This guide gives a summary of records on microfilm and microfiche that are especially useful for family historians interested in County Durham. Where alternative online access is available this is shown.
Until recently all Church of England parish registers held in the Record Office were filmed on arrival and the microfilms added to the M42/ sequence. Church registers are now digitised. Search church registers to see what registers we keep and whether they have been indexed.
Nonconformist church registers
Previously all registers in this category were filmed on arrival and the microfilms added to the M5/ sequence. Church registers are now digitised. Search church registers to see what registers we keep and whether they have been indexed.
Durham Record Office holds microfilms of the 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 censuses for the historic County of Durham. They are kept in the M27/ , M3/ , M9/ , M18/ , M54/ , M76/ and M81/ sequences respectively. Finding aids (including street indexes) are available, including microfiche indexes to the 1881 census for Durham, Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland and Yorkshire.
These records have been superseded by online access to the census on popular family history websites such as Ancestry, which you can access free in all County Durham libraries.
All the bound newspapers in the Record Office are available on microfilm:
Auckland Chronicle (1868 – 1970) M61/1-155
Auckland Mercury (1875 – 1878) M71/1-3
Auckland Times (1862 – 1910) M60/1-18
Auckland Chronicle – Aycliffe edition (1964 – 1970) M61/217-227
Bishop Auckland Herald (1854 – 1856) M56/1
Blaydon Courier (1947 – 1963) M75/1-10
Consett Chronicle (1923 – 1969) M61/53-77, 103-106, 115-215
Consett Guardian (1937 – 1970) M72/1-23, M61/213-217
Durham Advertiser (1814 – 1985) M1/1-156
Durham Chronicle (1820 – 1970) M57/1-117
Peterlee Chronicle (1969 – 1970) M57/151-153
Seaham Weekly News (1938 – 1969) M57/118-151
South Durham & Cleveland Mercury (1870 – 1906) M73/1-26
South Durham Herald (1868) M63/1
Spennymoor Times (1875 – 1878) M61/1-3
Stanley News (1914 – 1970) M61/33-90, 102-185
Washington Chronicle (1968 – 1970) M57/112-118
Hearth Tax returns
These copies of records held in The National Archives cover 1663-1666 and 1674, and give the names of individuals with chargeable and non-chargeable hearths and the numbers of hearths. Some of the records are damaged and some are illegible. The microfilms are numbered M6/1-2. A Beta version of Hearth Tax Digital is now available online.
All the registers from 1833 to 2002 have been filmed and are available in the M67/ sequence. Electors in 1994 are listed by name on microfiche M86/3.
Obituaries of prominent Durham City inhabitants (and some others of importance in the county) appeared in the Durham Directory from 1856 to 1916. The obituaries have been brought together on film with an index. The microfilm is numbered M29/1. Search the catalogue to view the index (type ‘index to obituaries’ in the search box).
Quarter Sessions order books
The order books are the formal registers of proceedings at Quarter Sessions and, on microfilm, cover the period from 1616 to 1883. From the late 18th century some volumes contain indexes. The microfilms are numbered M7/1-20. The rough (or draft) order books have also been microfilmed for the period 1735 – 1854 and are numbered M7/39-45.
Land Tax assessments
Duplicate copies of the annual Land Tax assessments deposited with the Clerk of the Peace served as a register of parliamentary electors. The assessments give the names of owners and occupiers of land, and the tax payable, and cover the period 1759-1831 (with gaps). The microfilm numbers are M7/20-33.
Quarter Sessions indictment rolls
Indictments were the first stage in the process by which individuals were brought to trial at Quarter Sessions. The rolls list the accused’s name and the charge (sometimes with a note of the plea). Those for the period 1596-1823 (with gaps) have been microfilmed and are numbered M7/34-37.
Other Quarter Sessions records
- Process books (memoranda of presentments, indictments and information listing the name, residence and occupation of those indicted and the charge) for 1619-1778 (with gaps) are filmed on M7/38.
- Abstracts of orders (printed orders of public interest) for 1823-1883 are microfilmed on M7/38.
- Militia family relief payments (papers giving details of men serving in the militia, and their families) for 1807 – 1811 are on M7/38.
- Returns of Roman Catholic Chapels and priests and nonconformist meeting houses for 1791-1854 are on microfilm M7/39.
- Returns of farmers near the coast, 1796, are on microfilm M7/39.
- Registers of Roman Catholic estates (giving details of the estates, tenants, rents, tithes, etc.), 1717-1782, are on M7/46-49.
International Genealogical Index (IGI)
The IGI produced by the Mormon Church, previously available on microfiche (1992 edition for the counties of Durham, Northumberland, Yorkshire, Cumberland and Westmorland, also the complete United Kingdom index for 1984) has been replaced by the FamilySearch website.
Boyd’s Marriage Index
Boyd’s index to marriages in Durham parishes,1538 – 1837, previously available on microfiche, is now available on the FamilySearch website.
Index to wills and administrations
A microfilm copy of the indexes to registers of wills and administrations of the Consistory Court of Durham is numbered M65/1-3.
In our library there are a few printed indexes to wills proved at Durham: 1787-1797 (491); 1798-1800 (582); 1801-1803 (600)
All resources are superseded by the North East Inheritance database (pre-1858 Durham Probate Records).
Crematorium and cemetery registers
Until recently all registers in this category were filmed on arrival at the Record Office and the microfilms were added to the M78/ sequence, which also contains films of some registers not held in the Record Office. Registers are now digitised. See a list of monumental inscriptions, cemetery and crematorium registers.
Durham Light Infantry records
Some battalion war diaries and all post-1920 enlistment and discharge books are microfilmed under reference numbers beginning M83/. (Printed copies of many other DLI war diaries can be found in our library catalogue.) Search the catalogue for further details (type ‘enlistment and discharge books’ or ‘war diary’). A more detailed list of these films can be found in the Microfilm Room.
1st Battalion DLI
War diaries 1943-1946, 1952-1953 – M83/1
Record of service 1756-1916 – M83/2
Digest of service 1901-1939, 1950-1969 – M83/2
2nd Battalion DLI
War diaries 1914-1916 – M83/2
War diaries 1917-1919, 1940 – M83/3
War diary 1927 – M83/4
War diaries 1939-1945 – Library W7, W8, W9, W11, W12
Digest of service and historical record 1839-1939 – M83/3
Report on burial places of officers 1914-1916 – M83/3
Description of Second Battle of The Somme 1918 – M83/3
6th Battalion DLI
War diaries 1914-1918 – Library W1
War diaries 1915-1918, 1939-1944 – Library W13, W14, W23
War diaries May 1942 – Aug 1943 – M83/3-4
Digest of service 1958-1968 – M83/4
7th Battalion DLI
War diaries 1914-1919 – Library W1
War diaries 1915-1918, 1938 – M83/4
8th Battalion DLI
War diaries 1939-1946 – M83/4-5
9th Battalion DLI
War diaries 1915-1919, 1944 – M83/5
War diary 1914-1916, 1918 – Library W1
War diaries 1939-1945 – Library W10, W15-W22
Maps of Cherisy 1917 – M83/5
11th Battalion DLI
War diary 1914-1919 – Library W2
12th Battalion DLI
War diaries 1915-1919 – Library W3
13th Battalion DLI
War diaries 1915-1919 – M83/5
15th Battalion DLI
War diaries 1915-1918 – Library W4
16th Battalion DLI
War diaries 1943-1945 – Library W10
18th Battalion DLI
War diaries 1915-1919 – Library W5
19th Battalion DLI
War diaries 1916-1919 – Library W5
20th Battalion DLI
War diaries 1915-1920 – Library W5, W24
Battalion history 1915-1918 – M83/6
22nd Battalion DLI
War diary 1916-1917 – Library W6
25th Battalion DLI
War diary 1917 – Library W6
29th Battalion DLI
War diary 1918-1919 – Library W6
DLI Enlistment Books
Renumbering of existing soldiers, enlisted 1899-1921 – M83/7-8
New enlistments 1921-1942, 1946-1947 – M83/8-16
30th Home Defence Battalion 1939-1942 – M83/16
Enlistments and General Service Corps 1939-1945 – M83/16-18
Royal Artillery Searchlight Personnel 1939-1945 – M83/18
Deaths 1920-1930 – M83/18
Desertions and discharges 1920-1930 – M83/18
Discharges 1921-1958 – M83/18-20
The Hue and Cry or Police Gazette was a regular national newspaper listing wanted men and military deserters. Copies for 1811-1856 are in the film sequence M84/.
There is a searchable index on the Findmypast website.
1851 census of religious worship
The returns from all places of worship in County Durham are on film sequence M39/.
You can now view the Religious Worship Census of 1851 online.
Northumberland marriage index
Microfiche series M86/4/1-22 contains the Northumberland marriage index 1813-1837.
Return to the list of information guides.