Research Service

Surrey History Centre is happy to offer free advice and information on our archive and local studies collections. We also have catalogues, indexes and research guides to help you with your research, and some Surrey records are online.

If you are unable to visit Surrey History Centre in person, we offer a paid Research Service, details of which are below:

The Research Service can search a range of historical documents and local studies collections for names, properties, or topics on your behalf that are held at Surrey History Centre. Most of the records we hold can be freely consulted in our searchroom. However some records are subject to access restrictions because they contain potentially sensitive information. We will check such records before releasing the information and may need to exempt from disclosure some or all of the information requested because of its sensitive nature. In these cases you will be informed of the reason. Because some requests for potentially sensitive information require lengthy searches of un-indexed and unstructured records, which have survived incompletely (such as school and hospital records), we may charge a fee to carry out the research necessary to tell you whether or not we hold specific information. We also charge for copies of documents - please see Surrey History Centre table of fees.

It is worth checking which records we hold before commissioning a search, by consulting our Research Guides or viewing our catalogues by going to Search for archives or books at Surrey History Centre.

Family history

We hold a large variety of material that is useful for genealogical searches including:

  • Parish registers (baptisms, marriages and burials)
  • Census returns for Surrey
  • Land Tax
  • Poor law records
  • Manorial court records
  • Electoral registers.

Property history

Sources include:

  • Ordnance Survey maps
  • Tithe and enclosure maps
  • Manorial records
  • Census returns
  • Sale particulars

Transcriptions and translations

Often archive material and fragile documents such as title deeds, bound volumes and court rolls cannot be photocopied for conservation reasons, or the writing can be difficult to read. Transcriptions of English documents can be undertaken as part of the research service but only of documents that are held by Surrey History Centre. Translations of Latin documents can be arranged where feasible and transcriptions will be considered. However, please bear in mind that this can be a time consuming process.

Search fees

For our current search fees please see our Surrey History Centre table of fees.

The search fee includes VAT, postage, administration, photocopies and printer copies wherever relevant. The period of time charged will include report writing and administrative work connected with the search. No fee will be refunded. To ensure a reasonable turnover, we cannot accept lengthy or open-ended research requests, and have a limit of a maximum of three hours of research at a time. We are unable to undertake research on rights of way, access and boundary disputes.

If you are interested in using our Paid Research Service or wish to discuss your requirements, please email with details of your research request. If we are able to help you, we will endeavour to provide an accurate estimate of the amount of time needed to undertake your research. Payment for the research service (quoting our reference number) can be made online after we have received your research request (by email, telephone or post) at which time we will provide you with a link to our online payment system.

Short searches of up to 30 minutes, can be undertaken for a half hour fee. For example we will check entries for baptisms, marriages or burials provided you can supply a name and an approximate date (within 2 years).

Stipulated search times apply to searches in certain classes of records which are subject to access restrictions to establish whether or not we hold the specific information you are seeking.

We endeavour to complete all research within a month of receipt. However, if demand is high, you may experience some delay. If this is the case, you will be informed and your research will be dealt with as soon as possible.

Express service

For an additional charge, we can offer an express service where customers require a reply within 48 hours of receipt of payment. This service is subject to staff availability and may not always be available; please contact us to enquire before commissioning a search.

How to use the research service

Requests for searches should be submitted by email, by telephone or by post, giving as much information as possible such as names, places and dates.

If we are able to help you, we will provide a quote and a link to our online payment page. We accept online Credit or Debit Card payments on application.

If you do not wish to use this facility, payment by cheque can be made by post; payment by Credit/Debit Card can be made by post or telephone, but for security reasons, not by email. Please do not pay until we have confirmed that we are able to help you.

Receiving your results

Results of the search will be sent in the form of a report with copies of relevant material where possible, but there can be no guarantee that a search will provide a positive response.

However, the experienced staff of Surrey History Centre will carry out the search in a professional and conscientious manner in order to obtain the most satisfactory and accurate results possible.

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