Researching your family history

More and more people are becoming interested in family history. Tracing your 'family tree' can be a fascinating, rewarding and, sometimes frustrating, hobby. Your research should start with what you know. Speak to family members and ask to look at documents and photographs to start you off.

There are many sources of information available to help you, certificates can provide information going back to 1837, parish registers, newspapers and other records can be useful sources to help you with your search.

Registrar’s Records

If you want to trace your family history by searching through registrars records you’ll need to contact the register office in the district where the birth, death or marriage took place.  You should note that boundary changes over the years can sometimes affect the district you need to search in.

You’ll find a full list of register offices in England and Wales  on the Gov.uk website

You can usually contact the relevant register office by post, telephone, email or a personal visit. Depending on the amount of information you already have, your request might take some time as an extensive search by registration staff might be needed. The arrangements in each district office may vary slightly.

Barnsley Register Office holds the registers for births, deaths and marriages that have taken place in the Barnsley district from 1837. For earlier years, parish records can be consulted for details of baptisms, marriages and burials

If you want to search our indexes you’ll need to contact us to make a request and this will always be at the discretion of the Superintendent Registrar.

If you want any copies of certificates, you’ll have to pay an additional fee for each one and these can be ordered and paid for online

We can’t provide copy certificates for people who were adopted. You’ll need to contact the General Register Office for these.

 

Libraries and Archives

Archives will usually be your main port-of-call for local research. They hold the majority of records you’ll need for your search.

Barnsley Archives and Local Studies hold parish registers as well as newspapers, cemetery records, census returns and other sources.

They also have a large number of indexes, records and digital sources from other areas of the UK, and provide free access to the Ancestry and Find My Past websites which have national and international coverage.  You can also access the British Library’s Newspaper Archive via Find My Past.

Archives hold a free half hour family history surgery once a month. These sessions are very popular, so you should contact us to book a place. Staff are always available to advise and give guidance and help you on your way with one of the most fascinating hobbies there is.  

The websites below offer further information on historical searches.