THOUSANDS of records held by the Wiltshire Family History Society will be available when it holds an open day in Wilton for the first time on Saturday, June 15.

The records, normally accessible at the society’s resource centre in Devizes, include indexes of births, marriages and deaths in most parishes in the county in the last 400 years, as well as inscriptions on monuments and gravestones, and the names of people who appeared as defendants and witnesses at Quarter Sessions cases.

There will also be two talks – one on understanding census records, from 11am to noon, and one on ways to overcome stumbling blocks in research, from 1pm to 2pm.

Specialist organisations covering Dorset and Hampshire, surname studies and the census will be available, and there will be a free advice desk for beginners.

Society chairman David Weaver said: “It is an open day in every sense, and we welcome anyone with an interest in family or social history to look in to see the wealth of information we have gathered, find out what we are working on, and perhaps take a first step in tracing their own family tree.”

The free event is at Wilton Community Centre in West Street, Wilton from 10am to 3.30pm.

Founded in 1981, Wiltshire Family History Society has a membership of around 2,000 throughout the world. Its aim is to encourage the study of family history, including both Wiltshire ancestry of people worldwide and worldwide ancestry of Wiltshire residents. It also provides opportunities for members to make contact and share information.

The society has seven branches around the county; Salisbury branch meets at Wilton Community Centre on the third Wednesday of each month (except August) at 7.30pm.