Record Office professional research services

How our professionals can help you with your research.

If you are unable to come to the Record Office in person we can carry out searches for you. Any enquiries (in line with current practice in many other record offices) requiring examination of original documents by staff attract a research fee.

The research fee has been temporarily reduced to £18 an hour (£9 for 30 minutes).

  • Short enquiries taking up to 30 minutes of staff time: £18.00
  • In-depth research: £36.00 per hour
Request professional research

Once we have reviewed your request, we will contact you to confirm the cost and how to pay online.

Research service information

The research service provides in-depth research by experienced staff, covering documents at the Record Office or on the internet including:

  • Genealogical research
  • house histories
  • other local history enquiries.

The sources which can be searched are:

  • Parish registers
  • wills
  • marriage licences
  • census returns
  • title deeds
  • directories
  • manorial records
  • electoral registers
  • the records of many of the large estates of West Sussex.

The Record Office also holds the Bishops’ transcripts for both West and East Sussex and records of The Royal Sussex Regiment. We have the subscription websites, ancestry and Findmypast and in-house indexes to a whole range of sources.

Orders are usually dealt with within four weeks but there may be a slight delay when there has been a high level of demand. All searches are carried out in the order in which they are received and an acknowledgement of your payment is always sent.

This service does not affect your right to visit the Record Office and you can carry out your own research, free of charge.

Record Office staff will normally answer limited and specific enquiries, but all others will be referred to the Research service. Brief enquiries may be answered by the Short Search facility, for which we charge the Research service fee for half an hour (£18.00).

Orders can be made by completing the online form. It is a good idea to check initially that we hold the records relevant to your enquiry. We usually suggest an hour at first and will advise you if extra time is needed.

We carry out a maximum of two hours at a time so that you control the progress and cost of the research. Please tell us all you know already, so that no information is duplicated. House histories can, however, be complex and we normally allow at least 3 hours to provide comprehensive information. We also ask you to provide an address (or sketch map) so that we can identify the property quickly.

Last updated:
15 January 2024
Share this
Share this

Do you have any feedback about this page?

Help us improve this website

Let us know if this page was helpful so we can make improvements. Add a star rating and leave your feedback below to show how useful you found this page.

Rate this page:
Clear star rating...
  • West Sussex County Council will only use this email address to respond to any issues raised.