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 - elderly family members will be your biggest source of free information!

With luck and perseverance, you should certainly be able to trace your family tree back as far as 1837 using the civil registration records. For the years prior to civil registration, which began on 1st July 1837, parish records may be consulted for details of baptisms, marriages and burials.

Where to look

Anyone wanting to trace their family history needs to apply to the register office in the district in which the event in question took place. This can be done by postal applications or a personal visit to the register office. Depending on the amount of information given and the nature of the enquiry, these requests may take some time to process as an extensive search by registration staff may be necessary.

The Barnsley Register Office holds the registers for births, deaths and marriages that have taken place in the Barnsley district dating back to 1837. 

Local libraries' archives can also be a source of information as they have relevant local publications and often hold census records on microfiche or microfilm. In addition to these sources, the internet can be used to obtain information and various computer programs are now available to help you organise and store your data, once gathered.

Barnsley Indexing Project enables anyone who wishes to obtain a birth, marriage or death certificate to locate the register details for the event and then print them out. A request for a copy certificate can then be presented to the Barnsley Register Office. Upon payment of the appropriate fee, the certificate will be produced.

The project is a joint venture between Barnsley Council and volunteers from the Barnsley Family History Society.

The websites listed below offer further information on historical searches.