WHILE North Yorkshire’s County Record Office is closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, dedicated volunteers have begun a new project to give local historians access to an amazing resource.

Undertaking the project will not only provide fascinating insights into the county’s past for all kinds of local, building and family history studies, it has also given some of the volunteers a purpose while in lockdown.

The work is the first step towards making more than 300 tithe maps and their accompanying apportionments (or reference books) more accessible online.

The project was launched in April and the team of around 25 volunteers have already transcribed more than 200 pages of handwritten documents from the vast collection.

Roger Sarjeant, one of the volunteers, said: “I have learnt more about local place names and much more about the area and what went on.

"I then investigate further when I discover something that piques my interest. "I get the satisfaction of work completed, stimulation of interest and a sense of still being useful as a volunteer when physically excluded.”

Often the earliest complete maps of parishes, these documents were drawn up in the 1840s and feature information on land owners and occupiers, field names and land use.