West Yorkshire has a history of being at the heart of things – from a Civil War stronghold to a centre of British industry. Even if you don't know it, you probably have ancestors who travelled to the county to mine for coal in Wakefield, or spin cloth in Leeds' mills. You can discover their stories with our parish registers.
Use our new parish records to piece together the most important events of your ancestors' lives. Then put them in the wider context of West Yorkshire's history with our exclusive timeline.
Our 8 million West Yorkshire parish registers record baptisms, marriages, burials and confirmations as far back as the Civil War battles that rocked the region. They'll help you go beyond censuses and birth, marriage and death indexes, and trace your way through successive generations of your family.
Discover Quakers, Methodists, Baptists and more in baptism, marriage and burial registers from a variety of nonconformist faiths.Search now
Spot your forebears right at the beginning of their lives – and look for their parents' names and occupations.Search now
Find out when your forebears died, how old they were and where they're buried in their last official records.Search now
Our earliest West Yorkshire records take you back to the days when cloth thieves were executed on the Halifax Gibbet.Search now
From 1754, almost all legal marriages had to be recorded in parish registers – so you should be able to find your ancestors' nuptials.Search now
Many of the West Yorkshire registers created from around 1777 until 1812 are far more detailed than most parish records. If you're lucky enough to find a forebear in these Dade Registers – named after the vicar that instigated them – you'll discover their parents' and even grandparents' names, occupations and addresses.
Piece together your family's key milestones with our parish records. Then consider the wider events that impacted their lives with our exclusive timeline.
West Yorkshire's history is the story of Britain's transition from agriculture to industry. No family would have been unaffected by these fundamental changes – to discover how your ancestors coped, follow these simple steps:
Read the timeline below to see what events affected your forebears' lives. Perhaps members of your family fought in the 1643 Battle of Leeds? Or maybe they helped to set up the Yorkshire Cricket Club in 1867?
Our timeline may suggest good next steps for your research. Mass migration would point you towards passenger lists; warfare would suggest military records; while changes in working habits might have you looking in occupation records.
Follow your forebears' lives in West Yorkshire's developing towns and cities
You'll find those involved in West Yorkshire's traditional trades – and many other occupations – listed in our City and County directories. There may even be adverts for your ancestors' businesses.Search now
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