TWO archive courses will help people learn about their family history.

Durham County Record Office is inviting people to find out more about their ancestry, as it opens up the collection through archivist-led, friendly sessions.

The Family History course offers an introduction to Durham County Council’s archive collections and will direct attendees on the best ways to research.

Dawn Layland, education and outreach archivist at Durham County Record Office said: “When starting your journey into your family tree, it can be hard to know where to start and what to look for. This session offers a friendly, helpful environment and a great place to begin.

“It is exciting to see people make new discoveries, and to get to grips with how best to use our archives for something that can be a really personal piece of research.”

Each Family History course runs over three weekly sessions. Dates include Friday, January 24, January 31, February 7 from 10am to 12 noon, and Thursday, January 30, February 6, February 13 from 6pm to 8pm. The course costs £30.

The record office is also bringing back its Branching Out talks, designed for people who want to take their research to the next level. Each talk focuses on a special area of family history.

For the first of the series in 2020, archivists will look at the records available for studying ancestors who were Catholic, Methodist, Quaker or other denominations that did not come under the Church of England, as well as uncovering what life was like for those who didn’t conform to the Established Church.

Attendees are also able to make use of research facilities following the talk, with the support of an archivist.

The talk will run twice, on Tuesday, January 21, 6pm to 8pm, and Thursday, January 23, from 10am to 12pm.

Tickets must be booked in advance and are priced at £10 per person.

Visit to book.