Accessibility statement

Searching service

Our searching service is available to help you carry out research if you are unable to visit us. Our work may include looking in records on your behalf, and creating limited transcriptions and translations of content. We are unable to undertake lengthy transcriptions and translations at this time. Please contact us to discuss your research interests. 

Research is completed by our trained staff who are knowledgeable about the contents of our holdings and aim to deliver a high quality research report using the original records that we hold.

We undertake research in a wide variety of our archives. However, please note we do not offer research using material held in other archives.

We do not use subscription genealogical web sites, with the exception of Findmypast who offer online access to many of our probate indexes.

How to apply

If you would like us to search for information in the archives we hold please print out our request form, fill them in, and return them to us with the minimum fee (£15). Alternatively, you can also submit your request through the new general Copying and Research Service Request form by selecting the product "Research Service request" and providing details.

Request Form

Copying and Research Service Request form

If you would like some advice on how to approach your research please contact us.

Please see our guidance on what makes a good research request before applying.

You might also find the pages relating to our holdings and research guides helpful for ideas on what we hold and how to form your questions.

Please note that we will need payment from you before we can start work.

What does it cost?

Standard research is charged at £15 per half hour.

The minimum charge is £15, which covers the first half hour's research.

Payment options:

  • Send a cheque for £15 payable to The University of York with your request form
  • Phone or email us for a reference code, then pay by credit card online through our secure online shop

Please do not send any more than £15 unless you have been asked to do so by a member of staff. We will bill you for any additional amount once we have carried out the work.

We can only accept payment in GBP (£). If you are living outside the UK we recommend paying us by credit card - this can be done through our secure online shop.

How long will it take?

We try to complete all requests within 20 working days.

On some occasions we may complete an initial part of your research and then write to you with the interim results, and request further information or instruction from you before continuing.

Hints and tips

Before you get in touch...

Before you get in touch with us, you may want to have a think about the following questions.

Have you located any references or background information for documents that you are interested in?

  • In the case of some documents, such as probate files, other information might be useful such as the date that probate was passed.
  • We are always happy to help with any enquiry but we will be best placed to help you if you are able to provide as much information as possible.

Have you checked our holdings?

  • You may find some useful information in the our holdings and research guides section of our site – please contact us if you require further advice.

Do we hold the items you need?

  • If your research takes you into the holdings of other archive repositories, we will always endeavour to direct you to the approriate place.

What makes a good research request?

You will need to be as specific as possible about the information want, and specific about the records you would like to be searched.

A good research request might request a search of the parish records of Acomb, for all those people with the surname Hodgson, between 1700-1750.

A poor research request would ask for all the information about the Hodgson family who lived around Acomb. The latter is such a huge, nebulous task that we could not guarantee to complete.

Our research aims to work to your direction, but with the addition of our own knowledge and expertise. We will not try to take the fun and excitement out of your research (for example, by producing a complete family tree or village history) but rather help and guide you on your journey by providing information from our archives to enable you to determine your next steps.

Resolving problems

Staff take all possible care with research requests, but due to the size and format of archives, mistakes or omissions may occasionally be made.

If you think a mistake has been made please contact us and ask to speak to the person who completed your research - we will do everything we can to sort it out.

If you are not satisfied with your reply please write to:

Keeper of Archives
Borthwick Institute for Archives
University of York
YO10 5DD