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About the Register of Deeds

The North Riding of Yorkshire was one of the few areas in England and Wales to introduce and maintain a Register of Deeds. From 1736-1970, transactions relating to property located within the boundaries of the North Riding were copied and recorded at the Deeds Registry in Northallerton. Although it was not compulsory to record such transactions, it did become common practice.

The Registry of Deeds records are held at the North Yorkshire County Record Office at Malpas Road, Northallerton.

Due to legislation being introduced in 1884 to ensure a common system across all three Ridings of Yorkshire, there are two series of Indexes. The main differences between the two systems are:

  • Reference Number:
    • 1736-1884 – Alpha/numerical reference system e.g. BY/101/123
    • 1885-1970 – Numerical reference system e.g. 16/1101/402
  • All parties involved in the transaction are listed in the Indexes from 1885 onwards; prior to this, only the names of the main parties were listed
  • Date of Registration – shown in Index Registers from 1885 onwards; older ledgers do not show this level of detail

How to Search

  • You can search the database on this site using the white search boxes above - this will search the indexes for 1784-90 and 1885-1889 only
  • You can visit the Search Room at the County Record Office in person to search the Index Registers 
  • You can also contact the County Record Office and ask them to do a search for you.

Index Registers contain the following information:

  • Date of Transaction (post 1884 only)
  • Township name
  • Surname/forename(s) of Parties
  • Reference No of Transaction (Vol/Page/Number)

To access the original document, you will need the reference number from the Index Register.

Search the Database

Please note that the Indexes for 1784-1790 and 1885-1889 have been transcribed in full for all townships.

In addition, the index for all townships beginning with 'M' for the period 1853 - 1865 has now been added - this includes Middlesbrough which had the highest number of transactions of any township. 

This database is a transcription of a handwritten index so spellings can vary. To get the best results, try to keep your search simple, then narrow the results down by adding more information.

Example: Search by surname - Looking for transactions involving William Hutton? First, search by surname ‘Hutton’, then add forename ‘William’ or initial ‘W’ to exclude inappropriate results.

Example: Search by Township – Looking for transactions in Whitby? First, search by township ‘Whitby’, then restrict results by date range or by surname.

To see a list of the Townships contained in the 1784-1790 Index Register and the 1885-1889 Index Register Click Here

Search results can be downloaded as a pdf and printed if required (max 50 results per search). 

Research Projects - Women and Property

Women's involvement in property - Understanding women’s relationship to land and property across the North Riding of Yorkshire since the late 18th century is an area of interest that Dr Joan Heggie has been working on for the past few years. In her first project (partly funded by a small grant from the Economic History Society), Joan worked with volunteers, student researchers and a Research Assistant at the North Yorkshire County Record Office in Northallerton to compile a database of each transaction for two pilot periods (1784-90 and 1885-1889). An extensive gender-based analysis of the database was carried out, which provided information about each woman's family connections, place of abode and occupation. During the final phase of the project, archival and biographical resources were used to reconstruct selected women’s lives. These combined methods helped to establish how women were involved in property transactions over time and contributes to the wider debates on women as social and economic actors. Thanks to Karen Ellwood for all her hard work in helping to transcribe and check these datasets, as well as her enthusiasm and ongoing support for the projects.

Women as capital lenders in nineteenth century Yorkshire: Evidence from the Registers of Deeds - The overall aim of this two-year research project (June 2021-May 2023) is to investigate the role that women played as capital lenders in the expansion of industrial towns and development of middle-class suburbs in nineteenth-century Yorkshire. Drawing on original documentation from the Registers of Deeds for the County of York, which offer an unique system for tracking property transfers, this project will study a large quantity of previously unresearched mortgage documentation from the late 1880s, focusing in particular on gendered patterns of behaviour and women's investment strategies in Middlesbrough and Scarborough in the North Riding. In the second phase of the project, data for two towns in the East and West Ridings, each with a different economic base, will be collected to undertake a comparative study across three industrial towns (Middlesbrough, Halifax and Hull) to investigate the similarities/ differences in female investment strategies. How might such investment by women in the expansion of industrial towns be better understood in the wider social and economic context of urban growth and changing legislation regarding married women's control over their own wealth, however modest? Were these patterns similar to other towns with a different industrial base? 

Thanks to Teesside University and North Yorkshire County Record Office for their continued support.


***LATEST NEWS*** - August 2021 - Details of upcoming talks/ presentations about women as capital lenders and women's involvement with property added to the Events section below.

***NEWS*** - June 2021 - Success!! External funding received from the British Academy/ Leverhulme Small Research Grant (SRG2021_210721) for a new two-year project entitled 'Women as capital lenders in nineteenth-century Yorkshire: Evidence from the Registers of Deeds'. This project will investigate the role that women played as capital lenders in the expansion of industrial towns and development of middle-class suburbs using mortgage documents from the East, North and West Ridings of Yorkshire.

***NEWS*** - February 2021 - New datasets added!! The Indexes for Townships beginning with 'M' for the 1853-1864 period have been uploaded. Over 12,000 new names - and including all transactions involving the Township of Middlesbrough.

***NEWS*** - November 2019 - Findings from this study published!***

Heggie, J. K. F., (2019) 'Women's Involvement in Property in the North Riding of Yorkshire in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries' in Women and the Land, 1500-1900. Capern, A. L., McDonagh, B. & Aston, J. (eds.). Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, p. 201-225.

See here for link to publisher's website.



This page will list any upcoming talks or events about the Register of Deeds Project.

Date Event Location Description  
24/01/2022 Guisborough Retired Men's Forum Cricket Club, Rectory Lane, Guisborough TS14 7DQ Women as capital investors in 19th century Yorkshire: Evidence from the Registers of Deeds  
27/10/2021 Friends of Guisborough Library Public Talk Sunnyfield House Community Centre, 36 Westgate, Guisborough TS14 6BA Women and property in the North Riding of Yorkshire: what the Deeds Registers tell us  
09/10/2021 Cleveland & Teesside Local History Society Public Talk  Online via Zoom - Book via Eventbrite link here Women as capital lenders in the expansion of 19th century Middlesbrough and Scarborough  via Zoom - Free booking
25/09/2020 Friends of Guisborough Library Public Talk Guisborough Library, TS10 1RT Women and Property in the North Riding Cancelled due to Covid-19
18/05/2019 Women's Studies Group - Women, land and its meanings  The Foundling Museum, London Academic paper on findings from Women's Involvement in Property project  


These links have been provided in good faith. The Register of Deeds Project has no control over the nature, content and availability of the sites listed below. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.


Teesside University -

North Yorkshire County Record Office -

Economic History Society -

Genuki Yorkshire -