Enquiry service from the Oxfordshire History Centre

We operate an enquiry service for people who cannot visit Oxfordshire History Centre.

Oxfordshire History Centre will be closed from 5 November

We are provisionally accepting visitor bookings for 3 December onwards. 

Key changes

When you visit there will be some changes:

  • Opening hours are limited to one morning and one afternoon session.
  • Open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and alternate Saturdays.
  • All visitors must book a session in advance.
  • There will be a limited number of places available in each session.
  • The centre will be closed between 12.30 and 1.30 pm for extra cleaning.
  • All material/documents must be ordered and agreed in advance - there will be no casual requests.
  • All access will be via the entrance to the car park on Temple Road. No access via the pedestrian gate on Oxford Road.

You must wear a face covering during your visit (unless exempt for health reasons). We will use your name and contact details to assist the NHS with Track and Trace.

Read our Visitor Information for full details of changes.

How to make an enquiry

You can contact us by:

  • telephone - we can often answer simple enquiries by telephone. Some enquiries will take more time to check against sources in our collections, and so may be chargeable. We will advise you if we need you to write to us instead.
  • letter or email - give us details of your research request.

We provide some information free of charge

A single question on our holdings, for example Do you hold the parish registers for Bampton?, What is the date of the Thame enclosure award? may be answered free of charge. All other enquiries, including those which involve checking a number of catalogues and indexes, will be chargeable.

Chargeable research service

  • For chargeable enquiries, we will respond with an estimate of the research costs involved. Please note that we require payment in advance of work being done.
  • We can make detailed searches of our catalogues and indexes
  • We can make specific searches of materials in our local studies or archive collections
  • Family historians with more time-consuming enquiries may wish to contact a private researcher. A list of genealogical researchers is available from the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA) website.

How to pay for research

  • Research is charged at an hourly rate with a minimum half-hour fee payable. The maximum search time is two hours - we will advise you what fee is payable for your particular enquiry
  • Pay by cheque - please make cheques payable to Oxfordshire County Council, and please quote our email or letter reference
  • Make an electronic payment from a UK bank via Faster Payments, or from an overseas bank via SWIFT - please ask for details.
  • We regret we cannot accept telephone or online payment by credit/debit card, nor cheque payment in a currency other than pounds sterling. We advise the use of electronic payment direct from your bank account instead.
  • Credit or debit card payments can be made in person only by visitors to Oxfordshire History Centre.