Family history service launches at Archives

A new family history service has been launched to help Warrington people delve into the past and unlock the mysteries of their ancestry.

Experts will be on hand from Warrington Family History Society on a monthly basis and can be found at Warrington Archives, inside Central Library in Museum Street.

Working alongside Culture Warrington, the friendly volunteers can give free advice to anyone, from beginners who want to look into their family tree but don’t know where to start, to experienced researchers who have hit a brick wall and don’t know how to get past it.

In recent years, programmes such as ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ and ‘DNA Journey’ have helped increase interest in genealogy across the UK.

And now it couldn’t be easier for people to make their own discoveries as the Warrington Family History Society team have access to billions of electronic records as well as a vast array of original historic documents held in Warrington’s Archives.

The service has been rolled out after the success of similar schemes at Penketh Library and Lymm Library.

Philip Jeffs, Culture Warrington’s Archives Officer, said: “People who come to the help desks have all sorts of questions. Sometimes they are just curious about where they come from and what their ancestors’ lives were like.

“Other times, they have very specific questions such as what their grandfather’s role was during the First World War or where their grandmother was born.

“A lot of people who come to the help desks just have one nagging question about their family history that they just haven’t been able to answer and it’s fantastic when we’re able to help them make a breakthrough.

“Between them, the volunteers from Warrington Family History Society have a lifetime of knowledge in the field and have probably come across every problem a researcher might meet.”

Over the years, these enthusiastic and tenacious researchers have discovered all sorts of weird and wonderful facts.

Philip added: “Might your ancestor have been a juggler at the Gaiety Theatre? Or a war hero at the Battle of the Somme? Was your great grandfather arrested for stealing apples on Warrington Market, or rewarded for saving a drowning child from the River Mersey?

“Did your family come to Warrington to escape the potato famine in Ireland, or have they lived here hundreds of years? The possibilities are endless and Warrington Archives can help you start your journey into your family’s past.

“The stories you uncover can help to show how your family has become what it is today through all the hardships and the joys and highs and the lows your ancestors experienced through time.”

The family history service will be at Warrington Archives on the following Saturdays between 10am and midday – 23 September, 21 October and 25 November – with more dates to be announced.

Visitors do not have to book in, but are encouraged to email [email protected] in advance where they are welcome to send details of their enquiry before the meeting.

People who are not from Warrington are also welcome to attend as the team have access to vast collections of online records covering the whole of the UK.