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Durham University

Special Collections

Family history

Welcome to our Family Records website

Here you will find links to our resources, guides and projects that are most likely to be useful for those undertaking family history research, or wanting to study individuals and families from the archives held by Durham University Library. These manuscript archives, as well as an extensive printed local history collection, are freely accessible to all - not just to students. The collection is held within the library at Palace Green, overlooked by the city's awe-inspiring cathedral. The Special Collections staff are very happy to answer your questions and facilitate your research in any way they can. The collection contains diocesan, family, and antiquarian collections dating from the medieval to modern times and covers both County Durham and Northumberland, as well as certain parts of neighbouring counties.

Most of the record series featured on these pages have been selected for their accessibility for, as well as their popularity with genealogists, but there also are one or two lesser-used collections that may be new discoveries for readers.

Information on visiting Palace Green Library to consult any of the records featured on this website is at (when viewing opening hours, note that the archives search room is located within the Barker Research Library).


Local history sources

For some series of records relating to local history research which are featured on our previous family history portal, please see separate webpages on: