Kirklees Local Studies Library

Kirklees Local Studies Library collects and preserves information reflecting the diverse communities of the area, inspiring people to enjoy their local identity and heritage.

You might want to use us to research your family history, the history of a local place, the story of your house or something significant that happened in the area. That could be last week or a hundred years ago.

Our resources can be found online and in physical books, newspapers, maps, photographs, periodicals and a sound archive We collect and preserve sources of information about the area, both ancient and modern. We also have connections with partner organisations for broader research and can advise on other sources.

Local Studies Resources
Resource type About the resource Availability
Archives Archives are preserved in the five offices of the West Yorkshire Archives Service and are available to view at their Kirklees office, based in Huddersfield Local Studies Library (please note library staff cannot provide access to archive material when the WYAS office is closed). Records of families, firms, schools, churches and local authorities are among the thousands of documents available. West Yorkshire Archive Service 
History and heritage Information about museums, war memorials, historic buildings, restoration and heritage projects in Kirklees. Available at Museums, galleries and history
Maps A large collection of historic Ordnance Survey maps covering the Kirklees area from 1854 onwards is available. Copies of tithe maps and some earlier printed maps, including Jeffrey’s Yorkshire of 1778, are also available. West Yorkshire Archives Service also holds a large collection of maps.
Newspapers Copies of local newspapers are held on microfilm and some local newspapers date back to the 19th century. These include the Batley News, Colne Valley Guardian, Dewsbury Reporter and Huddersfield Examiner. The Local Studies Library also holds an incomplete run of the Leeds Mercury, an 18th century newspaper.

Access to newspapers from the British Library’s vast collection of local and regional newspapers, covering the 19th and 20th centuries.

Photographs A visual record of the local area is maintained in the library’s large photographic and postcard collection. You can also view and order copies from a selection of over 40,000 images on the Kirklees Image Archive website.
Trade directories Directories are a valuable source of information for those wishing to research local businesses. The earliest directory in the Local Studies Library’s collection dates from 1819; the larger Kelly’s and Post Office directories also include lists of private residents. A selection of directories is also available online, searchable by region and decade and then by name.

 

Family History Resources
Resource type About the resource Availability
Ancestry Library

Information for family historians including Census records from 1841-1901 and birth, marriage and burial indexes from 1837-2004.

Library members are now able to access Ancestry from home. Please go to our Kirklees Online Library and login to your library account. Once logged in, scroll down and you will see a link to the Ancestry Library Edition on the right hand side.

If you are not a library member, you can join online at Join Kirklees Libraries.

 

  • Available free in all Kirklees Libraries
  • Or at a cost at: Ancestry 
Births, marriages, and deaths

The General Register Office (GRO) Index (also known as the St. Catherine’s Index) is the national index of births, marriages and deaths. The Local Studies Library holds copies of the indexes from July 1837 (when civil registration started) up to 1999. Please note we do not have access to certificates and cannot provide copies of them.

The FreeBMD website gives free access to records from 1837 to the 1950s and is constantly being updated to increase coverage. Records are also available on Ancestry, either free at any Kirklees LIC or through subscription.

We have burial records on microfiche.

Census

Census returns for the Kirklees area are available from 1841 to 1901 at the Local Studies Library, which also holds the 1881 census index for Yorkshire.

Census returns for England and Wales are available through Ancestry, which can be accessed for free in all Kirklees Libraries or through subscription. Please see Ancestry Library information above

The 1881 census for England and Wales is available free through the Family Search website.

  • Available at Huddersfield Local Studies Library
  • Family Search 
General family history

Huddersfield Local Studies Library has a large collection of guides to family history research.

The Genuki website has a huge amount of family history information covering every county in the UK, with thousands of links.

  • Available at Huddersfield Local Studies Library
  • Genuki 
International Genealogical Index Huddersfield Local Studies Library holds the IGI for Yorkshire. To search other regions you can use the Family Search website.
  • Available at Huddersfield Local Studies Library
  • Family Search 
Local organisations Information about local family history groups and resources held in our local organisations database. This includes Huddersfield and District Family History Society.
The National Archives Useful research guides and the National Archives catalogue as well as pay-per-download access to some National Archives documents.
Parish records Copies of West Yorkshire parish and chapel records are available at Huddersfield Local Studies Library, together with cemetery records for Kirklees.
West Yorkshire parish and chapel records are also available through Ancestry, which can be accessed free in all Kirklees Libraries or via subscription. Please see Ancestry Library information above.
  • Available at Huddersfield Local Studies Library
Workhouses and the poor law The Workhouse website explores the history of the Poor Law in the UK, with information on life in the workhouse and details of the workhouses in the various countries, with the locations of surviving records.
First World War and Second World War The Debt of Honour is a searchable database listing the members of Commonwealth forces who died during the two world wars and the cemeteries and memorials where they are buried or remembered. It also lists Commonwealth citizens who died as a result of enemy action during the Second World War.

 

Certificates

You can find out how to apply for a certificate and how much one costs.

Local Resources
National Resources
  • Britain from above 
    A project to digitise 95,000 searchable images from Aerofilms collection of aerial photographs from 1919 to 1953.
  • Genuki 
    Reference library of genealogical information of particular relevance to the UK and Ireland.
  • Ancestry 

    Information for family historians including Census records from 1841-1901 and birth, marriage and burial indexes from 1837-2004.

    Library members are now able to access Ancestry from home. Please go to our Kirklees Online Library and login to your library account. Once logged in, scroll down and you will see a link to the Ancestry Library Edition on the right hand side.

    If you are not a library member, you can join online at Join Kirklees Libraries.

  • Adoption records 
    The Adoption Contact Register, finding birth relatives if you were adopted or finding a birth relative who was adopted.

Finding library resources

The main collection of material is held in the Local Studies Library in Huddersfield. Smaller collections are available at Batley, Cleckheaton, Dewsbury, Holmfirth and Mirfield libraries.

  • You do not need to be a library member to use the Local Studies Library.
  • All our material is for reference purposes only.
  • There are both microfilm and microfiche viewers with the facilities to take both print and digital copies.
  • The Local Studies library has a selection of books of local interest for sale.

Copying resources

Our equipment can be used independently and help will be provided on request, please speak to our library staff for this.

  • Digital scanning is available at some libraries but is subject to copyright restrictions, format and condition of original material.
  • Photocopying is available at all libraries but is subject to copyright restrictions, format and condition of original material and charges.

Costs

Please contact us for a list of services which incur a charge e.g. copying, printing and research.

Contact Kirklees Local Studies Library

  •  01484 414868
  • localstudies.library@kirklees.gov.uk