TWO family history organisations are merging.

Keighley Family History Society and its Wharfedale counterpart will meet as one body for the first time next month.

The new-look group will have three branches - Keighley, Burley-in-Wharfedale and Threshfield.

"The two organisations - which have both been in existence since the 1980s - have had overlapping areas of interest," said spokesman Stanley Merridew.

"The new society will take in Wharfedale, Airedale, the Forest of Bowland and all towns and villages to the borders of Lancashire and Cumbria.

"Its list of publications will number close to 500 and encompass parish registers and memorial inscriptions - valuable aids for anyone in search of their roots.

"The aims of the Airedale and Wharfedale Family History Society - as it will be known from January 1 - are to provide lively and informative monthly meetings, attract new members, offer assistance to those new to the hobby and provide research aids, particularly those less obvious and less likely to be available on the major websites.

"Although a lot of family history research can be carried out on the internet, due to the complexities of the records it is very easy to come to a standstill or end up in the wrong tree!

"Local knowledge of available resources can supply invaluable aid to the researcher at a much lower cost and with more-accurate results."

A website for the new society is already up and running, at

It includes details of publications, databases and meetings, plus articles and news.

The first meeting takes place at the Salem Hall, Burley-in-Wharfedale, on Thursday, January 3, at 7.30pm.

It will take the form of a research evening.

"This will be an ideal opportunity for visitors and new members to come along and meet the team," said Mr Merridew.

It will be followed on January 7 with a talk at Keighley Local Studies Library, also at 7.30pm. Bob Schofield will speak on The Chapel Community at Scartop (Stanbury).