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Find the unexpected in your family tree

Published November 22, 2019 10.41am

A family history course will return to give attendees the chance to look at lesser known archives and discover hidden family histories.

DCRO collection D/X 1145/9

Mary Jane Harvey, of Metal Bridge, aged about three years old, c.1915. Record office D/X 1145/9

Branching Out, a series of talks organised by Durham County Record Office, invites people to learn skills that will help them advance their family research skills.

This talk explores the often overlooked world of miscellaneous collections, including documents from a local journalist about munitions workers in Aycliffe during the Second World War, a 1767 wages bill from Andrew's House Colliery and a collection of records from the Wood family of Metal Bridge.

Dawn Layland, education and outreach archivist at Durham County Record Office, said: "With over five miles of shelving and new deposits coming every day, it's hardly surprising that some of our collections don't fit into established categories.

"Some of our collections, like the Durham Light Infantry archive, are very well-known, but the next Branching Out session focusses on 'miscellaneous collections': small, interesting and sometimes quirky records that don't fit into those larger archives."

Nigel Bell from Fir Tree, County Durham, a regular attendant of the course, said: "My family history research benefitted hugely from attending the range of Branching Out sessions. Clear explanations and practical tips helped accelerate my discoveries and took me to unexpected places in my family's past. I would recommend it to anyone."

Two sessions are available for booking on Thursday 28 November. The first runs from 10am to 12pm, and a later session will run from 6pm to 8pm. Both cost £10 per person.

To book, visit Durham County Record Office.

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