Local and family history

Discover your family history and research Leeds and West Yorkshire in the Local and Family History library, second floor of Leeds Central Library.

Our collections hold over 180,000 items including books, newspaper archives, journals, directories, maps, photographs, electoral registers, playbills, parish records and online information.

Local History resources available online

Free access from home

Leodis - Photographic archive site, over 60,000 historic photographs, over 5,000 historical playbills and over 1,000 historic Leeds gig tickets.

The Secret Library - Leeds Libraries heritage blog offering family history advice, and guides to stock and collections.

Absent war voter search - Search our absent war voter database.

Nineteenth Century British Newspapers - Explore over 2 million pages of nineteenth century British newspapers.

Times Digital Archive - Search over 200 years of The Times newspaper.

Yorkshire BMD - Birth, marriages and death indexes for Yorkshire from 1837 onwards.

Free access from Leeds Libraries Branches

Ancestry - Billions of records for family history research.

Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society - Browse issues back to 1839.


Staff available to help

Library staff are on hand to help with general enquiries, plus one-to-one drop-in sessions for help with more detailed research.

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

Regular events and workshops

Family History for Beginners are available in person and online, events can be viewed here Events | Leeds Library

Local Studies workshops, consultations, talks, heritage tours and events are advertised in our newsletter, subscribe below, and can be booked here Ticketsource

(opens in a new window) Subscribe to Leeds Libraries' Local and Family History e-newsletter

You'll receive regular updates on upcoming events, exhibitions, workshops and consultations.

Things you should know before visiting to begin your family history research

We do not have access to birth, marriage and death certificates. These can be purchased from Leeds Register Office, please visit the order copy certificates page for more information.

Opening hours and contact details

View our opening hours.


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


Email: localandfamilyhistory@leeds.gov.uk

Phone: 0113 378 6982