AN ARCHIVIST will give a talk about how surnames are passed along the family and at what point they started to be inherited in the way they are today.

Dawn Layland, an archivist with the Durham County Record Office, will lead a naming traditions sessions at County Hall from 10am to noon on Thursday and from 6pm to 8pm on Thursday May 24.

The talks will also look at naming traditions in other parts of the UK.

For for example, in Wales until the 1800s, surnames were patronymic, so a man was simply known as Rhys ap Ieaun (Rhys son of Ieaun) – making it tricky for people tracing their family tree.

The talk is one of a number of branching out sessions held at the record office, suitable for people who already have basic genealogy experience.

Surname studies can also provide a pattern as to areas where specific surnames are particularly popular. This can then make it easier for those looking for more information on their family history.

Ms Layland, said: “Studying surnames can not only reveal the tradition behind your own name but is a fascinating subject in its own right.

“After the talk there will be time to browse the archives and put what you have learnt to the test with advice and support.”

The session costs £10. Booking is essential. Contact 03000 267 626 or email