About the county record office

North Yorkshire county record office provides record keeping services for North Yorkshire County Council and its communities.

It collects, preserves and makes accessible historic and current records of significance for the study of North Yorkshire and its people and holds them in trust for the use of present and future generations.

The archives we hold date from the 12th century to the present day and cover over five miles of shelving. Most of these collections can be freely consulted in our public searchroom. See visiting the record office for details about how to access our records.

Most of our parish register holdings, and some of our school admission registers, can be consulted through the Findmypast website.

Collections in our custody include:

  • Records of the North Riding of Yorkshire County Council and North Yorkshire County Council;
  • Records of the boroughs of Harrogate, Richmond, Ripon and Scarborough;
  • Records of over 40 different urban and rural district councils established under the 1894 Local Government Act;
  • Parish records from almost 300 separate parishes;
  • Court records including those of the North Riding of Yorkshire Quarter Sessions dating from the sixteenth century onwards;
  • Records from many of North Yorkshire's landed estates and prominent families;
  • Records of 24 different Poor Law Unions;
  • The North Riding Registry of Deeds spanning the years 1736 to 1970 and containing over a million entries; and
  • Historic maps and plans of North Yorkshire including over 350 parish tithe maps, enclosure maps, mine plans, railway plans and architect's drawings.

Search our online catalogue to view collection-level descriptions of our archival holdings.

Please note that we do not hold birth, marriage or death certificates. These are held by certificate services in Harrogate. For more information, including how to order certificates, see the copy certificates page.


You can read more about the record office in our latest  newsletter (pdf / 2 MB). Also see our  previous newsletter (autumn 2016) (pdf / 2 MB).

Records management service

As well as caring for North Yorkshire's historic archives, the county record office provides records management services to North Yorkshire County Council.

Records management is about applying systems of governance to the creation, use, maintenance and disposal of documents and records.

The council processes an ever increasing volume of information in paper and electronic formats. In order to fulfill our statutory obligations and provide effective services to our customers and partners, we manage the information so that it is available to those who need it when they need it, is reliable and accurate and is disposed of when no longer required.

The records centre staff at the record office handle the transfer, retrieval and disposal of corporate documents and records for all the council. We store in excess of 27,000 boxes with managed access that would otherwise be cluttering prime office space. We retrieve close to 200 files per month and distribute to all locations in North Yorkshire. Every file that arrives at the records centre is assigned an action date for disposal. We destroy the equivalent of one standard four drawer filing cabinet full of paper per day, every day.


Care for all of our collections is under the direction of a specialist conservator in conditions consistent with the agreed standard for the storage of archival collections PD 5454:2012.

Our conservation section is responsible for the care of millions of documents which come in various formats and materials.

Preservation and conservation are the core functions of this department, ensuring the survival of North Yorkshire's documentary heritage for future generations.


Through advocating good handling techniques and storage of documents in archival grade packaging we aim to prevent damage and preserve items for the long term and to allow safe access.


Conservation is the physical repair of documents that have become damaged. Practising minimal conservation allows us to retain as much of the original document as possible whilst ensuring that long-term stability and accessibility are maintained.

Environmental monitoring

The five repositories at the record office, which contain six miles of shelving, are environmentally controlled to prevent the deterioration of paper and parchment documents. The conservation section monitors the environment checking temperature, relative humidity and for infestations.


Conservation are responsible for exhibiting documents from our collections; we have two or three exhibitions each year in record office foyer. Items are also prepared and mounted for temporary exhibition outside of the record office.


We are happy to answer enquiries from members of the public and offer advice on storage and conservation requirements. We also carry out conservation work for external clients.