Our online catalogue has over 900,000 entries and new material is being added to it regularly so please keep checking for new material.
Most of our collections will have a general description on the online catalogue which will tell you what type of records are held in each collection.
Quick tips to make a successful search:
- Start with a subject word or place name
- Don’t search for an individual person’s name, search for the type of record(s) the person might be mentioned in (the name of a church or a hospital, the name of a business they worked for)
- Look for variations of spellings if you do not find a result first time
- View our guide with hints and tips for searching the catalogue here
Further tips to help you search successfully:
- Please bear in mind that our online catalogue very rarely has actual archives available to view online. This is a finding aid designed to help you find material held at our 5 office
- Searching for an individual’s name alone may not bring up successful results and so it may be more productive to conduct a general search on the type of records you would expect the person to be mentioned in [e.g. a search for a particular church to see if we hold registers for the time the person was active, search for the business the person worked for or even a general search for a location linked to that person]
- The more specific your search term the less results are likely to be produced, if you are not sure exactly what you hope to find it is better to start with very general terms [hospital, mining, mills etc.] and then you can refine your search if you get too many results
- When you find anything you wish to look at please make a note of the location of the archive as this is the office you will need to go to in order to look at the original records [some records on the catalogue are actually held outside WYAS so you would need to contact the relevant office directly for these]
- Also make a note of the full catalogue finding number so staff will know what to get out and it is also useful to note the extent as if it is a large amount of material you may need to factor in more time when arranging to visit
- If you are unsure of a spelling you can use an * to create a wildcard search so for example searching for Sm*th will bring up all references to words starting ‘Sm’ and ending in ‘th’ [Smyth, Smith etc]
- Our catalogue is not case sensitive so there is no need to add capitalisation
- If you search for a phrase [for example West Riding County Council] your results will include records that contain these words but not necessarily in the order typed
- You can change your Advanced Search settings by clicking on the option under a search option
- There is more detailed help available on the tabs to the left of the online catalogue [Help, How do I search the Database etc]
- Not all our Collections are fully listed, but there should be a general description for each of our collections and new content is regularly added to our catalogue
- If you cannot find what you are looking for please let us know and we will try and help you find the records you are looking for
Finding very specific information you are interested in within archives is not always straight forward. We are trained to help you get the most out of your search for information so your search does not produce the results you had hoped for please contact us or take a look at our page on collection guides.