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Book places online for the events listed below.

If you would like to receive details of future events at the Record Office you can subscribe to our events mailing lists:

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Events: June 2022

ONLINE Branching Out: Parish Records (other than registers)
by Dawn Layland, archivist
Thursday 23 June 2022, from 10.00am to 11.00am
£5.00

The value of parish registers for family history is well known and they are often easily accessible. But there is a wealth of other records kept by parishes that can also be useful for family history, especially as you get further back. Many ancestors will have served as parish officers and surviving records may tell you about their tenure as churchwarden or parish constable. Even if they didn't, parish records have a lot to say about the community in which your ancestors lived.

This talk will look at what records survive as well as how to understand and find them.

This session is hosted on Zoom.
Your booking confirmation email will contain instructions how to join this event online.


ONLINE Branching Out: Parish Records (other than registers)
by Dawn Layland, archivist
Thursday 23 June 2022, from 6.00pm to 7.00pm
£5.00

The value of parish registers for family history is well known and they are often easily accessible. But there is a wealth of other records kept by parishes that can also be useful for family history, especially as you get further back. Many ancestors will have served as parish officers and surviving records may tell you about their tenure as churchwarden or parish constable. Even if they didn't, parish records have a lot to say about the community in which your ancestors lived.

This talk will look at what records survive as well as how to understand and find them.

This session is hosted on Zoom.
Your booking confirmation email will contain instructions how to join this event online.

Events: July 2022

ONLINE Branching Out: Farming Ancestors
by Dawn Layland, archivist
Thursday 14 July 2022, from 10.00am to 11.00am
£5.00

Before the 19th century, Durham, like most of Great Britain, was a rural county with agriculture the predominant occupation. Some people owned or leased their own farms, others worked as labourers with varying degrees of skill and pay.

This talk explores the occupations that existed and how our ancestors lived as well as the records that survive and what they can tell us.

This session is hosted on Zoom.
Your booking confirmation email will contain instructions how to join this event online.


ONLINE Branching Out: Farming Ancestors
by Dawn Layland, archivist
Thursday 14 July 2022, from 6.00pm to 7.00pm
£5.00

Before the 19th century, Durham, like most of Great Britain, was a rural county with agriculture the predominant occupation. Some people owned or leased their own farms, others worked as labourers with varying degrees of skill and pay.

This talk explores the occupations that existed and how our ancestors lived as well as the records that survive and what they can tell us.

This session is hosted on Zoom.
Your booking confirmation email will contain instructions how to join this event online.


ONLINE Third Thursday Talk: 'Finding Wilfred - a Great War mystery'
by David Yeoman, military researcher
Thursday 21 July 2022, from 10.30am to 11.30am
£0.00

My initial research started looking for Wilfred Lomas who was killed in action on or around 16 December 1917, along with two others, Westgarth and Dunn, and it grew from there.

My mother remembers seeing a letter the family received in the early 1920s stating that his body had been exhumed and was to be reinterred at Polcappelle. It appears that Wilfred's body may have been exhumed at some point and then lost. Unfortunately, the letter, his wallet and the other items which were returned, disappeared after the death of my grandfather.

A total of 19 men of 10 DLI were reported killed during December 1917. Eleven have known graves, but Wilfred and six others do not. I concentrated my investigation on the exhumation records for Polcappelle which are in the CWGC records and worked my way through some 7500 exhumation records, and from the collated exhumation details I started to build a picture of where Wilfred could have been killed - and this is the story of how I searched for Wilfred and the others.

This free event is hosted on Zoom (donations welcome, by optional payment link).
Advance booking essential.
Your booking confirmation email will contain instructions how to join the event online.

Events: September 2022

ONLINE Third Thursday Talk: 'Marvellous Diggers - the 1st Battalion DLI in Korea, 1952 to 1953'
by Steve Shannon, military researcher
Thursday 15 September 2022, from 10.30am to 11.30am
£0.00

Seventy years ago, on 7 September 1952, the soldiers of the 1st Battalion The Durham Light Infantry (DLI) landed in Korea to serve with the Commonwealth Division and soon found themselves living and fighting in trenches and dug-outs as their grandfathers had done on the Western Front during the First World War.

Most of these soldiers were young National Servicemen, called-up to serve two years in the Army, though many of their officers and sergeants were veterans of the Second World War.

This illustrated talk will explore the experiences of these soldiers during the Korean War, through photographs, documents and newspapers held by Durham County Record Office; key objects from the DLI Collection; and the memories of DLI veterans, who were interviewed in the 1990s for the Imperial War Museum.

This free event is hosted on Zoom (donations welcome, by optional payment link).
Advance booking essential.
Your booking confirmation email will contain instructions how to join the event online.


ONLINE Branching Out: Catholic Ancestors
by Dawn Layland, archivist
Thursday 22 September 2022, from 10.00am to 11.00am
£5.00

The North East has always had a strong Catholic tradition, but after Henry VIII created the Church of England in 1534, life became very difficult for anyone who refused to conform to the new denomination. For centuries, Catholics were treated as second class citizens, forced to worship in secret, they risked losing their property and even their lives if they were discovered. Yet, the tradition remained strong.

This talk looks at what it was like to be a Roman Catholic as well as at what records survive and where to find them.

This session is hosted on Zoom.
Your booking confirmation email will contain instructions how to join this event online.


ONLINE Branching Out: Catholic Ancestors
by Dawn Layland, archivist
Thursday 22 September 2022, from 6.00pm to 7.00pm
£5.00

The North East has always had a strong Catholic tradition, but after Henry VIII created the Church of England in 1534, life became very difficult for anyone who refused to conform to the new denomination. For centuries, Catholics were treated as second class citizens, forced to worship in secret, they risked losing their property and even their lives if they were discovered. Yet, the tradition remained strong.

This talk looks at what it was like to be a Roman Catholic as well as at what records survive and where to find them.

This session is hosted on Zoom.
Your booking confirmation email will contain instructions how to join this event online.

Events: October 2022

ONLINE Branching Out: Scottish Ancestors
by Dawn Layland, archivist
Thursday 13 October 2022, from 10.00am to 11.00am
£5.00

Being relatively close to the Scottish border, it is only natural that many Durham families have Scottish roots. Yet researching Scottish ancestors can be challenging as the records, though similar, differ in unexpected ways. The Scottish legal system and even naming traditions also vary, which can create confusion.

This talk takes a broad overview of family history in Scotland, exploring these differences and offering explanations and advice on tracing ancestors there.

This session is hosted on Zoom.
Your booking confirmation email will contain instructions how to join this event online.


ONLINE Branching Out: Scottish Ancestors
by Dawn Layland, archivist
Thursday 13 October 2022, from 6.00pm to 7.00pm
£5.00

Being relatively close to the Scottish border, it is only natural that many Durham families have Scottish roots. Yet researching Scottish ancestors can be challenging as the records, though similar, differ in unexpected ways. The Scottish legal system and even naming traditions also vary, which can create confusion.

This talk takes a broad overview of family history in Scotland, exploring these differences and offering explanations and advice on tracing ancestors there.

This session is hosted on Zoom.
Your booking confirmation email will contain instructions how to join this event online.

Events: November 2022

ONLINE Branching Out: Methodist Ancestors
by Dawn Layland, archivist
Thursday 10 November 2022, from 10.00am to 11.00am
£5.00

Methodism grew from its 18th century roots as travelling preachers spread the word to all corners of the country and the people of County Durham were very receptive. By the end of the 19th century, Methodist chapels had sprung up in many towns and villages. Given this popularity, many of us have Methodist ancestors, but they can be hard to trace. The records are not as straightforward or easy to find as those for the Church of England, but they do exist and can be immensely useful.

This talk will help you get started in finding and using them.

This session is hosted on Zoom.
Your booking confirmation email will contain instructions how to join this event online.


ONLINE Branching Out: Methodist Ancestors
by Dawn Layland, archivist
Thursday 10 November 2022, from 6.00pm to 7.00pm
£5.00

Methodism grew from its 18th century roots as travelling preachers spread the word to all corners of the country and the people of County Durham were very receptive. By the end of the 19th century, Methodist chapels had sprung up in many towns and villages. Given this popularity, many of us have Methodist ancestors, but they can be hard to trace. The records are not as straightforward or easy to find as those for the Church of England, but they do exist and can be immensely useful.

This talk will help you get started in finding and using them.

This session is hosted on Zoom.
Your booking confirmation email will contain instructions how to join this event online.


ONLINE Third Thursday Talk: 'Margaret Farrington - a tale of sociability and sanity in Georgian Britain'
by Richard Pears, architectural historian
Thursday 17 November 2022, from 10.30am to 11.30am
£0.00

Margaret Farrington (1725-98), born in Newcastle to a respected Anglican clergyman and his wife, enjoyed the polite entertainments and socialising of Georgian London. This was cut short by her diagnosis of lunacy in 1765 and she returned to the North East to be cared for by her extended family until her death at Lamesley, near Gateshead in 1798.

Her life has been reconstructed entirely from archive sources, including an inventory of her possessions which draws a picture of her life in a well-appointed residence near Oxford Street, and discovering the familial ties that rescued her from the horrors of what passed for mental health treatments in public asylums and private madhouses.

This free event is hosted on Zoom (donations welcome, by optional payment link).
Advance booking essential.
Your booking confirmation email will contain instructions how to join the event online.


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