Free help with climbing family trees

Volunteer Richard Crocker helps Valerie Barron research her family tree

Volunteer Richard Crocker helps Valerie Barron research her family tree

Words and photo by Dave Barry

Countless amateur genealogists are making the most of a free helping hand when delving into their family history.

A monthly session at Scarborough library has become more and more popular over the 17 years it has been running.

“The past has many secrets that are waiting to be discovered”, said a spokesperson for the local branch of the East Yorkshire Family History Society, which organises it. 

“Amateur genealogists can find out about relatives they did not know they had”.

The curious can play family-history detective and learn how to trace their family history online, with the help of experienced and intuitive volunteers such as Richard Crocker.

Richard is pictured helping Valerie Barron with her family research.

“He's a great help”, Valerie said, adding that she became smitten with the genealogy bug 40 years ago.

She can now trace her ancestors back six generations to one of her great great great great grandfathers, who lived from 1719-1808.

The society was launched in Beverley about 30 years ago then extended to Hull, Bridlington and Scarborough. It has about 1,410 members.

Its quarterly magazine is called the Banyan Tree because founder Tom Harrison lived in India where he observed the banyan tree spreading its roots and liked the analogy.

It contains articles, news, a help section and a spotlight on villages.

The local branch meets at St Andrew’s church hall in Ramshill.

Speakers include Christine Hepworth, who will take an imaginary walk down Scarborough high street (31 Oct) and Brian Mulvana, who will talk about the town’s trams (28 Nov).

Meetings begin at 2pm.