PLEASE NOTE that because of the current Covid-19 virus, we have cancelled the branch meetings at Hartlepool and Sedgefield. Other events advertised on these pages may or may not go ahead and are not the responsibility of Cleveland Family History Society.
Meanwhile, there is a lot to look at on this website, documents can still be ordered online and we are happy to help you through our contact page if we can. There are free online resources to browse, just click RESOURCES tab. Our two branch websites also have contact pages and are linked where highlighted further down this page.
Our SURNAME DATABASE page is looking popular, so please contact us if you would like your interests adding. This can be done quickly if an electronic form is used.
Stay safe and happy researching in this difficult time.
We came upon a little tale in an old journal which tells of the impact a pandemic illness had on our ancestors. It goes like this:
He tried to persuade Margaret, Thomas’ sister in law, ‘not to venture herself so to go to her said sister and brother in law, but she answered she would go to them, live or die …’
Joan Hopwood, now aged 60 and a widow, of Vernham Dean where she had lived for 35 years, and a native of Henley in Wiltshire, said that Thomas died of the plague and that her own husband, Richard, also died of the plague about 10 days after him’.
[Sadly, there was a dispute about the will of poor Thomas Snell and the cause was tried in the Consistory Court of Winchester. The above information came from the depositions].
Further research reveals that in the 1665 plague, the villagers of Vernham Dean isolated themselves and the local pastor promised he would bring them food. However his courage failed and he escaped, only dying of the disease elsewhere. The villagers today say his soul still haunts the road into the village as he seeks forgiveness.
Welcome to the Cleveland, North Yorkshire and South Durham Family History Society as it is more formally known. The title was designed to describe more accurately the area of genealogical and historical interest covered by the Society. The name Cleveland originated from an ancient district which lay entirely to the south of the River Tees and stretched as far south as Whitby on the north-east coast of England.
The name ‘Cleveland’ was adopted for a new county which survived for only 22 years from 1974-1996, having been created from its predecessor, Teesside and also taking in Hartlepool. The total area of genealogical interest is substantially larger than this County of Cleveland from which the Society originally took its name. However, we simply use Cleveland FHS
Over the last 170+ years the area along the banks of the River Tees which forms the boundary between County Durham and the old North Riding of Yorkshire has been famous for its abundant agricultural products, the production of iron and steel, shipbuilding and more recently, petro chemical industries. Sadly some of these no longer exist or are in decline. Prior to the discovery of ironstone in the 1840s, the population was mainly involved in rural occupations with boat building and fishing on the coast.
Your visit to our website suggests that you may be researching your family history in the Cleveland FHS area and that you are seeking help in finding your long lost ancestors. Have you been knocking on the doors of stately homes looking for rich ancestors, or shouting down a mine hoping to hear a reply from one of your mining great grandfathers, or standing on a hill looking for a farm? Whatever lifestyle, occupation, or abode your ancestors had you may need assistance and advice to help trace them.
Cleveland FHS was set up in 1980 to provide a service for family historians which covers the old county of Cleveland and the following areas of County Durham and North Yorkshire:-
County Durham – all parishes south of a line from Hart on the east coast to Middleton in Teesdale
North Yorkshire – most of the old North Riding from Whitby to Hawes.
What help can we offer you:-
The Aims of the Society are to promote the study of genealogy and family history and to educate the public therein by holding meetings, sharing information, encouraging research, giving assistance and producing publications for the public benefit.
The Society continues to serve its members by offering a range of services including a quarterly journal, transcriptions of parish registers and other publications. Details of these can be found in different sections of this website.
Monthly branch meetings are held at Hartlepool and Sedgefield where everyone, members and non-members alike, are very welcome to attend free of charge. Usually an invited guest will give an informative talk with a family history theme, with the opportunity to ask questions. Afterwards there is always time for a chat with other like minded persons. See the Society Notices section for more details.
The main website features include:-
News & Events – Keep up to date with the latest announcements.
Society Meetings – Venues, dates and times.
Membership – Join Cleveland FHS or renew your membership.
E-Shop – See full range of publications to buy online.
Surname Database – Search the database to see names being researched by others.
Burial Database – Have a search carried out for burials within the Cleveland FHS area.
Parishes – List of parishes within the Cleveland FHS area.
Know Your Parish – places that have been researched by members and submitted for publication in journals, which may provide useful snippets to find the information you are looking for.
Hearth Tax Assessments, Durham (members only) – lists of those assessed for Hearth Tax in the Co Durham area.
Useful Links – Links to other websites useful to genealogists.
Search – Search the website for specific names or words.
Contacts – The “Officers” of the society to contact when submitting articles for publication or to help resolve problems.
It is hoped that you will find friendships within the Cleveland FHS, the facilities provided useful, and that you are able to enjoy the search for your ancestors, but remember that nobody ever said genealogy was easy. When you come up against that ‘brick wall’ as no doubt you will, keep beavering away and with the help of Cleveland FHS it will surely fall. Every now and again a Eureka moment will come along as you find another missing piece of the jigsaw that is your family tree
Cleveland FHS is a member of the Family History Federation www.familyhistoryfederation.com