Society of Genealogists Events

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There are still places on the following Society of Genealogists events taking place in February, further information about each event is listed below. If booking online, SoG members should remember to log in first, in order to receive the member discount. Non-members are welcome to attend events, at the full price. Events can also be booked by telephone during normal open hours, at the number listed below. All events take place at our premises in London, unless otherwise noted.

The visit to the Thames Police Museum, and Jayne Shrimpton’s workshop are booked out.

 anyone interested to book early to avoid disappointment.


Wednesday, 3 February 12:00 – Lunchtime Lecture – Surname Searching: Society of Genealogists Pedigrees Online.

With so many people tracing their family history it’s quite possible something may already have been published on the family you are interested in or a cousin may also be working on the line. Find out if anyone else is or has been researching the same family as you by looking at SoG online sources.

A 30-minute lecture with Else Churchill, Free but must be pre-booked

Wednesday, 3 February 14:00 – Genealogy Apps for Family Historians

Tablets are becoming the research aid of the 21st century. The talk will look at how they can be used for family history research including many of the apps that exist. Whilst the lecture is based on the lecturers experience with the iPad the techniques should be of benefit to others

A one-hour lecture with John Hanson, FSG, Cost 8.00/6.40

Saturday, 6 February 10:30-17:00 – Writing your Family History –  A Follow-Up

This course is available to those who have attended our previous Writing Family History courses. It will include a review of what work has been done, some planning for taking it further and writing exercises to facilitate and help you develop your writing further.

A full-day course with Gill Blanchard, Cost 35.00/28.00

Wednesday, 10 February 14:00 – Dockyard Maties: Tracing Ancestors who worked in the Royal Dockyards

The Home naval Dockyards (Chatham, Deptford, Pembroke, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Sheerness and Woolwich) were, at one time, the largest civilian employers in the world and further enhanced by a whole string of overseas yards.  By 1815, these yards were employing not far short of 20,000 with this number considerably exceeded during the two World Wars of the 20th century.  This talk will provide both a brief outline of the work of the yards, the type of employment and the nature of available records for those tracing their ancestors.

A one-hour lecture with Philip MacDougall, Cost 8.00/6.40

Wednesday, 10 February 14:00-15:15 – New Member Orientation Tour

In this thorough tour of the library with our staff genealogist, we will look at the society’s library collections and how to best use them.

With Else Churchill.  Free, but must be pre-booked

Saturday, 13 February    10:30-17:00 – How to Get the Best from Family Pictures

Join Jayne Shrimpton for a full-day course on understanding your family photos. For those mystifying unlabelled photos you have, accurate dating is essential to identify the picture and discover more about it. Jayne Shrimpton is a professional dress historian, with over 20 years experience in dating and analysing family pictures.

Topics covered:

During the day, Jayne provides an in-depth guide to dating, analysing and understanding all types of family portraits, from inherited paintings, drawings and silhouettes, to Victorian studio photographs and 20th century snapshots.

– How to establish an accurate time frame for a picture, using a variety of techniques and research tools.

– What was the portrait tradition? Learn more about the historical context in which artworks and, later, photographs were commissioned.

– Understand what these special pictures meant to our ancestors and we should interpret them.

Important note

Anyone attending the course can submit photos from their own collection for analysis on the day. If you would like to do this, please email the events department for more details.

A full-day course with Jayne Shrimpton

Cost 35.00/28.00 spaces limited due to the intensive nature of this course.

Wednesday, 17 February 14:00 – My Ancestor was in the Fire Brigade

This talk by Ken Divall goes hand in hand with his recently published book in the SoG “My Ancestor” series, titled ‘My Ancestor was in the Fire Brigade’.  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

Friday, 19 February 14:00-15:30 – Visit: Kings College London Archives – Family History Collections

King College Archive holds a unique collection of institutional and research papers from the College and organisations which it has founded or with which it has merged, including King’s College Hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’ medical and dental schools and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience. It is also home to the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, a leading repository for research into modern defense policy in Britain, which covers all the armed services, and all wars, campaigns and peacekeeping initiatives in which British forces were engaged from the Second Boer War (1899-1902) onward.

We will be given an introduction to the archives and learn more about available sources applicable to family history research.  Cost 10.00/8.00

Saturday, 20 February 10:30-13:00 – Laying Out Family Trees

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

Wednesday, 24 February 14:00 – Conserving your Family Archive

We will look at conservation of family history items such as paper – original documents, maps & books, as well as photographs etchings & paintings. The more unusual items such as textiles eg. samplers, christening robes, uniforms, as well as Objects eg. furniture, medals, ceramics, toys and digital media will also be discussed.

A one-hour lecture with Sue Gibbons, Cost 8.00/6.40

Wednesday, 24 February 14:00-15:30 – Visit: Thames River Police Museum

The Thames River Police Museum is located in what was once a carpenter’s workshop at Wapping Police Station, and the museum is still housed  within the working Metropolitan Police’s Marine Police Unit. The Museum will fascinate those interested in the history of policing or simply anyone interested in the history of the River Thames.

With Rob Jeffries, Cost 10.00/8.00 Spaces limited

Saturday, 27 February 10:30-13:00 – Tithe Records and Enclosure Maps for Family Historians

What’s the difference between these two map-based surveys and how can I best use them for my family history research?   This half-day course will introduce you to both surveys, their background, what they can (and cannot) tell you about your family, where they lived and what property they owned and/or occupied.  You will discover where to find them, how to evaluate them and how to link the material to other contemporary resources, making the most of these amazing records for your own research.

A half-day course with Liz Carter, Cost 20.00/16.00

Saturday, 27 February 14:00-17:00 – The Parish Chest: Parish Officers and Their Records

The term ‘parish records’ is frequently used, wrongly, as a synonym for parish registers of baptisms, marriages and burials. In fact, parish chests contained a wide variety of other records: the accounts of churchwardens and overseers, other poor law records such as pauper apprenticeship indentures and settlement examinations, tithe and enclosure maps and awards, and a variety of miscellaneous documents such as glebe terriers, pew lists, and Easter books. All of these may contain useful information for tracing our ancestors’ lives.

This workshop will begin by taking a look at the parish, it’s incumbent, and the record-keeping activities of its officers. We will then examine the nature and content of the various documents they created, and consider how they can be used to deepen our understanding of our ancestors’ lives

A half-day course with Stuart Raymond, Cost 20.00/16.00. Author of ‘Tracing Your Ancestors Parish Records: a Guide for Family and Local Historians’ (Pen & Sword, 2015)


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