More and more people are becoming inspired to research their family history and find out more about their ancestry.
Television series on the subject have encouraged people to try it for themselves and there are now abundant sites online where you can pay a subscription to dig out details of the past.
But did you realise that Derbyshire Libraries are a valuable source of free information?
They provide free access to the two most popular family history websites ancestry.com and Findmypast.co.uk.
On these websites you can search a huge number of records, including census records, parish registers, old telephone directories and First World War military records.
You don’t have to be researching your own family history to find something of interest on one of these websites. They open a window into intriguing personal stories from the past and provide inspiration for writers, poets, visual artists and more.
A recent addition to findmypast.co.uk has been the Derbyshire school admission registers and head teachers’ log books.
The originals are held at Derbyshire Record Office in Matlock, but even though you can go online and don’t have to visit Matlock to look at them you might want to as it holds masses more material you can access in the archives and local studies collections.
For a dip into some of the beautiful and fascinating items take a look at this online blog at recordoffice.wordpress.com which has been put together by the library’s staff.
You can visit the Records Office for free and it doesn’t matter if you’re not sure where to start – the friendly staff are always pleased to help you.
Sarah Chubb, archive and local studies manager said: “There has been a real interest in researching family history ever since the TV programme Who Do You Think You Are? more than ten years ago now.”
She said the interest really dates back to the 1970s, but had really taken off as the result of other programmes such as Find My Past and Ancestry.
She said a lot of people were able to start researching at home, but eventually found they needed more detailed information.
“We know how to get people started. A lot of people go online, but there’s only so far you can go, and then people come to us.
“We have Parish records of Births, Marriages and Burials back to 1538.”
For more details on how to find the Records Office and opening hours go to derbyshire.gov.uk and look under leisure and culture for the link.