There are two ways to access the data in our archives. One of them is to browse through our archive and the other is to search across our archive.

Browsing the archive

You can start browsing through our archive collections here . The archive material is organised into collections such as Maps and Indentures (you can see the title of the collection by hovering over the thumbnail on a desktop computer)

Within each collection there are both records and additional collections with sub-groups of archive material. There is also a search bar at the top that will allow you to search the records within that collection.

Searching for items

In various places throughout the site you can search across all or a subset of the items within the archive. You can being a search by clicking on the search icon in the header, visiting the search page here or using the search within collections if you have already begun to browse through our collections.


All of the search forms on the site contain both a keyword field and filters. The simplest way to search is simply to type a search term and click the search button. 

You can narrow or widen your search further by using the All/Any toggle to the left of the keyword field. For example, when searching for the term "John Smith" with All set, you will get search results where both the words "John" and "Smith" are found.

When searching for the term "John Smith" with Any set, you will get search results where either "John" or "Smith" are found.


You can further narrow your search by making use of filters, accessible via the Filter button below the keyword search field. Select a type of filter and then enter your desired terms into the fields. The fields available will change depending on the type you select. 

Please note that the search forms in the collection pages will only include results for items within that collection. To search across the entire archive use the form on the search page.


Search Tips

Names have been indexed as they appear in the original documents - they have not been expanded or corrected to current day spellings. As names were not standardised in the past there may be alternative spellings due to them being misspelt or written as they sounded, so you will need to take this into account when searching. Where a name is unreadable or doubtful a suggested name appears within [ ]. For example, if the surname you are looking for is Gillott, this can also be spelt Gillot, Gilott, Gillatt, etc.. Abbreviations of names have also been indexed as they appear in the original documents, so it is useful to know some of the most common abbreviations of first names. For example, Thomas is often written as 'Thos' and William as 'Wm'. Referring to the list of most common abbreviations on these help pages will give you some help with these names.

List of most common abbreviations of names:

In addition to the search tips already on the site peoples Christian names may just be a single letter eg A,G, J, W etc.
You may also find abbreviations of titles, and of places in the Bradfield documents:

In the case of locations these have been transcribed as they appear, examples of these are Oughtibridge which may appear as O Bridge, Oughtybridge, Oughty Bridge or Oughtibridge.

Midhopestone may appear as Midhope, Middop or Midhopestones

Bradfield may appear as Bradfd, Sheffield as Sheffd, Rotherham as Roth or Rothm, Stannington as Stanntn.

It is not possible for us to list all the abbreviations you may come across, but knowing the forms used can help you to identify others.

Where the same Christian name and surname appear more than once on the same image it is marked with a *.

Where a surname has been abbreviated or difficult to read as suggested name has been used within [  ]

It can sometimes be a challenge to read the handwriting in some of these old documents. You will come across other unfamiliar abbreviations and tricky letters. Some capital letters can be easily confused as they look similar in certain types of script, such as S and T or I and J. The best way to tackle these is to compare them with words in the document you already know. If in doubt, come back to them later, as sometimes when looking afresh, the word suddenly becomes clear. As you become more familiar with the handwriting it will be easier to read.

Some practical help is available at:


Other websites you may be interested in:

We welcome your comments on The Bradfield Archives website. Please get in touch with us and let us know what you think of the website, the documents and also these help pages!