Family/Local History Enquiry?

If you have a question about your ancestors Stockton Reference Library’s team may be able to help you with your family history, or with your questions about the local area.

The Reference Library can provide free access to family history websites including Ancestry and Find My Past. We also hold church records for Stockton and the surrounding area, historical maps, local trade directories and electoral registers.

If you’re looking for a newspaper article – we have local newspapers as far back as 1855 which can be viewed on microfilm in our Family History Suite.

We provide one to one help sessions and also a free introductory family history course to help with your research.

Please visit the Reference Library within Stockton Central Library or contact us on 01642 528079 or email:

445 thoughts on “Family/Local History Enquiry?

  1. John ‘Jacky’ Lenham (137620) served in WW1 with Machine Gun Corps and was promoted to Sgt. In WW2 he was Rgt Sgt Major with 8th Bn, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers. In 1940 he was promoted to Lieutenant (QM). In 1941 he was transferred to the Reconnaissance Corps.
    Where and when was he born? Was it 1893 in Stockton? Is he related to the Lenham family in Stockton?


  2. I would like to find a photo of my Dad Geoffrey Shaw who worked at Shaw’s cast steel foundry Middlesbrough and in the war commanded 608 squadron at Thornaby and my Godfather another Yorkshire man who commanded before him but then transferred to 609 at Yeadon aerodrome. They were both too old for flying Spitfires in the Battle of Britain but both joined the Auxiliary Airforce together when it was formed in 1924.

    Come WW2, Dad was awarded the DFC for some engagement over the N.Sea in an Anson, did time in the War office in London and then hunted U-boats in the Med with US Catalina aircraft. Godfather Geoffrey was given the “air security of Scotland “ by Churchill’s Air Minister Viscount Thurso, with no resources at all. He badgered the chain home radar people to extend coverage from coastal aerodromes in Norway to the Fleet anchorage in Scapa Flow and surveyed Spitfire landing sites midway between. He became Commandant of the Observer Corps and organised their effectiveness against low flying intruders and had regular contact with the Shetland Bus Co who smuggled agents in/out of Norway gathering Intelligence. When the Battle of Britain was won he got hold of spitfires flying the first from Eastleigh Southampton himself with the instruction book on his knee, worked out tactics against the Condor spy planes and taught his first pick pilot himself. He transferred to the RAF, did a stint at Bentley Priory and finished as an Air vice marshall.
    I think one or both were present when the king inspected 608 at Thornaby Many thanks if you can turn something up about that occasion.


    • Hello

      I have a couple of photos of Thornaby RAF Station taken in the late 1930s, one shows King George VI alighting from an aeroplane on his visit to RAF Thornaby, the other shows an aircrew.

      I have uploaded them to this location:-!Ajpj0BgkXQUQgzw9CkphA4CobzcQ?e=gXaf8H

      Feel free to download them.

      I have a few other photos of aircraft at the base during the 1930s.

      I also have a photo of the Shetland Bus Memorial in Alesund Norway, I took this in 2008 whilst visiting Norway. I am quite proud of this shot as it is one of very few that I have taken that was a competition winner.

      My Grandfather joined the fledgling RAF in 1924 and was discharged in 1937 and immediately re- joined and served through the war until his final discharge in 1945.

      I can be contacted at


  3. My great grandfather James Arthur Shaw was buried in Oxbridge cemetery Stockton-on-Tees in or around December 1953 – any idea how I find his plot?


  4. I am researching my family history and I believe my Great Grandmother attended the people’s mission in Thornaby and possibly the missions sisterhood in the 1960’s /early 1970’s. Her name was Elizabeth (Betty) Bainbridge formally Wright and I believe she may have attended with her sister in law Dolly Wright / Bainbridge or Edie Wright/Bainbridge. I would be extremely grateful for any information you could provide.
    Kind regards.


    • Ancestry UK – Peter Gales Family Tree – Member: JanetGibson50

      Elizabeth Jane Wright
      born 03 Jun 1897 – died 3 May 1989 [Abbey Wood, Whinney Hill, Stockton on Tees]
      Percy Lancelot Bainbridge – married 1915
      born 17 Jun 1891 [Thornaby]
      died 25 Aug 1969 [Abbey Wood, Whinney Hill, Stockton-on-Tees]
      Dorothy Dennison – Dolly ?
      born 10 Mar 1887 [Stockton-on-Tees]
      died 06 Feb 1967 [35 Millbank Lane, Thornaby on Tees]
      William Alfred Bainbridge – married 1905
      born 22 Jan 1885 [Thornaby]
      died 25 Aug 1955 [Stockton & Thornaby Hospital, Stockton on Tees]

      1911 Census
      Father – George Wright b1865 [occupation – Waggon wright]
      Mother – Hannah Wright b1865
      Susanna Morgon Wright b1895
      Elizabeth Jane Wright
      Edith Wright b1901
      George Edward Wright b1903
      Millie Wright b1905


    • Hello Christine, thank you for your enquiry. Unfortunately the Reference Library doesn’t hold any records for the People’s Mission, therefore we are unable to help you with this. You could contact North Yorkshire Record Office or Teesside Archives who may have some information.


    • Hello Christine. I was interested to see your post about your great grandmother attending the People’s Mission in Thornaby. Dolly Wright was my aunt – me and my siblings lived with her and uncle George from 1963. Edie was Elizabeths sister and there was also Millie.
      I have many fond memories of going to the Mission with Auntie Dolly on a Sunday and in school holidays during the week when the Sisterhood met. I also used to visit Lizzie – as she was known to us – at her little farm in Whinney Hill. Her husband was called Percy as was their son. I also remember a lady called Maureen but was never sure what relation she was to Lizzie. Hope this is of interest to you.

      Christine Mothersdale


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