Leeds Library and Information Service


The Local and Family History Service offers a wealth of material relating to Leeds and Yorkshire. The Central Library is a centre of excellence for family history materials and staff expertise.

Work is ongoing to catalogue the rest of the collection which can currently be accessed via a card catalogue.

Maps are invaluable tools used for discovering what a particular area used to Leeds The collection is extremely wide-ranging, be like or even what a particular building with 30,000 books, pamphlets and was originally used for. Our map collection is periodicals covering (almost) everything possibly one of the best in the region. We ever published about Leeds and its environs. have thousands of old and new maps, some We buy books about Leeds, by local authors Ordnance Survey, some by individual and books published by Leeds publishers. cartographers. Coverage of the city of Leeds is excellent, with our earliest map dating Yorkshire from c1560. We also hold a collection of Approximately 25,000 books, pamphlets Yorkshire maps, some of which cover the and periodicals are available in the whole of Yorkshire. Yorkshire collection.


Accessing the collection

Prints, photographs and playbills

You can search online for about 40% of the Yorkshire collection and Leeds items acquired after 1992 at: www.leeds.gov.uk/catalogue

The large collections of photographs and playbills have been digitised, and can now be seen on www.leodis.org Digitisation of other collections is ongoing, access to these is still available via an old card index.

For more information visit: www.leeds.gov.uk/libraries Ask us any question and we’ll try to find the answer – free! Telephone: 0113 247 6016 Or contact Enquiry Express: enquiry.express@leeds.gov.uk

Newspapers and periodicals

Newspapers are fantastic resources to use to find out what was happening in society in Leeds and Yorkshire. The Local & Family History Library has a full run of the Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Evening Post on microfilm along with the Leeds Mercury and Leeds Intelligencer, both of which date from the 18th century. We also have microfilmed copies of most of the little local weekly papers. As well as newspapers we have many bound volumes of local periodicals such as the Dalesman, and full sets of both the Thoresby Society Transactions and the Yorkshire Archaeological Journal.

Online resources

Family History Resources

Access the Ancestry website FREE via the library subscription. It has billions of records for family history research, including the census returns for the whole of the UK and can be accessed on all Leeds libraries’ public computers, thus offering a fantastic free resource to library members. Origins website is also available free via public computers in the Local and Family History Library. The most valuable resource however is the staff who work in the department. Between them, they have many years of experience in using these resources and in helping the general public towards finding the information they need.

A huge collection of primary source material is available for the family historian. Microfilmed copies of the Yorkshire census returns from 1841 to 1901; a large collection of parish registers on microform and printed format; GRO indexes of births, deaths and marriages on microform, plus copies of the old Leeds electoral registers and trade directories going back to the 19th century.

Learning sessions

Bookable short courses such as ‘Family History for Beginners’ and Family History on the World Wide Web are held regularly. Contact Details: 2nd Floor, Central Library Calverley Street Leeds LS1 3AB Tel : 0113 247 8290 Email: LocalStudies@leedslearning.net

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