Catherine Ryan


Catherine Ryan

Local and family historian

  • Buildings/Locations research, Communities research, Individuals/Families research
  • Barnard Castle, County Durham
  • Updated 3 months ago


I grew up in a home where family stories were often told.  As I grew older it seemed natural to start researching my family history.  My interest and desire to learn led me to read widely on the subject and to joining societies, both locally and nationally.

The chance to obtain formal qualifications happened when I took early retirement from my teaching career.  The MLitt degree from Dundee University was both rewarding and gave a thorough grounding in genealogy and local history.  I continue to attend training days and study online courses, as I know that there is always more to learn.

My particular specialism is in the counties of North Yorkshire and County Durham. The borderlands of County Durham and North Yorkshire can be a tricky area to research because of boundary changes over time.  In the past people regularly moved where they lived in the North Pennines.  As a result their records can be very hard to find.

My researches online have included records throughout the UK and other English-speaking countries.  I regularly visit North Yorkshire and Durham County Record Offices, so can either transcribe or obtain a copy of a particular document

I analysed the value to family and local historians of the North Riding Registry of Deeds for my Masters degree dissertation. As a result of this research I developed skills in researching house histories.  I often transcribe old wills, which with surviving deeds can show links between families.  These relationships can be otherwise hard to prove in the days before Census records are available.

I write articles on my research for publication and give talks to local history societies.



  • Ancestral tourism
  • Genealogy
  • Local History
  • North Yorkshire County Durham and Cumbria
  • Property History
  • Transcription and Interpretation of Old Documents


  • June 2019
    MLitt Family and Local History at University of Dundee
  • June 1992
    PGCE at Charlotte Mason College


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