Families are being invited to discover their ancestors through a series of sessions at Durham County Record Office.

Over the next two months, the Record Office’s Branching Out programme will explore civilians in the Second World War, how to trace ancestors before 1800 and electoral registers.

Dawn Layland, education and outreach archivist for Durham County Council, said: “A lot of people struggle to make time for their family history, but in just two hours, you can find out more about your ancestors and, with expert help, spend an hour working on your own research.”

The sessions – which cost £10 each – are part of a regular series that is designed for people who’ve already begun tracing their family tree or who have attended one of the Record Office’s beginners’ courses.

The first session, Tracing Ancestors Before 1800, takes place twice on Thursday 27 April, from 10am to noon and 6pm to 8pm.

It is followed by Civilian Ancestors in the Second World War, from 6pm to 8pm on Tuesday 23 May and 10am to noon on Thursday 25 May.

A third session, Electoral Registers and Trade Directories, will be held from 6pm to 8pm on Tuesday 13 June and 10am to noon on Thursday 15 June.

The Record Office also runs regular beginners’ family history courses – costing £30 per person – which consist of three weekly sessions. The next course is in June.

To book, or for more information, call 03000 267626 or email record.office@durham.gov.uk.