Our Research Services
If you cannot visit any of our offices in person, or simply have insufficient spare time to conduct research yourself, our experienced staff can undertake family and local history enquiries on your behalf. Through our specialist Research Service we can research a number of topics including:
- General research, all aspects of family history, the history of a house, Business, property or individual
Our staff will consult a range of records on your behalf, original manuscript records, microfilm and printed sources available in the five offices of the West Yorkshire Archive Service can all be searched. The sources searched might include: the Registry of Deeds, church, school, police, hospital, estate and business records as well as electoral registers and court records.
These unique records could provide you with details about the lives of your ancestors in the West Riding of Yorkshire including their employment, education and property ownership. The registers for baptisms, marriages and burials pre-1837 could help you to take your family tree even further back.
If you are not able to visit we can search our collections for you as part of our paid research service.
How do I use the Research Service?
You will need to complete and return a Research Application Form. The search fee is payable in advance, and, regrettably, non-refundable.
You can: Print out this Research Application Form and complete it by hand or complete this Research Application Form electronically and print it out. Please ensure you sign the copyright declaration and return to West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield along with payment. Please do not send credit card details by email.
Research Service Gift VoucherMake a present of the past for a friend or relative and help them explore their history. They will receive a pack with all the details of the service and will have a year to redeem it. Prices from £25. Place your order online through our Eshop.
Requesting a search
It is important that the research request which you make is as clear and specific as possible, particularly regarding names, dates and places, e.g.
- • To find the baptism of Jack Oates at Dewsbury 1890-1895.
- • Details of Wallace Dransfield`s service in the West Riding Constabulary between 1870 and 1880.
- • Details of the trial of Thomas Ackroyd, tried at Wakefield Quarter Sessions in 1854.
- • To find those registered to vote resident at 129 Primrose Hill, Horbury between 1929 and 1934.
- • Information regarding the history and occupancy of Rosehill Cottage, Woolley, from 1800 to 1850.
- • Case history of Albert Mitchell admitted to Stanley Royd Hospital in July 1870.
If you have a number of requests please list them in order of priority. Please note that we cannot undertake broad research topics such as "The development of Wakefield in the eighteenth century."
We will usually send you the findings of the research in the form of a typed report. Where appropriate we supply paper copies of the entries found. It is not always possible to provide copies of all the documents relevant to the search as some documents are too fragile to copy. If we are not able copy the document for any reason, we will inform you of this.
Up to three free A4 photocopies can be included with each research report. We will advise you on further copies that you may like to order, which would be charged at the current rate set by the West Yorkshire Archive Service. All copies provided are subject to copyright law.
We cannot guarantee that the information which you have requested will be found. However, the sources searched will be listed, and you will be informed of any other potentially relevant material that is available.
How much does it cost?
Research can be undertaken in one hour blocks at a charge of £25 per hour (minimum search one hour). For open-ended searches you may specify a maximum search time (e.g. "Search not to exceed 3 hours.")
How to pay
Payment should be made in advance, and cheques/postal orders should be made payable to Wakefield Metropolitan District Council. Overseas payment should be made in pounds sterling by International Money Order or by a cheque drawn on a British bank.
We can also accept credit/debit card payments using the following cards: Mastercard, Visa, Maestro, Switch / Visa Debit or Solo.