The Society of Genealogists is hosting two major events in the same location next Friday and Saturday: April 29 will see classes under the title of "A Taste of Family History" while April 30 will be the traditional Annual Family History Show. This Saturday event is considered the premier genealogy gathering for family historians of the United Kingdom. It is by far the largest genealogy conference I have ever attended. Whether you're just getting started or have been researching for decades, you'll find lectures on diverse subjects of interest. In addition, this year Dr Nick Barrett from the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? will be on-hand with a team of experts.
At 11:30 AM on Friday, "A Taste of Family History" kicks off a day of instructional sessions that includes the following classes:
- Where do I begin?
- Scottish Family History
- Births, Marriages & Deaths
- Irish Family History
- Census Records
- 10 Useful Websites
- Church Records
- Newspapers & Directories
The Society's web site does not mention if any space is still available in Friday's classes. If you are interested in attending the Friday events, I would suggest first calling the Society at 020 7553 3290 to verify that seats are still available. Even if available today, I suspect they will sell out soon.
Saturday will be quite a change of pace, featuring the Annual Family History Show in its traditional format. The Saturday event starts at 10:00 AM and includes a FREE beginners lecture; an advice centre; computer software demonstrations; and a wide range of exhibitors including family history societies, booksellers, and local record offices and repositories. Seminars will be presented on the following topics:
- Welcome to Family History (a FREE seminar)
- My Ancestors Lived in London
- First Steps at Kew
- Parish Registers
- 10 Useful Websites
- Using Software Packages - Family Historian
- Censuses on Computer
- My Ancestors were Scottish
- Getting the most from the FRC
- My Ancestors were in the Army
- Using Software Packages - The Master Genealogist
- Births, Marriages & Deaths Online
- My Ancestors were in the Merchant Navy
- The Society of Genealogists and its Library
- Workshop for Young People
- Using Software Packages - Family Tree Maker
- I'm Stuck
- Illegitimate Ancestors
- Introducing One Name Studies. (This lecture is FREE, but you will need to book a ticket.)
- My Ancestors were Gypsies
- Using Software Packages - Personal Ancestral File
- Beyond Google
- Wills for Family History
- LDS Resources Online
- My Ancestors were Non-Conformists
- Using Software Packages - RootsMagic
Unless listed otherwise, tickets for all lectures are available for £2.50 each.
The Annual Family History Show has been two days long in the past but is being compressed into one day this year: Saturday, April 30. A large vendor hall will be the center focus of Saturday's event, featuring societies and commercial vendors from all over the world. Societies that will be represented and, based on 2004, may include Norfolk Family History Society, Anglo-Italian, Catholic Family History Society, Birmingham & Midland Family History Society, and Families in British India. Participants will find representatives of the National Maritime Museum, House of Lords Record Office, Family Records Centre, and Heritage Royal Mail. There will be several well-known vendors and service providers, including Family History Magazine, Ancestry.co.uk, and Phillimore. In fact, the entire event is in association with 1837online.com.
The show events planned for Saturday are very popular, typically attracting 4,000 attendees or more in recent years (when the show was Saturday and Sunday). The conference is being held again this year at the same location as in recent years:
Royal Horticultural Society
New Hall and Conference Centre
Westminster, London SW1
This location is within a ten-minute walk from Victoria Station, Pimlico Station, and St. James Park Station. Ample car park space is also available within a short distance. A map of the location is available on the Society of Genealogists' web site as well as at http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Greycoat+Street,+Westminster,+London,+England&hl=en. The Google maps allow you to zoom in and out as needed to locate the exhibit hall.
Advance tickets have been available at a discount although I suspect it is now a bit late to obtain those. However, the entrance fee for Saturday's event is a modest £8 per day when purchased at the door, £10 for both days.
This is a major event that attracts several thousand attendees every year. I have attended it three times and have loved it. If you can be in London on April 29 and/or 30, you will not want to miss this show!
For additional information, please see Society of Genealogist's web site at http://www.sog.org.uk/events/fair.html