It’s all on record for family researchers

RECORDS BOOST: Sandra McKay, the reference services officer at the Central Library, which has just taken receipt of hundreds of new historical documents
RECORDS BOOST: Sandra McKay, the reference services officer at the Central Library, which has just taken receipt of hundreds of new historical documents

KEEN genealogists have been given a real boost in their family tree research. Hundreds of new documents have arrived at Hartlepool Central Library for people wanting to dig deeper into their past. Chris Cordner found out more about the boost for the library’s facilities.

HAVE you struggled to find the detailed record of a birth from years gone by.

Or is there a marriage which you know has happened in Hartlepool but you just can’t find any record of it?

Perhaps you’re on the hunt for a record of a death.

Help could now be at hand thanks to hundreds of official documents which have arrived at Hartlepool Central Library based in York Road.

And it is all now available to people who use the library for family tree research.

“We have received a lot of Methodist and Catholic records,” said Sandra McKay, the reference services officer at the Central Library.

“They have been given by the Teesside Archive service and we are adding to our stock all the time. They are for Hartlepool and West Hartlepool.”

Sandra said the library now had a large file. “We have lots of parish records for in and around Hartlepool but the new ones are for dates stretching between anything from 1834 to the 1960s and 1970s.”

The records include details of births, deaths and marriages although births and marriage records are more prevalent.

“We have also been able to look at cemetery records for Hartlepool and West Hartlepool including cremation registers,” said Sandra.

She said the documents were able to show who the owners of plots were and whether they had reserved spaces for other people to be interred there at later dates.

The records do not just relate to the Hartlepools either, said Sandra.

“They are also from the Monkwearmouth and Bishopwearmouth areas and the link is the various Gray’s shipyards and their locations.

Members of the public can access all of the records at any time that the Central Library is open. Many of the records are on microfilm.

Sandra added: “Family history is of growing interest and we are getting more records in all the time. We try and add to the collection all the time.”

People interested in researching their family tree can attend the Tracing Your Ancestors service from 10am to 12pm every Wednesday.

The library’s reference section has 500 years of recorded history and up to 30 people at a time use the service.

It has the parish records for St Hilda in Hartlepool and they go back to 1500 AD. It also has them for All Saints Church, in Stranton.

The library has every official record on Hartlepool’s population since official records began in 1837 and every town Census since they were first logged in 1841.

But people are not limited to just researching their family trees on a Wednesday.

That’s the day when the staff can give a helping hand for genealogists who run into barriers but the reference library is also open seven days a week for research. Admission is free.

For more information contact (01429) 272905 or email infodesk@hartlepool.gov.uk.