County Durham residents can once again delve into the past with the return of popular online talks this month.

Durham County Record Office’s Third Thursday talk series resumes next week, offering a story of local and social history, courage, romance and tragedy.

Local historian Gillian Hunt will explore the life of Mary Farrow (nee Lister), a teacher who survived the First World War before losing her life to Spanish flu during the pandemic of 1918.

Participants will be taken from Mary’s birthplace of Hartlepool to her final resting place of St Mary’s Churchyard in Gainford, via Durham University and First World War Oxford, with an eye-witness account of the Hartlepool bombardment and an emotional conclusion to the research project on Remembrance Sunday 2018.

It is free to take part in the talk next Thursday (18 November) at 10.30am. However, advanced booking is essential.

The Record Office is also continuing its Branching Out series for family historians who are ready to move beyond the basics of researching their family tree.

This month’s online talk will focus on divorce, with very different laws around marriage and divorce having been in place in the past.

The session will also explore surviving records and where to find them and explain what is available online.

Dawn Layland, the archivist who will lead the session, said:

“We are looking forward to welcoming people to this month’s talk and offering a better insight into family research.

“Shedding light on laws of the past is really helpful to people currently trying to navigate their family tree. It can help to explain any anomalies that you might find when doing your research and offer a better understanding of how your ancestors lived.”

Participants have a choice of morning or evening sessions, either at 6pm on Wednesday 24 November or at 10am on Thursday 25 November.

Tickets cost £5 per person and can be booked via the Record Office’s online shop:

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