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Popular family history talks return this month

Published January 10, 2022 9.17am


Those wanting to uncover the secrets of their family history can find out how to get started with the return of a series of popular online courses.

Hardwick Hall

Hardwick Hall in use as a maternity home, in 1951

Following its very successful online family history courses last year, Durham County Record Office, run by us, will be bringing back its series of sessions which provide an introduction or refresher on how to begin family history research.

Course dates

The course is comprised of three talks, all bookable individually, and will explore some of the sources that family historians use. It will also show how archives, such as that held at the record office, can help in their search. 

Participants will have a choice of morning or evening sessions for the following courses:

  • 10am-11am or 6pm-7pm on Wednesday 26 January - Civil Registration
  • 10am-11am or 6pm-7pm on Wednesday 2 February - the Census
  • 10am-11am or 6pm-7pm on Wednesday 9 February - Parish Registers

Branching Out

The record office is also running its monthly online talks for those with more experience in family history, as part of its Branching Out programme.

Each monthly talk explores a particular family history topic, with January's to focus on hospital records.

Those interested can book either a morning session, from 10am to 11am, or an evening session, 6pm to 7pm, on Thursday, 13 January.

Each session costs £5 and can be booked using the record office's online shop.

Booking in advance is essential in order to receive the joining link. Early booking is advised as there are limited places available.

To book a place for this month's talks, visit Durham County Record Office: online booking.

Third Thursday talks

And, as part of its Third Thursday programme, the record office will also be hosting a free online local history talk on Thursday, 20 January from 10.30am to 11.30am.

This month's talk will be about 18th century architect Thomas Shirley and will be guided by architectural historian Martin Roberts.

Thomas Shirley was employed by many of the great County Durham families in the 18th century as a landscape architect.

Using the record office archives, Durham University Library Special Collections, as well as other archives his and surviving works, the talk will put together a picture of Thomas Shirley's talent and achievements.

Something for everyone

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, our Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: "Our record office is kicking off the new year with a range of fascinating family and local history talks for both beginners and experts alike. Using examples from our own archives, each talk covers various topics which will pique the interest of anyone with an interest in history."