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Archives and Special Collections: Sources for Local and Family History: Home

Please note

This guide is a work-in-progress. If you need information about a collection and you are unable to find it here, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us. Apologies for any inconvience or delay this may cause.


Welcome to the Local History guide!

Here you will find links to our resources, guides and projects that are most likely to be useful for those undertaking local history research from the archives held by Durham University Library and Collections. The local history and heritage of County Durham is extraordinarily rich, a vibrancy reflected in the extensive research collections which can be found across Archives and Special Collections. Such research collections also support and encourage the study of family history and genealogy by specialists and non-specialists alike.

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..


Click on the linked image below to open the search interface for all our library, archive and museum collections.  Further guidance for searching the archives and special collections is available on our website.

discover interface for book collections


About our collections

Rare and Early Printed Books
Churches and Religion
Sudan Archive
Medieval Manuscripts
Local and Family History
Durham University Records
Durham Cathedral Collections
International Sources
Digitised Collections Online
Music, Literature and the Arts
Other Collections and Subjects

Collection highlights

Archivist filmed with medieval deed in Palace Green Library

Archives and Special Collections podcasts and films

Online exhibitions (archive, library, museum and art collections)

Durham University Library and Collections blog

Archives and Special Collections Item of the Month

Durham Priory Library project blog

Binchester Exposed (Archaeology exhibition)