Frequently asked questions


What information can I find using this interface?
This interface holds information about the archives that are held at the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York. The system is intended to hold collection level descriptions about all of our archives and in some cases much more detailed catalogues or finding aids to help you identify suitable sources of information for your research. An overview of the types of archives that we hold can be found on our website.

I'm looking for information about my ancestors, will I find that here?
The catalogue contains some information that may be useful to your search, for example it will show if registers of baptisms, marriages and burials survive for particular parishes, or the dates covered by our probate (wills) collection. However it will not include the names of individuals. Our parish register and probate indexes are only available to search in our searchroom or via the online database Findmypast.

How do I view material within the archives?
When using this catalogue you may find information about a document within an archive that you would like to consult. You can do this in two ways, either by arranging to visit us to view the document for yourself, or if you can't visit, using one of our remote services to access the information you require. Remember to quote the reference code of the archive or item that you are interested in as this will help us to process your request.

What if I can't find what I'm looking for?
It will take time for us to fully populate our catalogue with information about all of the archives that we hold and we will be working on this over the next few years and releasing new archival descriptions as they are ready. In the meantime please do contact us if you can't find what you are looking for and our staff will be happy to help you.

How do I use the catalogue?
Please see the help page for hints and tips on how to use our catalogue and for a glossary of key terms you will encounter when using it.

Do I need to log in?
No, you do not need to log in to use AtoM. You can see all the information that you need to see without logging in.

How was this online catalogue created?
We have used AtoM (Access to Memory) to make this catalogue available.

AtoM is a collaborative project with the aim of providing the international archival community with a free, open source software application to manage and provide access to archival descriptions using International Council on Archives standards.

What do the icons in the catalogue mean?
As you browse and search in our catalogue you will see a number of different icons popping up. They help to show what type of record you are accessing.


What descriptive standards does the catalogue use?
Our catalogue uses a number of national and international archival standards. For the construction of personal, place and corporate names we use NCA Rules, a standard developed by the National Council on Archives in 1997 and used by most archive repositories in the UK to ensure authorised names follow a standard and easily recognisable format. Our Authority Records are created according to ISAAR (CPF) , and our Archival Descriptions are created using ISAD (G), both international standards developed by the International Council on Archives.

We also use a wide range of subject terms to index our archives and help users filter their search results more effectively. These have been created using the UK Archival Thesaurus, or UKAT, a controlled vocabulary of terms which was created for the archive sector in the United Kingdom, although it also utilises terms from two major international thesauri, the US Library of Congress Subject Headings and the UNESCO Thesaurus.