Advisors & Helpdesks

Mick Dumbleton helping at the Oxfordshire History Centre
Wendy Archer

OFHS is presently running its help desk sessions at various libraries and the Oxfordshire History Centre (OHC), Temple Road, Cowley.

How Can We Help?

All the advisors have years of experience researching their own families. They can offer free help with either starting your family history or unblocking the brick walls in your research. They are not limited to advising on the county records but can generally advise wherever your ancestors come from. However, whilst English and Welsh families are relatively easy to trace with the resources available to the advisors some other countries like Scotland & Ireland can be more difficult, but not impossible. When an advisor is unable to help they may know somebody who can advise you.

As well as the main family history sites, e.g. Ancestry; Findmypast; FamilySearch and the Birth Marriage & Death indexes for England & Wales held by the General Register Office (GRO) etc., the advisors also have access to a USB device containing OFHS’s own search suite and copies of our parish transcripts; Monumental Inscription CDs and Quarter Session CDs which they can search.

Be Prepared

When visiting an advisor for the first time it is advisable that you bring as much information as you can.

  • If you are starting out then it is best to talk to your family beforehand and note down any names, places and dates that they mention. Basically the more information you can bring the better.  You may find it useful to download and start completing the Pedigree chart below.Notes on completing the pedigree chart:
    1. In position 1 enter your own details.
    2. In position 2 enter the details of your father.
    3. In position 3 enter the details of your mother.
    4. In position 4 enter the details of your father’s father.
    5. In position 5 enter the details of your father’s mother
    6. In position 6 enter the details of your mother’s father.
    7. In position 7 enter the details of your mother’s mother.
    8. Continue working backwards males go in the even number slots and females in the odd slots.
    9. If you know any siblings record them on a seperate sheet, number them x.1; x.2 etc.  where x is the person on the sheet and .1; .2 etc, e.g. your father’s brother would be 2.1 and your mother’s father’s brother woud be 6.1.
  • If you are looking for help breaking a brick wall down then please bring details of all your existing research including any areas you’ve looked at and been unable to find anything.

NOTE: We are a Family History Society and as such cannot help track down living relatives.

On return visits at the smaller libraries you are likely to see the same advisor whereas at the bigger libraries and at the OHC you may see a different advisor.

Any information you provide to an advisor will be treated in confidence.

Oxfordshire History Centre

At the OHC we offer drop-in sessions on every Tuesday and the first open Saturday of the month between 10:00 to 16:00. There is no requirement to book. However, if you are travelling specifically to talk to an OFHS advisor, it is best to ring the OHC ( 01865 398200 ) after 10 o’clock on the day to check that an advisor is present. The drop-in sessions run on a first come first served basis and have no set time limit. However, if people are waiting, the advisor will have to limit the time they spend with you and if they are already busy you may have to wait.

To check opening times, contact details and any planned closures visit the OHC’s website.

Library Sessions

Please note the normal days, listed in the table, are subject to change due to availability of the advisor(s) the relevant library should be able to let you know of any planned changes. It is also advisable when booking to provide a telephone number so the library can contact you on in case of any last minute changes.

LocationNormal DaysTelephoneWebsite
AbingdonFourth Saturday
13:00 – 16:00
01235 520374Abingdon Library
BanburyFirst and second Tuesdays

09:00 – 12:00

01295 262282Banbury Library
CartertonFirst and third Tuesdays
10:00 – 13:00
01993 841492Carterton Library
DidcotFourth Tuesday
14:00 – 19:00
01235 813103Didcot Library
Hook NortonFirst Wednesday
14:00 – 15:30
01608 737793Hook Norton Library
KidlingtonSecond Tuesdays
09:45 – 12:30
01865 373067Kidlington Library
WallingfordFourth Thursday
13:15 – 19:30
01491 837395Wallingford Library
WatlingtonThird Thursday
01491 612241Watlington Library
WychwoodFirst Wednesday
10:30 to 12:30
01993 830281Wychwood Library



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