Archives on hand to help you trace your roots

PEOPLE looking to trace their roots can look through archives relating to all aspects of Calderdale's history at the borough's branch of the West Yorkshire Archive Service.

Staff at the Calderdale office, which is situated in the Central Library in Halifax, are on hand to help keen researchers delve through the vast range of documents and find out more about their family history.

Many people have been inspired to explore their roots by television programmes such as the BBC's 'Who Do You Think You Are?' but some find it is not as easy as it looks. A research service is available where staff will search through the archives which include police records, voter registers, school records, court records, house deeds, parish registers of baptisms, marriages and burials, and many more.

Graham Hebblethwaite, chief officer of West Yorkshire Joint Services, which oversees the work of the archive service, said: "People tracing their family trees are often keen to go back as far as possible. Quite often they'll be inspired to explore a different direction relating to the social history of the time, for example, the industries their ancestors worked in."

People can also access the archive collections from the comfort of their own home by visiting www.archives.wyjs.org.uk. An online catalogue detailing archive collections is available, as well as a range of downloadable collection guides covering parish and non-conformist records, wills and police and health records.

Coun Kay Barret, chairman of the joint services committee, which oversees the work of the archives, archaeology and trading standards committee, said: "The archive service collects and preserves archives relating to all aspects of Calderdale's history.

"For those with ancestors who worked in the carpet firm of John Crossley and Sons, a company who played a vital role in the economic life of the Halifax area, a hundred years of personal records are available. This information is free and readily available to members of the public."

The Calderdale office is open on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9.30am to 5pm and can be contacted by calling 01422 392636 or emailing calderdale@wyjs.org.uk.

For more information about the research service, call 01924 305980 or visit the website.