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Durham County Record Office: the official archive service for County Durham and Darlington

Research service

Information about the archive research service at Durham County Record Office.

About this service

Our research service carries out research using all the sources in Durham County Record Office. It is designed to help people who want to find information but who cannot visit in person, or who have visited the Office but have run out of time.

Although it is free to visit the Record Office and look at the archives yourself, we have to make a charge for any research that we do on your behalf.

Experienced, professional staff will undertake the work, but they can also call upon the expertise of other Record Office staff to provide a service based on an unrivalled knowledge of our holdings.

A professional archivist and expert local historian answers your family history, local history and house history enquiries.

A museum professional with expert knowledge of the Durham Light Infantry regiment answers your military enquiries.

Use this service to check records where access is restricted under Data Protection legislation.

You can also use this service if you need help with searching online sources such as Ancestry, or if you want to book some time to discuss your research with a professional in our search room.

We have to make a charge for this service so that we can sustain our information service to the public in a period of continuing austerity for Durham County Council.

We now offer two options when you ask us to do some research for you:

Quick Search

Our new Quick Search service is designed to cover a brief search for a single entry in a single document in our records.

  • The search is usually limited to a single year (newspaper searches are limited to a single issue).
  • This includes a photocopy or microfilm print of any information we are able to find.
  • The Quick Search and copy charge is £5.00.
  • If the information covers more than one page the charge is £5.00 per page.
  • If you require a certified copy or a high quality digital copy, you can pay an additional £7.00 (total £12.00) to upgrade from a photocopy. 
  • We will only ask for any additional payment after we have confirmed that we have found the correct entry.
  • We will respond to your enquiry by email whenever possible, and provide a copy of any information we find as an email attachment.
  • If we do not find the information in the record you have asked us to search, you still have to pay the initial £5.00 charge to cover our research time.

More about applying for Quick Search.

Research service

Durham County Record Office uses professional researchers who are experts in their field to provide this service. Use this for more lengthy and complex searches.

  • The minimum charge is £32.00 for one hour's research.
  • This includes a report on the records searched plus standard copies of any documents we find, scanned to email.
  • We advise you to start by paying for one hour. In our report of what we have searched we will say if more time is needed to complete the work.
  • There is no obligation to pay for additional research time.
  • We will respond to your enquiry by email whenever possible, and provide copies of any information we find as email attachments.
  • If we do not find the information in the records you have asked us to search, you still have to pay the charge to cover our research time and the report on what we have searched.

Research Service information leaflet

Research Service application form

Apply for Research Service explains how to apply.

Here are details of how to contact us and how to pay.

If you are not sure which service to use please contact us for advice.