Frequently Asked Questions

We have many frequently asked questions about our service, so to save you looking or asking similar questions, we have listed the most popular for you. You may also find all the information you need on this website. If you are still unable to find an answer on this page, then please contact us and we’ll do our best to help you.

To view an answer, click on the question. Click again to hide the answer.

Do I need to book an appointment for my visit?

There’s no need to book an appointment for your visit and you can visit at any time during our opening hours. If you plan to consult original documents, please note that document production closes between 12 and 2.15pm and ceases half an hour before closing time. We don’t operate a booking system for our computers, microfilm/fiche readers or desks for consulting original documents. The only service you need to book is the guided tour of the searchroom by a record office volunteer.

Do I have to request documents in advance?

No, you do not. If you are travelling some distance to visit us it may be worthwhile contacting us in advance to check that the documents are available. Some records may be unavailable for public access in the searchroom as they contain sensitive material. Records that fall into this category include hospital patient records, coroners’ records, and court records, so if you are planning to look at these then please contact us with the details of the records you wish to look at and the covering dates so that we can check whether these are available for general access. If the records are not available for general access then you can submit a request in writing (either by letter or email) should you still wish to gain information from them. In these cases we will process your request in line with the Freedom of Information Act (2000). Please visit our Access to Information page for more information about this process.

You can request documents in advance if you wish so that they are ready for you when you arrive. For more details regarding placing orders in advance see the searchroom services page.

What are your opening hours?

Our normal opening hours are as follows:

  • Wednesday: 10am-4pm
  • Thursday: 10am-4pm
  • Friday: 10am-4pm
  • Saturday: 10am-1pm

Apart from two weeks in the Winter (dates to be confirmed) which will be used for cataloguing.

Do you issue copies of birth, marriage or death certificates?

No we do not, as these are only issued by a Register Office. You can look at the General Register Office index that we hold, which is an index to registered births, marriages and deaths. The GRO indexes to births, marriages and deaths are arranged by year, then by quarter year, and within that by surname. The indexes will not give you the precise date of birth or the names of other parties involved; only the information you will need to order the full certificate from the General Register Office. To order a copy certificate, visit the General Register Office website.

If you are researching births, marriages or deaths in Warwickshire you can also obtain certificates from the Warwickshire Registration Service.

Do you have the parish registers for a particular parish?

You can see a list of all the parish registers that we have by visiting our Church of England parish registers and census returns page. You can also view catalogues listing the items we have for each parish by searching Warwickshire’s Past Unlocked. For the whereabouts of parish registers within Birmingham’s pre-1974 borders please contact Birmingham Archives and Heritage Service

Our parish registers are available to view online

Can you trace someone’s contact details for me?

Tracing someone who may still be alive requires a great deal of research. Unfortunately we cannot carry out this research for free but we are able to advise you on the availability of sources held at Warwickshire County Record Office that will allow you to carry out this research in our public searchroom.

Most of our records are over 25 years old which is the point at which many records become public records. Our General Register Office index stops at 1983 and is no longer being added to as this resource is now available online through the Ancestry website. We hold bound volumes of the published Warwickshire electoral registers up to and including 2009, however a data protection form must be completed before you are able to view any registers that are less than 100 years old.

You may wish to employ a private researcher to trace the person for you, details of services offered through Warwickshire County Record Office can be found on our Research Services page. Alternatively there is a webpage about tracing missing persons, which contains useful information about where to begin your research.

Can you issue copies of my exam certificates?

No, we don’t hold copies of exam certificates. Each examination board keeps its own records so you firstly need to establish which exam board awarded your qualifications. The school or college where you took the exams may be able to advise you on the exam boards responsible for awarding your qualifications if you do not know. Once you have the details of the relevant exam board(s) you will need to contact each board separately about obtaining replacement certificates. The contact details for exam boards (with details of their successors, if appropriate) can be found on the Ofqual (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) website.

How much research can you do for me?

Please visit our enquiry and research services page for details of the research we can do.

Can I use my camera?

Yes, you can use your camera to photograph documents, but we ask you to turn off the flash. We make a small charge for this and you will be asked to sign a copyright and data protection form. Details of our charging structure can be found here on our searchroom services page.

The duty archivist may not allow photography if an item is too fragile.

Can I purchase copies of records?

Yes, as long as the documents can be photocopied, fitted onto a digital scanner or digitally photographed. Please visit our copying services page for more information.

Can I purchase copies of Church of England certificates?

Yes, we can provide baptism, marriage and burial certificates. Please visit our copying services page for more information.

Can I get access to records that are not available for general access?

Please visit our Access to Information page to find out how to apply for information from these records to be released to you.

Can I publish text or images from documents held by the record office?

Please visit our copyright page to find out how to apply for permission to publish.

Do you have wills in your archive?

We only have a small number of wills, such as those that appear in estate and solicitors’ collections, as we are not a diocesan repository. Those that are held here are all included in a card index held in the searchroom. For pre-1858 wills, you need to visit Worcestershire Record Office or Lichfield Record Office. Copies of post-1858 wills are obtainable from York Probate Registry, and you can use the National Probate index (available at the record office) to find the information you need to order a copy of a will. The HM Courts and Tribunals service website has detailed information on obtaining copies of post-1858 wills.

Can you tell me about the history of my house?

Researching the history of a house takes a great deal of time and involves consulting a wide range of records. We can only spend up to 15 minutes preparing an answer to queries where appropriate and therefore would be unable to research the history of a building on your behalf (see our enquiry and research services page for more details). You are welcome to visit the record office to consult our records and further details about the kinds of records that can be used for researching the history of a house, as well as a research guide, can be found on our house history research page.

Do you hold recent information about Warwickshire County Council?

No, we do not. We hold the series of Warwickshire County Council minutes, and the most recent published minutes can be found on the WCC Council & Community web page. The record office only collects records that are valid for current and future historical research, such as local history or genealogy, and does not store records that are currently used by Warwickshire County Council to conduct its business. You can search for catalogues of the records held at the record office by visiting Warwickshire’s Past Unlocked or click here for a summary of the main categories of records that we hold.

If you require recent or current information about the activities or business operations of Warwickshire County Council, please visit the Warwickshire County Council Access to Information page.

Do you have any information about the Bear and Ragged Staff emblem?

Yes we do. You can download this article containing information about the Bear and Ragged Staff

Can you tell me about the history of the record office’s site?

You can download this article about the history of Warwick Priory

Do you accept credit/debit card payments for services?

Yes we do. We accept payment for all services we offer by credit/debit card by telephoning the main office on 01926 738959 where you will be asked to provide your card details from which the payment will be processed. We accept Visa, Mastercard, Maestro and Solo cards. Please note that we are unable to accept payment from any other type of credit/debit card and that the minimum charge for all card payments is £3. We are also unable to accept payment by money transfer service.