London based Society of Genealogists

Tickets are still available on the following Society of Genealogists events taking place in May, further information about each event is listed below.

All events with a chargemust be pre-paid. Events can be booked through our website or by telephone (Tuesday-Thursdays & Saturdays) at the number listed below. Non-members are welcome to attend events, at the full price. All events take place at our premises in London, unless otherwise noted.

Saturday, 7 May   11:00-13:00 – Walk: Historic Spitalfields

Spitalfields is one of the most fascinating areas in the East End. We’ll see evidence of the French Huguenots, and other waves of German, Irish, Jewish, Bengali and Somali immigration. We’ll also explore the fascinating buildings and ancient history of the area.

With Paul Baker  Cost 10.00/8.00  SoG members, Places limited.


Saturday, 7 May  14:00-17:00 – Records of the Poor

This session will provide you with a detailed knowledge in relation to locating and analysing records of poverty and the Poor Laws (mainly in England and Wales in the 19th century). Starting with how to find the records, Kirsty will then guide you through the records available and their use in your ancestral research, with case studies to illustrate how the records can be drawn together to develop ‘the bigger picture’ either on an individual, familial or community level.

A half-day course with Kirsty Gray  Cost  20.00/ 16.00 SoG members


Wednesday, 11 May  14:00 – Births Marriages and Deaths at Sea

Ancestors who were born, married or died at sea can appear to be elusive and difficult to track down. This is not surprising considering the complexity of the legislation covering these events. But there are records available. Many remain as primary source material only; however, an increasing number are being digitised and indexed and so more readily available for research.

A one-hour lecture with Paul Blake, FSG        Cost  8.00/6.40 SoG members


Thursday, 12 May  14:00 – Understanding Civil Registration – A  Registrar’s View

As researchers we look at certificates of Birth, Marriage and Death every day – but do we always interpret them correctly ?  This course, with a former registrar, will look at the complex rules surrounding the registration of these vital events, including declarations, corrections and re-registrations . Using examples it will try to dispel some myths and misunderstandings and show how understanding the process can help decipher complex families and find those elusive missing ancestors.

A one-hour lecture with Antony Marr   Cost  8.00/6.40 SoG members


Saturday, 14 May  10:30-13:00 – Using Mind Mapping for Genealogical Problem Solving

Since Tony Buzan coined the term back in the 1970s, Mind Mapping has grown in popularity, mainly in education and business. Recently Mind Mapping has cropped up as a technique to help genealogists, thanks to the efforts of Ron Arons. This talk recaps how Mind Mapping works, takes a peek at the burgeoning market for Mind Mapping software tools, and looks at using Mind Mapping to help solve tricky genealogical problems.

A half-day course with Geoff Young    Cost  20.00/16.00 SoG members


Saturday, 14 May  14:00-17:00 – In the Family Way: Illegitimacy from Early Records to the Great War and the Sixties

Only a generation or two ago, illegitimacy was one of the most shameful things that could happen in a family. Unmarried mothers were considered immoral, single fathers feckless, and bastard children inherently defective. They were hidden away from friends and relations as guilty secrets, punished by society and denied their place in the family tree.

In the first part of this talk, Michael Gandy will discuss marriage & Illegitimacy up to World War I, and how family historians can better understand the stigma of having an unmarried mother in the family, and avenues of family history research.

In our second talk by Jane Robinson, she will discuss unmarried mothers, absent fathers and orphaned children. It is based on her gripping book, ‘In the Family Way: Illegitimacy Between the Great War and the Swinging Sixties’  about long-buried secrets, family bonds and unlikely heroes.

A half-day course with Michael Gandy, FSG & Jane Robinson  Cost  20.00/16.00 SoG members


Wednesday, 18 May  14:00 – The First Blitz (World War I)

From the outset of World War I the Germans worked on plans to destroy the heart of the

British Empire in a firestorm delivered from the air. Beginning with the first Zeppelin airship

raids of 1915 to the Gotha and Giant bombers that followed. This talk explores the effect

on London, the civilian population and the legacy that remains visible to the present day.

A one-hour lecture with Charlie Mead   Cost  8.00/6.40 SoG members


Saturday, 21 May  10:30-18:00    Society of Genealogists Open Day – with Free Lectures, Library Tours & Advice

Lectures – Starting your Family History Research with Else Churchill, 11:00-12:00

Lecture – Treasures of the Society of Genealogists with Else Churchill, 14:00-15:00                   

Library tours at 12:00, (14:00 fully booked) and 15:00. Tours last for about 90 minutes. They provide a good overview of what the Society holds in its unique collection to help you with your research.

All free of charge, but places must be pre-booked.


Wednesday, 25 May  12:00 – Nursing through Shot and Shell: Medical Women at the Front 

When War was declared in August 1914, many British women demanded the right to serve their nation.  Had Kitchener’s sister called for a million women, recruitment would have been as easy as for her as for her brother.  Many women assumed that Red Cross First Aid and other Proficiency certificates would provide an entrée into the charmed circle of military nursing.  Others believed the War Office would welcome their professional skills as doctors and surgeons and send them on Active Service overseas.  Still others imagined that their birth, breeding and total confidence in their own usefulness to the Allied cause would be as self-evident to the military authorities as to themselves. However, in 1914 the War Office believed that, apart from the small exclusive corps of professional military nurses, in wartime, women should quite simply ‘go home and sit still’.

Using private and public sources of record, this talk brings to life some of the many remarkable women who, by Standing up to the War Office, demonstrated skill, compassion and ingenuity and, through their service on many Fronts, pushed back the boundaries of acceptable female behaviour.

A one-hour lecture with Dr Viv Newman  Cost  8.00/6.40 SoG members


Wednesday, 25 May  14:00 – SoG Special Collections: What has Been Done Before

A one-hour lecture with Else Churchill. Free of charge, but must be pre-booked



Thursday, 26 May   14:00 – My Ancestor was in the Fire Brigade (date changed from 17 February)

Ken will outline Fire Brigade history in the UK, all Record Offices, Repositories Archives and Museums where there is Fire Brigade interest and accessed records, including personal papers where possible. There will be case histories of Firemen, also the Fire Brigades and services in WW1 and WW2, information about Volunteer and Industrial and Works Fire Brigades, Fire Insurance companies who in the early 18th Century ran and organised early Fire Brigades.

Also included will be information on the Fire Brigade Union and the Salvage Corps, uniforms, equipment and medals and honours will also be discussed.

A one-hour lecture with Ken Divall, Cost £8.00/£6.40


Saturday, 28 May  10:30- 13:00   Upstairs, Downstairs: My Ancestor was in Domestic Service

Many of our ancestors worked as domestic servants, some were employed in the “Big House” and some as glorified housekeepers to local artisans and tradesmen. There are no specific sets of records for domestic servants, but it is possible to piece together evidence from various records.

A half-day course with Ian Waller, FSG   Cost  20.00/16.00  SoG members


Saturday, 28 May  14:00-17:00 – Divorced, Bigamist, Bereaved – Marriage Law for Genealogists

It’s very likely that some of your ancestors married more than once over their lifetime. But why precisely? and what can their remarriages tell us? How likely was remarriage after a bereavement, and what social and legal factors affected that decision? Was divorce an easy way out of marriage? If people committed bigamy, what were the likely consequences for all concerned? Drawing on thousands of cases, from the Old Bailey to magistrates’ courts, this talk provides new research findings on the nature and extent of remarriage in past centuries and decades to help family historians interpret their ancestors’ lives

In our second talk, the lecturer will look at how, when and where did people in past centuries marry This talk exposes the mistaken assumptions and folklore which lie behind most accounts of pre-twentieth-century marriage practices, and replaces them with the results of many years of painstaking primary research. Family historians just starting out will find advice on where ‘missing’ marriages are most likely to be found, while those already well advanced in tracing their family tree will be able to interpret their discoveries to better understand their ancestors’ motivations in this most personal and universal of areas, and whether their choices made them exceptional or normal for their day.

A half-day course with Prof Rebecca Probert      Cost  20.00/16.00 SoG members



Kind regards

Lori Weinstein

Events Co-ordinator

Society of Genealogists

14 Charterhouse Buildings

Goswell Road

London EC1M 7BA

Tel: 020 7553 3290

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