Who Do You Think You Are ? Live 2015

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Eneclann’s Brian Donovan said:

“It’s a great venue, and a lovely city. I can also safely say that the event was at least as good as the previous years’ experiences in London. There were as many people as last year in Olympia, and while there were slightly less vendors the overall event was a showcase of how it should be done. Part of this is down to the organisers who are very professional, attract key attractions for attendees and publicise the event widely months in advance. But a large part of the success is down to the excellent management by the Society of Genealogists. Not only do the SOG provide flawless organisation, but manage an inclusive programme of society vendors, experts from across the field, and relevant workshops that seek to get the best from all participants.

 

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A long queue formed outside as the exhibitors got ready for the event to unfold

 

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Eneclann publications manager Paul Manzor

Unfortunately there were very few exhibitors from Ireland this year. Eneclann, the General Register Office of Northern Ireland and the North of Ireland Family History Society were the only ones, and were joined by the London based Irish Genealogical Research Society. As I’m sure we can all confirm the appetite for Irish family history is as strong as ever, so hopefully some of our colleagues in the Irish cultural institutions, societies and vendors will join us next year?.

There were several lectures delivered on Irish family history, by our own Fiona Fitzsimons, myself, Dr. Jim Ryan, Maeve Mullin, and Maggie Loughran. All were well attended with enthusiastic participants. I delivered an additional talk at the Findmypast stand which was packed to capacity

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Brian delivers a very popular talk at the Findmypast stand

 

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The biggest story at the show is the imminent release of the 1939 Register for Britain. This important survey was carried  out at the start of WW2 and is much like a census, recording detailed information for everyone in the country. The information was required to allocate resources, especially ration cards. Findmypast is digitising this massive collection with the National Archives (Kew) and expect to release it this summer. To celebrate Findmypast created a 1939 Tea-room in vintage style serving sandwiches, pastries and traditional British fare (thankfully not war-time rations!). It was a brilliant addition to the event

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The Findmypast 1939 inspired tearooms were very popular

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Findmypast’s usual flair and style is a welcome addition to the event. They along with the other commercial vendors have transformed the way people engage with the often arcane world of genealogy. There was a real hub of discussion among all the players in this space as we seek to attract a bigger audience and make it easier for the novice to get started.

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Other important developments at the show included the continued growth of the DNA lecture strand and the number  of exhibits in this space. The pace of development is truly astonishing, especially by market leader Family Tree DNA, but the event also saw the launch of the new Ancestry DNA product. The challenge here, as with all family history products and services, is connecting newcomers to this hobby easily and without the need for specialist knowledge of esoteric terminology.

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Eneclann research expert Fiona Fitzsimons helps attendees break down their brick walls at last.

Eneclann and our partners in Findmypast had strong attendances throughout the three days of the show. It was great to catch up with our colleagues across the community, but especially heartening to see so many new people at the show. Maybe that was because we were in Birmingham rather than London, or maybe its because the numbers wanting to make that journey into their personal history continues to grow. I suspect it’s both. If you were there too, I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did”

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Paul Manzor searches for information on the census for a very lost attendee


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