options
Email: localandfamilyhistory@leeds.gov.uk email link
Phone0113 378 6982

For more sources, visit our online resources page.


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