RESIDENTS can delve deeper into their family history with Hampshire County Council ’s vast collection of archives.

Hampshire Record Office, in Winchester, offers a huge variety of sources. It holds the equivalent of eight miles of documents including old maps, parchment rolls, photographs, street directories and newspapers, spanning nearly 1,000 years.

The record office will be holding Family History for Beginners sessions, to help people uncover their family trees. Although historical sources such as census data and birth, death and marriage certificates can help with the start of research, it is only original sources found within archives that can really paint a picture of ancestors’ lives.

At Hampshire Archives and Local Studies, researchers can discover where a family lived, worked and what they achieved. Using old maps, it is possible to see whether or not a home was once a business, shop, post office or pub, and this can lead to other records such as plans, sale particulars, directories, electoral registers, photographs, wills and inventories.

Professions can also be traced using the archives, so if someone was a teacher, they might appear in school log books, or a policeman could be found within Hampshire Constabulary records.

For those without a job, who may have faced financial hardship in the Victorian era, there was the Poor Law Union and the workhouse. Families with a military background may find information in rolls of honour, official regimental histories and army lists – all held at the Record Office.

To find out more about the history of your family, come along to the regular Family History for Beginners sessions. To book a place call 01962 846154 or visit ives. Sessions are planned for Tuesday, October 16, between 6pm and 8pm and on Thursday, November 8, 2012, between 2pm and 4pm.