Local and family history

The Local and Family History section at The Word Library houses a wide range of books, maps, pamphlets and other ephemera, some items dating back to the 18th Century, which record the social, political, maritime and industrial history of South Tyneside and the North East. While many of our items are for reference only we do have some available for loan. Please check our on-line catalogue before your visit to ensure we have items related to you area of interest available.

The South Shields Gazette is available on microfilm from its first edition up to present day. Many of the early years of the Gazette, up until 1916, are also available on the British Newspaper Archive website which is free to use at The Word.

For family historians we have a wide range of materials to help you in your research including parish registers, electoral rolls and local directories. There is also free access to Ancestry.com, Find My Past and South Tyneside’s excellent register of Births, Marriages and Deaths.

We also have a large photographic collection of more than 18,000 images which give a view of South Tyneside’s past: www.southtynesidehistory.co.uk/

Whether your research is for academic, media, project or personal reasons our knowledgeable and friendly staff will happy to answer your queries to help you locate the relevant materials. If there is a specific item you are interested in please call before you visit so that we can have it ready for you.