What's in the archives?

We hold many different types of records at East Riding Archives. To view them, you will need to visit our Research Room at the Treasure House, Beverley. You can search for specific items in our online catalogue to get the finding number, title and date needed to request the item to view.

What types of records do you hold?

The archives and local studies service holds documents and books about the East Riding of Yorkshire dating from the 12th century to the present day. They cover a wide range of subjects and have come from many different organisations and local people, including major family, estate and business archives. You can search for the exact records we hold in our online catalogue or browse the type of records we have and how they can be used in the research below.

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Birth, marriage and death

What is it? Birth, marriage and death certificates were introduced in 1837. Churches have been recording baptisms, marriages, and burials since 1538.

What we have: We hold Church of England records of baptisms, marriages and burials in the Parish Registers for the Diocese of York, ranging from the 16th century to the present. Births, marriages and deaths are recorded by the General Register Office (GRO).

Research tips: Births, marriages and deaths can be vital for researching family history to connect generations. If you need copies of certificates, you will need to apply online to the General Register Office.

Other sources: Visit the General Register Office General Register Office website.

Electoral Registers

What is it? Electoral registers list individuals entitled to vote at elections, which was originally based on a property-ownership qualification. By 1918 all men over 21 were given the right to vote, and women over 30. It wasn't until 1928 that women over 21 got the vote. Annual registers were compiled from 1832 giving names and the property that entitled them to vote.

What we have: We hold a large collection of electoral registers covering the East Riding, listing people who were able to vote and dating back to 1832. However, there are no registers for the years 1916, 1917 or 1940–1944 due to the two World Wars.

Research tips: The registers can help you find out about property ownership and registers for 1885–1915 have both ownership and occupier divisions. Entries within each register are arranged by polling district, parish and then by surname or occasionally by street and then surname in larger districts. They may be time-consuming to check but can provide a useful list of adults residing in the property, particularly during the 20th century.

Cemetery records

What is it? Cemetery records can include details such as a person's name, age, address, profession and when they died. Most people were buried in a Church of England churchyard until the middle of the 19th century. Public cemeteries administered by local authorities came into use as the population grew and the churchyards became overcrowded. Most cemeteries were owned and managed by district, town or parish councils.

What we have: Records of church graveyards are listed in the parish records. We also hold copies of monumental inscriptions and registers of people buried in town and parish council cemeteries. Bridlington and Goole local studies libraries hold them for churchyards in their areas. A full set of the monumental inscriptions produced by the East Yorkshire Family History Society (EYFHS) is also available to view. Download the list of records we hold:

Cemetery records leaflet (39KB)

Research tips: The cemetery registers that were kept can contain details such as a person's age, address, profession and when they died.

Other sources: Some records are held elsewhere, by councils or cemeteries. These include:

  • Some East Riding and Filey records mays till be held by their respective town or parish council
  • Hull civic cemetery records are held by Hull City Council at Hull History Centre and Chanterlands Crematorium
  • Scarborough civic cemetery records are held at Woodlands Crematorium, Scarborough
  • The Commonwealth War Graves Commission update the Debt of Honour Register online at cwgc.org.


What is it? The census is a survey taken by the government every 10 years to collect information on the population of the United Kingdom, providing governments with evidence of trends that can help in planning the economy. The first national census was taken in 1801 and one has been completed every 10 years since then, except in 1941, where very few records from this period survived. From 1841 onwards, personal information on individuals included name, age and occupation of the residents and, from 1851, records also held details of place of birth, marital status and relationship to the head of the household. The enumerators' districts of 1841 were kept the same until at least 1891 so that comparisons over a range of dates can be made.

What we have: Census records are only released after 100 years, making 1911 the latest available, at present. We can provide access to the full set of returns for the East Riding for 1841-1901; Bridlington and Goole are also covered by their own libraries.

Research tips: Census records provide a wealth of evidence about the past and when looking at changes across the years in your village. It is possible to trace inhabitants' movements from just one census return by showing where the parents came from and where they were living when each of their children was born.

The 'Occupations' column gives a good insight into employment and the type of work available at that time. Key topics in Victorian England include the employment of children, and the type of employment taken up by women. Research across the years will highlight the changes that have taken place in terms of employment opportunities and the size of the population. The presence of servants in certain areas will also indicate the distribution of wealth in the village. Be aware that as valuable as census records can be to offer a picture of an era, the record of ages and place of birth can be inaccurate.

Other sources: Information from the national census returns for 1841-1911 can also be searched online via the Ancestry library edition or FindMyPast in the research room at the Treasure House or your local library.

Manorial records

What is it? Manor court rolls or books record the transfer of copyhold land by 'surrender' and 'admittance' from one person to another. Tenants received a copy of the entry in the court roll recording the transfer hence 'copyhold'. Information given in the court rolls includes details of the property and the names of the new and previous holders. Manorial documents may date from the medieval period although they survive more commonly from the 17th century to 1925 when copyhold tenure was abolished. The court records were generally written in Latin before 1733 and are often in unfamiliar handwriting. Rent rolls or rentals will also list tenants and the rent they paid, they may be amended with details of deaths or changes in occupancy.

What we have: We hold a number of manorial records which can be searched for in the online catalogue.

Research tips: Some manorial records have surveys which can include details about tenants and their properties, which is useful for house and property historians.

Other Sources: The Manorial Documents Register (MDR) includes records held in the East Riding Archives and those held elsewhere, it can be consulted online. Interpreting these records can be difficult and time-consuming, help in understanding them is given in books such as Using Manorial Records by Mary Ellis and Manorial Records by Denis Stuart.

Family and estate records

What is it? Estate records contain a wide variety of subject matter. These can include estate surveys, rentals, title deeds and maps. Larger collections may contain estate accounts recording expenditure on buildings, alterations and repairs. There can be documents about a family's social, political, religious or sporting interests and about their military service or travel abroad. These records can relate to the large landed estates of the gentry, such as the Chichester-Constables and Strickland-Constables, as well as to families and individuals. They often provide valuable insight into the daily lives of ordinary people in villages of the East Riding. These records may also provide copies and extracts from wills.

What we have: We hold a large number of important collections of East Riding family and estate records as well as solicitors' archives containing records of previous clients.

Research tips: Look out for any prominent families in your village or region. Directories, printed histories particularly the Victoria County History of York, tithe maps and apportionments may help in establishing the major landowners in a parish. Our collection of family estate records covers a very wide geographical area and these can offer a great deal of information about land ownership, tenancies and employment.

Parish Registers

What is it? Generally speaking, these refer to Church of England registers that record baptisms, marriages and burials in parish churches, but Nonconformist and Roman Catholic churches are also known to have kept such registers. These do not include birth and death certificates, making it rare that birth and death dates are included. The oldest surviving records begin between 1538 and 1598. There can be gaps during the Civil War and Commonwealth period around 1640-1660 when records were often not properly kept. Bishops transcripts, from 1598, are copies of the entries made in the previous year's register and sent to the diocesan registry.

Nonconformists are those who belong to Protestant churches other than the Church of England; this includes Baptists, Congregationalists, Methodists, Presbyterians and Quakers. Many of these kept registers of births or baptisms and deaths or burials.

Marriages between 1754 and 1836 had to be conducted in an Anglican church, except for Jews and Quakers, and should be recorded in the parish registers. Marriages could take place in nonconformist chapels from 1837 in the presence of a civil registrar who recorded the ceremony.

What we have: We hold the records for more than 200 Church of England parishes in the Archdeaconry of the East Riding, which includes Hull and Scarborough. Most of these are available on microfiche (reference PE*) as part of our self-service system to preserve the original volumes.

Search the online catalogue

Please note: Many of our Church of England parish registers can also be searched online at Findmypast, which is free to use in the Archives and all East Riding Libraries

Go to Findmypast

Many early nonconformist registers were passed to the Registrar General in 1840 and these are held at The National Archives in London. We have a mixture of microfilm and hard copies of many of the East Riding and Hull ones, including Baptist churches (reference EB), Methodist churches (reference MR), Congregational and United Reform Churches (reference EUR*), some Roman Catholic Churches (on microfiche only, reference MF/25) and Society of Friends (Quakers, on microfiche only, reference MF/2).

Search the online catalogue

Research tips: The Parish has always played an important role in the social life of the villages. Parish officers, such as overseers, surveyors and constables were responsible for helping the poor and destitute, maintaining roads and enforcing law and order. Some parish archives will contain records of these officers. This is useful for both local and family history research.

The parish registers for East Yorkshire are now available on the findmypast website. You can search this for free in our research room.

Other sources: Search online (free at East Riding Archives and Libraries) on Findmypast. The records of some churches in the East Riding are held elsewhere, as county and archdeaconry boundaries are not always the same. These include:

  • Borthwick Institute, York
  • Doncaster Archives
  • North Yorkshire County Record Office

Poll books

What is it? Poll books contain the names of individuals who voted in elections and who they voted for.

What we have: We hold the poll books for elections in: Yorkshire 1741 and 1807, East Riding 1837 and 1868, and Beverley 1784 and 1868.

Research tips: These records can be interesting for family and local history to map trends and political preferences.

School records

Please note that admission registers and log books less than 100 years old are closed because of the personal information they contain. You must make a Freedom of Information right of access request.

What is it? School archives often contain the head teacher's log books, with a daily record of school life, and admission registers. The archives of the East Riding County Council also have information about schools, such as reports of inspectors or plans of school buildings. Following the Elementary Education Act of 1870, legislation required schools to be built to fill the gaps in the previously patchy provision; and the school leaving age was raised to 12 years. Another outcome of the Act was the requirement of the head teacher to write a daily log and complete an admissions book. These log books can contain references to subjects that had a big influence on school life at the time, such as the weather, epidemics and illness, harvesting and financial considerations. They make fascinating and insightful reading. References to the First and Second World Wars and their impact on the school may also include the admissions of evacuees.

What we have: We hold archives from East Riding schools and also some schools in Hull that used to be run by Humberside County Council. We also hold a series of school grant plans from 1844-1873. We have archives from two independent schools:

  • Pocklington School 1525-1972
  • Marist (Roman Catholic) College, Hull 1925-1988.

There are also archives from two reformatory schools:

  • Castle Howard Reformatory School, Hull 1894-1987
  • St Williams Community Home (formerly Yorkshire Catholic Reform School) 1849-1991.

Research tips: The records which generally are of most use to family historians are the admission registers. These can include the name and address of the child and parents, the child's date of birth, the date of admission and often the date they left school. Take a look at the inspectors' reports where comments range from short and pithy to praiseworthy. They also mention the conditions under which schools had to operate. Collections of these reports date from the early 1920s to the late 1940s/early 1950s.

Other sources: It has never been compulsory for schools to deposit their records with the Treasure House, and others that are still in existence may still remain with the schools themselves, so it is always worth making further enquiries if you are looking at changes in education.

It is also worth seeking out old-school photos. They were first very popular soon after the 1870s; other years of note for photos are 1902-1913 and again around the 1930s. However, they do not tend to be accompanied by the names of the pupils or the teachers. Again, schools may have their own collections.

Media and News

The Victoria County History Encyclopaedia

What is it? The VCH is an encyclopaedic record of England's places and people, from earliest times to the present day, and aims to provide a definitive history of every county in England. This major, contemporary reference work tells the story of the region to date, with a history for each town and village, and some entries will even include a translation of sections of the Domesday Book. Begun in 1899, and named after Queen Victoria, the VCH has earned an international reputation for its high scholastic standards and mass of accurate data. Work is still being carried out by professional historians using original documents to add to the volumes.

What we have: We hold the hard copies of the seven volumes covering the East Riding of Yorkshire so far. Not all places have been researched yet and will not be included. Some volumes are available online. The volumes cover:

  • VCH Yorkshire East Riding 1: Kingston Upon Hull (Digital copy available on British History Online)
  • VCH Yorkshire East Riding 2: Dickering Wapentake North-Eastern part: Argam, Bempton, Bessingby, Boynton, Bridlington, Burton Agnes, Burton Fleming, Carnaby, Filey, Flamborough, Folkton, Foston on the Wolds, Foxholes, Fraisthorpe, Ganton, Garton on the Wolds, Harpham, Hunmanby, Little Kelk, Kilham, Langtoft, Lowthorpe, Muston, Nafferton, Wold Newton, Reighton, Rudston, Ruston Parva, Thwing.
  • VCH Yorkshire East Riding 3: Ouse and Derwent Wapentake: Dunnington, Elvington, Escrick, Fulford, Heminborough (incl Barlby, Brackenholme with Woodhall, Cliffe with Lund, South Duffield, Menthorpe with Bowthorpe, Osgodby), Heslington, Naburn, Riccall, Skipwith, Stillingfleet, Thornganby, Wheldrake, Harthill Wapentake, western part. Wilton Beacon division: Allerthorpe, Barmby Moor, Catton, (incl High and Low Catton and Stamford Bridge East), Kexby, Scoreby, Stamford Bridge, Fangfoss, Full Sutton, Sutton upon Derwent, Thornton, Wilberfoss. (Digital copy available on British History Online)
  • VCH Yorkshire East Riding 4: Harthill Wapentake, southern part: Hunsley Beacon division: Bishop Burton, Cherry Burton, North Cave, South Cave, Cottingham, South Dalton, Elloughton. Etton, Hotham, Leconfield, Newbald, Rowley, Sancton, Skidby.
  • VCH Yorkshire East Riding 5: Holderness Wapentake, south and middle division: South division: Burstwick, Easington, Halsham, Hollym, Holmpton, Keyingham, Kilnsea, Ottringham, Owthorne, Patrington, Paull, Skeffling, Sunk Island, Welwick, Winestead, Withernsea. Middle division (part): Hedon, Preston VCH Yorkshire East Riding 6: Borough and liberty of Beverley. Outlying townships: Beverley Parks, Eske, Molescroft, Storkhill and Sandholme, Thearne and Woodmansey, Tickton, Weel. (Digital copy available on British History Online)
  • VCH Yorkshire East Riding 7: Holderness Wapentake, middle and north division Aldbrough, Burton Pidsea, Garton, Hilston, Humbleton, Roos, Sproatley, Swine, Tunstall, Wawne. North division: Atwick, Barmston, Beeford, Brandesburton, Catwick, North Frodingham, Goxhill, Hornsea, Leven, Mappleton, Nunkeeling, Rise, Long Riston, Routh, Sigglesthorne, Skipsea, Withernwick. (Digital copy available on British History Online)
  • VCH Yorkshire East Riding 8: Buckrose Wapentake. East Buckrose: Sledmere and the Northern Wolds: Cowlam, Fimber, Fridaythorpe, Helperthorpe, Kirby Grindalythe, Luttons Ambo, Sledmere, Weaverthorpe, Wetwang.

Research tips: The Victoria County History volumes offer a fantastic starting point for local history research. As it is an ongoing project, it shows how much and how little research has been done on certain areas.

Other sources: Online volumes and updates can be found on the British History Online website. Just search VCH Yorkshire and the volume you want.

Books, pamphlets and journals

What is it? Published research into local history, available to read in the research room in the Treasure House and local studies libraries.

What we have: We hold a wide range of books, pamphlets and journals covering Beverley and the East Riding, but also representing Yorkshire, Humberside, North Riding, West Riding, Hull and York. We also have The Champney Bequest. This special collection consists of the private library of John Edward Champney, which was donated in 1929. There is also a substantial collection of journals and other publications produced by local history societies, as well as academic periodicals, such as the Yorkshire Archaeological Journal. A full list of books can be found in the catalogue.

Research tips: Try and read as many books on your research topic as possible before starting research. This will give you a good understanding of local history, and research already completed and can highlight areas of interest to pursue.


What is it? Newspapers share news, announcements and social trends. The mid-nineteenth century saw a great increase in the number of newspaper titles.

What we have: We hold local newspapers dating from the 18th century to the present day, covering most of the historic East Riding. Newspapers are held either on microfilm or in bound volumes (where a microfilm version does not exist). An indexed news cuttings file is kept at the Treasure House from 1987 onwards, useful for checking events and activities of a particular time.

Research tips: For references to villages and rural communities, you will need to look to the nearest town, city or region. They can be very useful in reconstructing community life and are a particularly good research tool for local activity in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. By the end of the nineteenth century, most districts had established one or two titles. From these, you may get detailed accounts on a variety of topics, from reports of local happenings, crime and elections, to notifications of family events, such as births, marriages and deaths (including obituaries). They may also report court cases and coroners' inquests.

Parish magazines

What is it? Parish magazines provide a micro-local look at news and events taking place in an area.

What we have: We have a collection of parish magazines spanning the 20th century and some go back to the 19th century. Some copies are held in the parish records, and there are a number of titles in the local studies libraries in Goole and Bridlington. We are keen to expand our collection, and encourage churches and parishes to donate copies of historical and recent editions of their magazines.

Research tips: Like newspapers, these can be ideal for looking at community lifestyles. Parish magazines are great for finding information on smaller parishes and events that may not be included in larger news.

Local directories

What is it? Village entries give a useful potted history of a place, including the main commercial activity, and a list of the principal inhabitants, tradesmen and craftsmen.

What we have: Our collection includes Baines's Yorkshire 1822 · White's Yorkshire Directory 1831, 1840-1867 Kelly's 1889-1937 · Bulmer's 1892 and Slater's 1848-1864.

Research tips: These are particularly useful from the 1820s to the 1930s when you can track the changes that have taken place over a hundred-year period. The directories offer a partial picture of the social and occupational structure at the time of publication.

Law and Order

Local Government records

What is it? A variety of records including names of the council and board members and their official activities.

What we have: We hold records from all of the old local authorities in the East Riding, ranging from the archives of ancient medieval boroughs like Beverley and Hedon to recent records of local government. These include:

  • Nineteenth-century Local Boards of Health
  • Rural Sanitary Authorities and Highway Boards
  • Humberside County Council 1974-1996
  • East Riding County Council 1889-1974
  • Borough Councils 1974-1996
  • Urban and Rural District Councils 1895-1974.

Other archives of local government include:

  • Poor Law Unions 1834-1930
  • Public Assistance Committees 1930-1948
  • School Boards 1870-1903
  • Parish Councils 1889-current

Research tips: This information can be used to build a picture of the community, and trace the profession of family members.

Public records

What is it? Public records are the archives of the national government, some of which are kept locally.

What we have: Our collection includes records of:

  • The Hull and East Riding Coroner 1853-1994 (including registers of deaths)
  • Local courts (such as Magistrates Courts and Petty Sessions 1841-1992)
  • Health Authorities and Hospitals from 1948, including the archives of East Riding County Asylum (Broadgates Hospital) from 1871
  • Accounts of local charities
  • Registers of ships for Bridlington 1786-1847 and Goole 1828-1994

Research tips: These records provide insight into communities and the duties of individuals in authority.

East Riding Quarter Sessions

What is it? The East Riding Quarter Sessions were the quarterly meetings of the Justices of the Peace in the County. As well as handling crime and justice, the Quarter Sessions had a wide range of other duties. They administered county roads and bridges, prisons, poor relief, the police, lunatic asylums, alehouses, elections and religious meeting places. There is also information about crimes dealt with by the lower court of Petty Sessions, mainly from the mid to late 19th century. By 1888, elected county councils took over the administrative function of the Quarter Sessions.

What we have: Originally begun in 1361, the records of the East Riding Quarter Sessions survive from the 17th century, and from the 18th century and contain detailed records of criminal cases. (But, beware that until 1733 these records were written in Latin).

Research tips: The Quarter Sessions served as a criminal court until 1971. The Justice of the Peace tried crimes, (apart from capital offences), and here it is useful to consider the types of crimes that were dealt with and the punishments given. It is interesting to note the punishments meted out for what we may now see as lesser crimes.

Poor relief rates

What is it? Pre-1834, parishes usually looked after their own inhabitants and overseers of the poor were responsible for paying poor relief in the parish. After the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 had been introduced, parishes had to join together to form Poor Law Unions and were instrumental in setting up the workhouse and Boards of Guardians. In 1930 the Boards of Guardians were replaced with Guardians Committees, which, in turn, lasted until 1948.

What we have: Unfortunately, the records of admittance to the workhouses have had a poor survival rate in the East Riding, resulting in a limited collection in our archives, and many fragile items which can only be handled by trained staff.

Research tips: These records can show the poverty and affluence of areas, as well as provide context to the life of some individuals.

Police records

What we have: We hold the archives of Humberside Police, including the records of East Riding Constabulary from 1856 to 1974, and Hull City Police from 1836 to 1974.

War time and soldiers

What is it? Documents relating to wartime efforts and local people who entered the military and served in wars.

What we have: We hold records of East Riding Lieutenancy and militia 1756 to 1915, and Territorial and Auxiliary Forces 1907 to 1964. If you are interested in the home front during the Second World War we have archives of the local Home Guard from 1940 to 1944 and Civil Defence from 1938 to the 1960s.

Research tips: Our wartime collections can be of interest to local historians mapping communities during times of strife. Family historians may also need to access further records to trace lineage through soldiers. See the Family History Guide for information on useful websites.

Other sources: We do not hold archives of the armed forces, which are kept at The National Archives in Kew, London. East Riding Museums also has online information on the First World War centenary.

Land and Property

Ordnance survey maps

What is it? Historic maps show the changing parishes and places of interest over time.

What we have: A full set of the 6-inch to a mile scale covering the pre-1974 East Riding is held for c.1855. Partial sets are held of the 25-inch to a mile scale for c.1890 (originals with microfilm MF5 to cover gaps), c.1910, c.1927 and of the 6-inch to a mile scale for c.1891, c.1912, c.1929 and c.1952. Partial sets of the 1:500 scale are also held for Beverley and Hull c.1891. Marked-up grid reference sheets are available indicating the areas covered by each edition. Please ask staff for assistance in removing sheets from the cabinets. Bridlington, Goole and Hull Local Studies Libraries also hold Ordnance Survey maps for their areas on various dates.

Research tips: Old maps are a valuable source of information when researching the development of rural communities. They are particularly useful for showing land ownership and major changes in the rural landscape. Working backwards through successive editions can be a useful starting point for research. They may also help in interpreting older manuscript maps which often have few landmarks which can be recognised today.

Other sources: The Treasure House 'Archive Maps' page provides access to historic Ordnance Survey maps held by the East Riding Archives and Local Studies Service. The collection of over 2000 historic Ordnance Survey maps covering the period 1855-1929 has been digitised to provide online access on the Archives Maps website.

Also, see maps research and books for a booklist to help research maps.

Enclosure maps and apportionments

What is it? Estate maps were created following Acts of Parliament that 'enclosed' land by turning strips of land into large open fields. Open fields and common land have been enclosed since medieval times. The survival of records however is patchy, the majority relate to the main period of the enclosure by Acts of Parliament c.1750-1850. The awards produced during these years generally include a map showing the relevant land and a schedule giving details of land ownership, roads, paths and boundaries.

What we have: We hold enclosure maps and awards dating from the mid-eighteenth century. We also have town plans and deposited plans for railways, canals and turnpikes.

Research tips: Old maps are a valuable source of information when researching the development of rural communities. They are particularly useful for showing land ownership and major changes in the rural landscape. Older enclosure maps may be of little use to a house historian. If your property is near a railway, canal or turnpike, the deposited plans could be useful as they will show land affected by the schemes.

Other sources: Yorkshire Enclosure Awards (1985) by Barbara English, Handlist of East Riding Enclosure Awards (1971) by Vanessa Neave and A Domesday of English Enclosure Acts and Awards (1978) by W. E. Tate and M. E. Turner include many of these and similar records held elsewhere.

Also, see maps research and books for a booklist to help research maps.

Tithe maps and apportionments

What is it? Between 1836 and 1852, the Tithe Commission undertook a survey of all parishes in England and Wales, drawing up maps and apportionments in the process. Tithe maps, showing rural parishes around this time, give the names of all owners and occupiers of land, as well as listing the names of farms and fields, acreage of land and the use to which it was put. Tithe maps give the most complete picture of a parish since the Domesday Book, but with more detail. The tithe was a tenth part of a person's annual produce paid to the Church of England. It was originally payment made in kind, such as grain or a pig, although these were increasingly converted to a sum of money. Many records relating to the late 1830s-1850s after the Tithe Commutation Act of 1836 facilitated the change from payment in kind to a rent charge apportioned on a plot of land. The tithe map shows the individually numbered plots of land and the apportionment lists the owner, occupier, the field name or description, acreage and rent charge payable. Three copies of the survey were made: one for the parish, the diocese and the Tithe Commissioners.

What we have: We hold tithe maps from 1837 to 1929, but not for all parishes.

Research tips: Old maps are a valuable source of information when researching the development of rural communities. They are particularly useful for showing land ownership and major changes in the rural landscape.

Other sources: It may be necessary to refer to other archive collections that also hold East Riding collections. Diocesan copies are available at the Borthwick Institute, York. The Tithe Commissioners version is held by The National Archives, in Kew.

Also, see maps research and books for a booklist to help research maps.

Building control plans and registers

What is it? Since the late 19th century building plans have been submitted by the architect or builder to the local authority for approval under local bye-laws. Plans were usually numbered and summary details were entered in a register. The survival of records is rather patchy. Plans may be available showing the development of railways, canals, drainage systems, or other major public undertakings. Building plans were working documents so it is not uncommon for those relating to public buildings to be missing.

What we have: We hold only the registers for some local authorities and for others the registers and the plans may cover different dates. We have the plans of individual houses and buildings, mainly from the late nineteenth century, when local council approval was required before building. Many post-1930s plans are also currently stored at Goole.

Research tips: Locating plans for a property can be difficult as houses may not be numbered in the register and it can simply say 'house in Grovehill Road' for example. Early plans can also vary considerably in their quality and condition. You may need to check a number of original plans to identify the correct property.

Other sources: Building plans and registers can be found in various local authority collections. Plans for April 1974 onwards have been retained by Building Control service at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, held in County Hall, Beverley.

Also, see maps research and books for a booklist to help research maps.

Quarter sessions deposited plans

What is it? Parliament required plans relating to public works schemes to be submitted after 1794, however initially this related only to canals. It was gradually extended to include roads, bridges, railways, tramways, piers, docks, drainage and also water, electricity and gas supplies. The majority of records relate to 1795-1930s, and you can view a list of our collections in our online catalogue.

What we have: Copies of these plans were deposited with the local Clerk of the Peace and are part of the East Riding Quarter Sessions collection.

Research tips: Old maps are a valuable source of information when researching the development of rural communities. They are particularly useful for showing land ownership and major changes in the rural landscape. The deposited plan shows the land affected by the scheme and the accompanying book of reference gives details about ownership and the land plots concerned. Be aware, that the plans relate to proposed schemes and some of these were not completed.

Other sources: A complete set is also held at The Parliamentary Archives, House of Lords Record Office, in London.

Also, see maps research and books for a booklist to help research maps.

Maps research and books

What is it? Advice on how to use maps in your research.

What we have: Many of the books listed below can be found in the local studies libraries.

Research Tips: Old maps are a valuable source of information when researching the development of rural communities and local history. They are particularly useful for showing land ownership and major changes in the rural landscape.

Other sources: The following booklist is good to help research all map types:

  • Geraldine Beech and Rose Mitchell, Maps for Family and Local History, The National Archives, 2004
  • Peter Eden, editor, Dictionary of Land Surveyors and Local Cartographers of Great Britain and Ireland 1550-1850, Parts I-III, Dawson, 1975
  • J. B. Harley, Ordnance Survey Maps: A Descriptive Manual, Ordnance Survey, 1975
  • J. B. Harley, Maps for the Local Historian, Blackfriars Press, 1972
  • Brian Paul Hindle, Maps for Local History, Batsford, 1988 Steven Hollowell, Enclosure Records for Historians, Phillimore, 2000
  • Roger J. P. Kain and Hugh C. Prince, Tithe Surveys for Historians, Phillimore, 2000
  • W. E. Tate and M. E. Turner, A Domesday of English Enclosure Acts and Awards, University of Reading, 1978

Download the Maps and Plans leaflet (26KB).

East Riding Register of Deeds

What is it? A deed is a legal document which transfers property or rights from one person (or institution) to another. Deeds give information about vendors (sellers) and purchasers, agreed price, some description of the property and sometimes include a plan. Deeds are found in various collections of archives, but especially in family estate papers and solicitors' archives. The East Riding Register of Deeds is the most important source of deeds in this area. It was established in 1708 to help prevent fraudulent land transfers and includes deeds for Hull and the East Riding up to April 1974. When using the registers you need to know the name of the buyer or seller of the property as well as an approximate date of the transaction. Electoral registers may help in establishing who owned a property at a particular date.

What we have: The East Riding Register of Deeds was established in 1708 and contains copies of deeds for the East Riding and Hull up to April 1974. Summary copies of deeds known as memorials were brought to the Registry and initially copied into large volumes or registers - from 1885 the memorials were bound into volumes. The main source used by researchers is the actual registers and these can be accessed through various types of index volumes. There are surname indexes for sellers for 1708-1882 and buyers from 1828-1882 then a combined index for both from 1883 onwards. Township indexes arranged in date order of registration cover 1708-1882 and then continue in a modified form until 1925.

Research tips: The Register is a valuable source for legal searches, house history and family history. The registers are indexed but you will need to know the name of the buyer or seller of a property to use them. To help with your research you can download our Using the East Riding Register of Deeds leaflet (34KB).

Wills and probate records

What is it? A will has to be 'proved' after the person has died to be legally valid. Wills before 1858 were proved in church courts, after that date they were the responsibility of civil probate registries.

What we have: From 1708-March 1974, wills involving property may be recorded in the Register of Deeds, with letters of administration being included from 1885. Searching for wills can be a complicated process when they are located in many different places, so it is a good idea to consult Treasure House staff to guide you through this. Download the Wills leaflet (25KB).

Research tips: Wills can be a useful source as they often contain bequests to family members and can provide information about family relationships.


Hearth tax

What is it? Tax based on the number of hearths, or fireplaces, in a household. The hearth tax was used as a proxy for the number of family units in an area.

What we have: East Riding Archives holds microfilm copies of original assessments in the East Riding for 1663 - 1677. The most detailed assessments are for 1672 and 1675. The National Archives in London hold the originals.

Research tips: They give the name of the head of household and the number of hearths, offering useful details for family historians.

Land Tax Assessments

What is it? They give the owners and occupiers of all the land in the parish, with the names of farms and the amount of tax chargeable on each farm or holding, house or cottage.

What we have: These are annual assessments that have survived from 1780 to 1832, arranged by date, for each township or parish.

Research tips: Where they exist, they are very useful for acquiring information about land distribution.

Valuation (Doomsday) Books

What is it? More commonly known as 'Domesday Books', they were created as a result of the 1910 Finance Act, which valued land in England and Wales. The valuation books give a plot or hereditament number, details of the owner and occupier, a brief property description and its value. Properties are also shown on marked-up copies of the 1902 Ordnance Survey maps. Rate books contain lists of owners or householders who have been compiled for the assessment and collection of a poor rate, church rate, drainage rate, highway rate or local authority rate. Land tax assessments for 1780 onwards give the name of the owner and occupier, the sum payable and often from the mid-1820s a brief description of the property.

What we have: We hold a number of books, which can be searched in the online catalogue. Maps are held at the National Archives in London. The survival of records is rather patchy, particularly early ones, and they can be found in a variety of collections. The earlier records also often only record the name of the owner/householder and the sum assessed rather than giving details of the property concerned. The land tax was collected from the late 17th century to 1963. The main series of records however relate to c.1780-1832 when they were used to establish the right to vote by the Clerk of the Peace.

Research tips: They give details of the owners and occupiers of the property, along with its valuation. Ideal for local and family historians. Only brief details are given for properties. Try combining Valuation records with hearth tax and enclosure maps for more detail in your research.

Rate books

What is it? There are various forms of rate books or assessments. These books will give information on property, valuation and ownership.

What we have: Our collections mainly come from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, although the survival of earlier records is very patchy.

Research tips: These offer good information in searches for property history.


Trade directories

What is it? Printed trade directories covering the East Riding were produced on various dates from the early 19th century onwards. Arranged by place, trade directories provide historical information about a place and listings of businesses and some individuals. They may include details about notable buildings and can provide information about the inhabitants of larger properties, farms, public houses and other commercial businesses.

What we have: We hold a collection of trade directories for the East Riding and some for the North Riding, dating from 1791-1939. Beverley Local Studies Library holds a more extensive collection of directories for Beverley and the East Riding; the libraries at Bridlington and Goole also hold material for their particular areas.

Research tips: These records are of interest to historians for their individual, family, house and building and local value. However, they may be of limited use as they may only give brief details of addresses. Try combining records with the census returns for more detail.

Businesses, societies and other private records

What we have: We hold many other collections of privately deposited or donated records. These include the archives of:

  • Businesses
  • Clubs and societies
  • Political groups
  • Trade unions
  • Charities
  • Smaller collections of family papers.

Examples of this type of record are the archives of:

  • Hodgson's tannery, Beverley 1812-1975
  • Keyingham Friendly Society 1830-1997
  • East Riding branch of the National Farmers Union 1918-1988.



What we have: There are archives of turnpike trust roads 1765 to 1871available to view, as well as records of parish surveyors. We also have the archives of licensing of motor vehicles in the East Riding from 1905 to 1976. The Quarter Sessions (see law and order) were responsible for the County's roads and bridges and also served indictments on the parish for non-maintenance.


What we have: We hold a large collection of records for Driffield Navigation, and a smaller collection for the Pocklington Canal.


What we have: We have deposited plans of railway lines, but do not hold the archives of the railway companies. Plans had to be drawn up as public documents when the land was acquired for a major public undertaking.


What we have: There are records of bodies that carried out drainage schemes such as Commissioners of Sewers 1587 to 1933, Drainage Commissioners 1764 to 1958 and Drainage Boards 1936 to 1992.

Pictures, video and audio

Postcards and photographs

What is it? Colour and black and white images of people, places, events and businesses from around the East Riding.

What we have: We hold an extensive collection of postcards of Beverley and East Riding towns and villages and a collection of photographs including a number of aerial views. Bridlington and Goole Local Studies Libraries also hold material for their particular areas.

Research tips: The Treasure House has an extensive collection of original old photographs and postcards taken around the East Riding and may have some of your village. In some cases, they may be dated. It is worth bearing in mind that if you acquire any photographs yourself, try to date them and identify the people and places where possible. We hold very few images of individual properties, but property historians would still find the general town and street views useful for their research into village and town buildings. They can also be used to give an approximate date for buildings and alterations.

Other sources: High-quality prints of our postcards are now available online in a range of print sizes, making perfect gifts or wall decor for local businesses. You can order these through our external partner, Max Communications Limited on the East Riding Photos website. You can also follow us on our East Riding Archives Flickr account to view selected images online.


What is it? Play bills and posters help date events and build pictures of social history.

What we have: We hold a large collection of posters and printed material including:

  • Beverley play bills circa 1790- circa 1854
  • election posters circa 1790-1868
  • posters and programmes for various dates.

Research tips: Interesting for purposes of design and taste in their own eras.

Audio-visual and digital archives

What is it? Audio visual relates to video and sound recordings, while digital archives mean any records originally created in a digital format, or digitised (scanned/photographed) versions of documents.

What we have: We currently hold over 800 different audio-visual recordings and over 180,000 image & document files in digital format. This amounts to 1.6TB of data. There is an audio-visual room within the archives at Treasure House, Beverley, to watch these. Videos of local towns and villages, local industries, railways and local events. Our audio recordings include oral history interviews with local people, audiobooks, local music and church services.

Research tips: Audio-visual recordings offer fascinating insight into local history, providing researchers with key evidence of how life was like. It can also show changes in communities and buildings.

Other sources: You can also view some of our archive videos online by visiting the East Riding of Yorkshire Council's YouTube channel.

Uncatalogued archives

We are always receiving new collections to catalogue and properly describing a large archive can take a long time. Although this means that there is a small backlog of archives that need to be listed, about 92% of the records held by us are in fact catalogued.

Some of the larger uncatalogued archives are still included but there will only be a title and summary of the collection.

Image: North Bar Gates closed (with PC Jones), Beverley c.1900 (archive ref PO-1-14-194)

Closed records

Some of the collections in the Archives are closed as they contain sensitive or personal information. These are still listed in the online catalogue, marked as being a closed record, but they cannot be booked using the regular online form. Under the Freedom of Information Act you can apply to view a closed record. You could be approved to see the document, approved to be given the information contained in the document or refused access. If refused, you will be given a reason why the record has to remain closed. Appeals must be sent to the information commissioner.

If the information in the closed document is about you, you have the right to view it under the Data Protection Act. You still need to apply to view the document and will need to provide ID.

If your application to view a closed record is approved, you will need to sign and agree to use the information is a way that does not break the Data Protection Act.

Hull collections

There are some important Hull archives held by the East Riding archives and local studies service. This is partly because of how local government boundaries have been drawn up over the years and we used to be the 'Humberside County Record Office', holding archives for the old Humberside area.

The most important records are:

  • Hull parish registers. These are held with us because we act as the archive for parishes in the Archdeaconry of the East Riding.
  • Humberside County Council (1974-1996). We act as the archive for the old Humberside County Council, which included Hull and areas south of the Humber now North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire Councils.
  • Humberside Police. We act as the archive for Humberside Police, which includes the records of Hull City Police up to 1974.
  • Hull and East Riding Coroner. We act as the archive for the Hull and East Riding Coroner, which include archives of the Hull City Coroner up to 1974.
  • The East Riding Register of Deeds, which has records of deeds for land and property in the East Riding and Hull.

Records held elsewhere

Not all documents about the East Riding are held by East Riding of Yorkshire Council's archives and local studies service. Sometimes they can be found in other archives services, such as:

  • The National Archives, which holds records of the national government, will also have many documents about the East Riding
  • West Yorkshire Archive Service North Yorkshire County Record Office
  • Hull History Centre, including some archive collections of large landowning families, which are kept there as part of the University of Hull archives Doncaster Archives and Local Studies
  • The Borthwick Institute at the University of York
  • York Explorer Civic Archives

Image: National_archives_2007_02_03.JPG: Nick Cooper at en.wikipediaderivative work: Harumphy [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons.

Please note: East Riding documents may also be found in many other local or specialist archives services. For example, if a noble family in Sussex owned large estates in the East Riding, the documents that relate to these estates will remain with the family and estate archive in Sussex.