What are archives?

Archives are records made or received and accumulated by an individual or organisation, and saved because of their historical value. They are primary sources, the raw material of history, unique and irreplaceable. Coming in many forms, shapes and sizes - individual documents, files, volumes, tapes, microfilms, emails, cine films, CDs, photographs, maps, plans and electronic documents - they help us to understand how an area developed and how our ancestors lived.

Types of records in our collections include:

  • Business records
  • Local authority records
  • Parish council records
  • Family & estate records
  • Group & society records
  • Hospital & healthcare records
  • Maps & plans
  • Sound and film recordings
  • Poll books & electoral registers
  • School & education records
  • Methodist & nonconformist records
  • Police records
  • Motor vehicle licensing records
  • Cemetery records

Online Catalogue

The online catalogue to our archive collections is available at:

Index to Burland’s Annals of Barnsley

Barnsley born John Hugh Burland (1819-1885) is best remembered in the area for writing the 'Annals of Barnsley and it’s environs' – a chronological account of events in Barnsley and the surrounding district from 1744 to 1864. Volunteers from Barnsley Archives and Local Studies spent many years transcribing the four volumes and below are the links to the indexes for each volume. Use the index to find a reference to an event, person or local landmark. It is then possible to view the full transcript of the books in the Discovery Centre to uncover further information.

Remember the Barnsley British Co-operative Society?

We have a website dedicated to the society which was at the heart of the community from the 1860s to the 1970s. Reminisce about the shops that were once commonplace in most towns and villages around Barnsley and beyond:

What is Local Studies?

The archive collections are complimented by the local studies collections. This is secondary material that relates to the borough, and has been collected by Barnsley Libraries for over 120 years. Many of our local studies resources are available on an open access basis in the Discovery Centre.

Our material includes:

  • Books and pamphlets
  • Maps & plans
  • Newspapers & periodicals
  • Aerial photography
  • Street & trade directories
  • Copies of Anglican church records on microfiche
  • Parish magazines
  • Indexes of births, marriages & deaths
  • Copies of census returns

Online catalogue (local studies material)

Our local studies collections can be explored via the online catalogue of Barnsley Libraries at: