Kirklees libraries hold a large collection of books and other material such as maps, photographs and local newspapers relating to the Kirklees area. They also hold subscriptions to specialist information websites on behalf of their customers.

Finding Kirklees library resources

The main collection of local material is held in the Local Studies Library in Huddersfield. Smaller collections are available at Batley, Cleckheaton and Dewsbury, you can contact these libraries for details.

  • You do not need to be a library member to use the Local Studies Library.
  • All our material is for reference purposes only.
  • Some photocopying is allowed, subject to copyright restrictions.
  • There are both microfilm and microfiche viewers.
  • The Local Studies library has a selection of books of local interest for sale.
Local studies resources
Local studies resource types and availability
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.
A large collection of 19th century newspapers from around the country, including the Huddersfield Chronicle, is available online through the British Library. They can be accessed for free in any library or from home or elsewhere with a Kirklees library card.
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
Family history resource types and availability
Resource type About the resource Availability
Ancestry website Information for family historians including census returns from 1841 to 1911 and birth, marriage and death records from 1837 to 2005. It is a subscription website, but you can access it for free in any Kirklees Library and Information Centre.
  • Available free in all Kirklees Library and Information Centres
  • 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.
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 LICs or through subscription.

The 1881 census for England and Wales is available free through the Family Search website.
General family history Huddersfield Local Studies Library has a large collection of guides to family history research.

BBC Family History website has general information about researching family history.

The Genuki website has a huge amount of family history information covering every county in the UK, with thousands of links.
International Genealogical Index Huddersfield Local Studies Library holds the IGI for Yorkshire. To search other regions you can use the Family Search website.
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 LICs or via subscription.
  • Available at Huddersfield Local Studies Library
  • Ancestry
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 Information on First World War centenary commemorations can be found at our Lest We Forget website.

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.

Local and family history

There are plenty of resources to help you find information on your family history, tracing relatives or local history and obtaining copies of certificates.

Certificates

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

Local resources
National resources
  • BBC family history
    The BBC's family history website.
  • 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
    Discover your family history, build a family tree, search birth records and more. This service requires a paid subscription but is free in all LICs.
  • Adoption records
    The Adoption Contact Register, finding birth relatives if you were adopted or finding a birth relative who was adopted.

Contact Local Studies Library