Frequently Asked Questions



Will I have to pay for this search?
It is free for you to access and look through our online catalogue and it is also free for you to visit our offices and view the documents you have found through your search.

There is a cost for copies of documents - see current charges


I am unable to visit the West Yorkshire Archive Service to view documents is there an alternative option?
If you are unable to visit our offices you can contact us to see if it is possible for us to provide copies – see copying services for information on what we can copy and the costs involved

We may be able to provide a photograph of the document or you could bring a camera to photograph the document yourself. There is a charge for this service - see current charges

Alternatively if you require a more in depth search of our collections but are unable to visit us we also have a research service available


Is it possible to search for an individual's name?
Yes, but many of our collections are not in the catalogue to individual item level, so if you are searching for a specific person you may not find something if you simply type their name in unless the person you are looking for is a person of local significance for example a well known local politician


I have found what I am looking for, how can I view the collection/item?
You can either:

  • Arrange to view the record[s] at the office that holds the collection
  • you can request copies [see copying services]

If you are unsure about what you want to see or whether it will be available to view, please contact the office holding the collection which will be indicated in the Location of archives field


Can I get copies of the document[s] I am interested in?
We can provide copies of many of the records we hold. Please see copying services and current charges for more information


Can I get someone to search the archives on my behalf?
If you wish to search the archives, but you are unable to visit in person we do have a research service available, please see our website for further information


Do I need identification to view documents at the WYAS?
The West Yorkshire Archive Service no longer uses a card reader system.


How can I get more information about a collection I am interested in?
Not all collections are listed to item level so if you would like more details on a particular collection or item[s] please contact the relevant office [see the Location of Archives field] and staff will be able to provide you with more information or arrange for you to look at the collection. If you are not sure which office to contact please email us at and the email will be forwarded to the appropriate office


Do I have to go to the archive office that holds the document I am interested in?
Please see copying services and current charges for more information on obtaining copies of documents remotely


What information will I need to make a note of when arranging to view a document?
Once you have found a document you wish to look at you will need to make a note of: which of the five offices within the West Yorkshire Archive Service holds the collection.

  • The catalogue reference number
  • The date of the document
  • A description of the document
  • The extent


What is the difference between a basic and an advanced search?
The basic search allows you to search for a word or phrase, but the advanced search option allows you to search for more specific things within the catalogue and to refine your search. Please see the How do I Search the Database section for more information


Do I need to put information in all the search categories of the advanced search?
No, you do not need to fill out all the fields if you do not wish to. You can fill in as many or as few of the categories as you wish, but if you do not provide enough detail the search will produce too many hits and you may need to refine your results to find the record[s] you are interested in.


How does the wildcard search work?
If you are unsure of the spelling of a word you can use the wildcard. Type in the part of the word you are sure about and then put an asterisk (*) in place of the missing section. For example if you are unsure if a surname you are looking for would be spelt Smyth or Smith you could type in Sm*th and all entries that have a word that begins with 'Sm' and ends with 'th' will be brought up.


I have found a collection I am interested in looking at, but the catalogue says there is restricted access to parts of the collection. What does this mean and how can I proceed?
Certain collections are subject to exemptions due to the Freedom of Information legislation and Data Protection see our Access to Records Policy. if you have any further questions, please contact the office that holds the collection.


I have some records that I believe would be useful or of interest to the WYAS
If you have some records which you believe may be of interest to the West Yorkshire Archive Service our staff are always pleased to offer advice on the potential deposit of your records and you can also find more information about this in the Services to Depositors section of our website


Can I contribute to the Catalogue?
If you find any errors in the catalogue or you have more information on particular collections or records we would welcome your contributions. Please contact us at

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