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Hertfordshire County Council

Find a document or information for me

If you're short of time or need help with your research, we can help.

Enquiry service

We can answer simple enquiries about our collections which only require a quick check of the indexes or catalogue, for example, whether we hold parish records for St Albans. This is a free service.

Email us your enquiry 

Research Service

We can search original documents held in our collections to help you find the information you're looking for.

That includes family history and house history, or a detailed search of the catalogues. We also provide a transcription and translation service of documents.

30 minutes - £18

60 minutes - £36

See all fees and charges

We'll provide you with a report within 10 working days.

Upon finishing your search, we'll let you know the documents we find and give you an opportunity to order a copy or come to the archives and view the documents.

If your request is urgent, we can fast track it for an additional fee. Expedited search and copy fees are £36 (in addition to the usual cost of copies or certified entries).

Order a copy of a document

If you’d like a copy of a document, you can buy it from us

All you need is:

  • a document reference e.g. name of parish, newspaper title or document name
  • a document date
  • specific entry details such as names or places.

If you don't have these details, a search is required to check the item is suitable for copying, and to identify the costs. A search fee will apply.

If you would like your copy certified, please let us know in the enquiry form.

If your request is urgent, we can fast track it for an additional fee. Expedited search and copy fees are £36 (in addition to the usual cost of copies or certified entries). See our  fees and charges for more information.


Certified copies and transcripts  

A certified copy is a signed copy of the original entry in a document. Certified copies are usually requested for legal purposes. For parish register entries, we provide a transcript of an entry. For other records, we provide a copy.

If you require us to certify a document as a true and accurate copy of an original entry in a document in our collections you can request a certified copy or transcript of:

  • parish register entries, including baptism, marriage and burials
  • vehicle registration records
  • certification of your own information, including magistrates court records, other institution records and subject access requests.

Reuse an image from the archives

Contact us about reproduction rights if you want to publish a document we hold at the archives. That might be in your own publication, website, exhibition or TV programme.

Give us as much information as possible (including the document's reference number) so we can check if the items can be reproduced. This may take us some time so please do give us as much notice as possible.

Reproduction fees

We charge a fee for permission to reproduce items. See our fees and charges

The owner may also impose a reproduction fee or other condition of their own.

Permission of use

We usually only grant permission for a specific use. You'll need to contact us again if you want to use it elsewhere in the future.

Once permission is granted, you'll need to credit "Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies (HALS)" and include the reference number where the document is reproduced.

It might not always be possible to reproduce items if they're subject to copyright or if the owner has placed restrictions on their reproduction. Many documents in the collections are still in copyright, even if they're very old.

If the copyright owner is not known, it'll be your responsibility to trace them.

Look at a document from our collection 

When you find a record that you want to view in person, you can pre-order the document so it's ready when you arrive. You don't need to book a seat ahead of your visit.

You can also pre-order documents we hold off-site (PDF 153KB). Order by 11am or 2.30pm and they'll be ready to view within an hour. Order by 10am on Fridays.

  • You can only pre-order for Tuesday to Friday. We are closed on Mondays and we close early on Fridays. Check our opening hours.
  • You can pre-order up to 3 documents, but you can ask to see more during your visit.
  • You will need the reference number of each document.


View a document at the archives


To view documents at the archives you will need a Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies Readers ticket (HART). To get one of these on the day of your visit you will need to bring a proof of identity and address with a signature, such as:

  • driving licence
  • passport
  • recent utility bill.

Access restrictions – rules about the records you can see

Sometimes there are documents in the archives that you can't view.  These are 'access restrictions'.

Access restrictions

  • Other people’s information may be restricted, if they're still alive.
  • You can make a Subject Access Request to us if you want to access information about yourself.
  • Medical and social care records are restricted for a longer period, even after a person’s death.
  • If we say a document is restricted, you can still try making a Freedom of Information request for it. But please contact us first.
  • For adoption records please contact us. We may refer you to the Adoption team.
  • There are other reasons why some items may not be seen, for example, if they are too fragile.

Read more about access restrictions – Access to Records – Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies.



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