The Weardale Museum


Hotts, Ireshopeburn, Bishop Auckland, DL13 1HD

01388 517433

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Letters from Emigrant Families.

Information about the resources for which we hold data

A unique and powerful family history resource  


containing over 60,000 individuals, from some 300 Weardale families,


whose relationships can be displayed as ancestor charts or descendant trees.

Genealogy Database Census Records Memorial Inscriptions Parish Registers Stanhope Burials Tithe Records Old Maps School Admissions War Records & Memorials Wills and Deeds Letters from Emigrants Photographs & Postcards Genealogies Links to other sites Research from a Distance Back to Family History

Contacts for our genealogy support:

Ken Heatherington



[email protected]


Ken takes the lead on developing the Weardale Museum resources.



Eric Draper



[email protected]


Eric provides research for the Weardale resources and additionally will help people with family history enquiries not related to Weardale.



David Heatherington (01388)517433)



[email protected]


David curates the Museum but is available to support family history enquiries.

Donate with a Gift Aid Form

Throughout the 19th century large numbers of Weardale inhabitants were forced to move to seek employment elsewhere, and many adventurous families chose to emigrate. When this happened, letters would be exchanged between the émigrés and those they left behind, and such letters often paint a very vivid picture of life and conditions here or abroad. We have collected together several series of such letters, of which the following are a selection:


Dent family letters from Australia and from USA


Fenwick family letters from USA


Graham family letters to USA


Nattrass family letters to Canada


Ridley family letters from Australia


Robinson family letters from South Africa


Vickers family letters to USA


Watson family letters to and from USA, Australia and South Africa


The letters naturally enough give news of the close family members, but very often also mention friends, neighbours and the wider community.

Newspaper Cuttings Weardale Museum has a growing collection of emigrant's letters