Northernmost FamilySearch Centre Opens in Alnwick

by Kenneth Jørgensen

A Family Search Centre

A new FamilySearch Centre has been established in the town of Alnwick, Northumberland, and is the most northerly placed in England.

Alnwick (pronounced A’nick) and its surrounding area is rich in history, being the site of many battles between the English and the Scots, and the Vikings. It is also known for its Harry Potter magic- with Alnwick Castle featuring as Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. History is important in Alnwick, and this is the latest addition to the more than 5,000 FamilySearch centres around the world. They provide resources and support for people to research and study their genealogy and family history, all for free.

The centre opened its doors on the 29th January 2023, and had 17 people in attendance on the first night. People were introduced to the many benefits of the centre, including free access to subscription genealogy websites such as Ancestry, FindMyPast, and MyHeritage, and records that are exclusive to FamilySearch Centres.

In the first month, the centre has seen 50 people attending. While the centre will be staffed by members of the Church, there have already been local people expressing a desire to help staff the facilities.

The centre will be open on Thursdays 6pm-9pm every week, the final Sunday of every month (except for December) from 7pm-9pm, and by private appointment for other times.

Members of the church in the Alnwick area have always had a keen interest in Family History. Members have also helped transcribe the gravestones of Alnwick Cemetery, and these recordings were given to the Northumberland and Durham Family History Society. It is the hope these will one day be searchable via resources like BillionGraves, a record of GPS-tagged headstone and burial records.

More recently, the Alnwick Branch has held monthly Family History Workshops, where local residents also attended, so having the FamilySearch Centre is the natural progression from this.

Members are keen for their meetinghouse to be used on a regular basis. In addition to weekly Sunday worship meetings, they have weekly youth activities, a WarmHub day and now FamilySearch Centre nights.