A new family history course gets underway this month, helping County Durham residents to unearth their family tree.

Following its success earlier this year, Durham County Record Office is once again offering the online course for people who would like an introduction to family history research.

The course is comprised of three talks and will explore some of the sources that family historians use as well as showing how archives held at the Record Office can help in their search.

For each talk, participants will have a choice of the morning (10am to 11am) or evening (6pm to 7pm) sessions. Talks are booked individually, so people can choose to attend one, two or all three, and also mix and match the times to suit their availability.

Want To Trace Your Family History?

The first talk takes place on Wednesday 15 September and focuses on the civil registration of births, deaths and marriages. This is followed by a talk on the census on Wednesday 22 September, before the course concludes on Wednesday 29 September, with a talk on researching parish registers of baptisms, marriages and burials.

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “These sessions are an excellent starting point for anyone hoping to unlock their family history and we are looking forward to seeing some new faces this autumn.

“Although it can sometimes feel quite daunting to get started with this research, our Record Office staff are experts in this area and will be able to offer the best support so I would encourage anyone with an interest in tracing their ancestors to book their place on the course.”

Those who have more experience in researching family history can also attend an online talk as part of the Record Office’s Branching Out programme, with September’s event in the monthly series focusing on courts and criminal records.

This takes place on Thursday 30 September, with participants being given a choice of the morning (10am to 11am) or evening (6pm to 7pm) sessions.

Each session costs £5 and can be booked using the Durham County Record Office online shop at https://recordofficeshop.durham.gov.uk/pgEventResult

Booking in advance is essential and early bookings are advised because of limited availability.

As well as its family history sessions, the popular Third Thursday Talks series returns this month with an online talk entitled ‘Crime in 1860s Durham City: An Analysis of Durham City Police Records.

Guest speaker and local historian John Sheen will explore the scarcely opened records of those held in custody in the 1850s and 1860s and reveal some fascinating facts about criminality in the city at that time.

To book a place on the free talk, taking place on Thursday 16 September from 10.30am to 11.30am, visit: https://recordofficeshop.durham.gov.uk/pgEventDetail?ID=1046433

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