Translation disclaimer (Translation disclaimer)

This content has been translated by a computer program and may not be 100% accurate.

(This content has been translated by a computer program and may not be 100% accurate.)

Family history research

Here you can find out about the wide range of information available in the Central Reference Library.

Family history research is a very popular leisure activity. TV programmes have led to an increase in people wanting to trace their ancestors and make their family trees.

How to begin

The first step is to speak to your relatives. Put together as much information as you can, such as names, ages, addresses and occupations. You should then try to prepare a basic family tree. This should help sort out dates when people were born, married or died. Some families kept records in bibles and others may have certificates or newspaper cuttings.

About civil certificates

To confirm your research you can obtain certified copies of register entries, see: Copy certificates.

A birth certificate will show:

  • The name of the child.
  • Date and place of birth.
  • The names of both parents, also the mother's maiden surname. (Some times, a father's name may not be recorded).
  • Current records (from 1969) show the place of birth of both parents.

You can then try to trace the marriage certificate of the parents. This will show:

  • Their names.
  • The date and place of marriage.
  • Where they lived at the time of their marriage.
  • Their ages.
  • Their type of work.
  • The names and occupations of both of their fathers.

A death certificate will show:

  • The full name.
  • The place of death.
  • Cause of death.
  • Type of work.
  • Address at the time of death.
  • Name and address of the person registering.
  • Current records (from 1969) show the maiden surnames of married women and the place of birth of the deceased.

All these details can be used to work back in time and trace earlier records.

Further research

Census reports give details of people living at a household at the time the Census is taken (every ten years). Census records between 1841 and the latest published reports, which cover 1911, can be accessed on:

  • Ancestry: Available at all Calderdale libraries, free of charge.
  • Find My Past: Available at Central library (Halifax), Brighouse, Hebden Bridge and Todmorden libraries, free of charge.

The Local studies and family history section in the Central Library and Archives has many resources, including:

  • Access to the Index of Births, Marriages and Deaths.
  • Parish registers.
  • Poll books and Electoral Registers.
  • Newspapers.
  • Access to Ancestry and Find My Past.
  • Trade directories.
  • Photos.

Other sources include: parish records, local libraries, newspapers and many websites including:

Webpage feedback

Was this page helpful? Rate this page helpful Rate this page unhelpful