Archive for 2011

Family History Stories Wanted for a Brand New BBC 2 History Series Showing how Ordinary British People Lived for Over 100 Years


The Society of Genealogists has received the following notice –



Do you remember or have any everyday family stories or photos about…

Early Twentieth Century The 1960s
Factory Life End of the Steam Railway
World War 1 Battalions School Life
Aristocratic Households in the 20s Owning a car and motorway travel
1930s Slum Housing Housing Estates
The 1940s The 1970s
Dad’s Army or Evacuation Silver Jubilee
Hospital Life – Patients and Medics Package Holidays Abroad
The 1950s Working Life across the Century
British Seaside Holidays Were you or your family involved in
The Coronation Shipbuilding, Farming, Coal Mining or Fishing?
Teenage Life and Teddy Boys  

If you have a story to tell on these topics and many more, then we want to hear it. Your story, photo, diary or home movie could play a major role in the telling the history of Britain. You could even feature on the programme.

For more information

Phone: 0161 244 3289 Email:

Write: The Reel History of Britain, BBC Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M60 1SJ

(standard geographic charges apply and calls may be included in your telecoms provider’s call package. Calls from mobiles may be higher)

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Early Modern Ancestors Day at Roehampton University – special offer for Society of Genealogists Members

 Roehampton University is offering a special discount and early booking  offer to Society of Genealogists Members wishing to attend the Early Modern Ancestors Day on 18 June.

Anyone who didn’t get the opportunity to hear John Price’s excellent exposition of using the  17th Century Hearth Tax and the work of the Centre for Hearth Tax Research at at the recent SoG study day on pre 1841 research, can get another chance to hear John and other experts talk on early modern records of interest family historians.

This one-day workshop will provide information and training on how to access and employ documents, including the hearth tax and loyalty oaths and other early modern records, for genealogical research.

The morning session is composed of a series of introductory presentation outlining the context, structure and contents of early modern documents.In the afternoon there will be a programme of practical workshops across a range of skill levels where delegates will learn the palaeographical and IT skills essential to accessing the sources.

The event will conclude with a keynote lecture from Professor David Hay, examining the wider context and implications of “Surnames and the Hearth Tax Returns” followed by a drinks reception.


Prof. David Hey (University of Sheffield), Surnames and the Hearth Tax Returns

Dr Edward Vallance (Roehampton University London), ‘Sources to Swear by’: Researching your 17th & 18th Century Ancestors

Peter Seaman (formerly of The National Archives), The Hearth Tax: a Census for the 17th Century?

Dr John Price (Centre for Hearth Tax Research), Sourcing the Sources: Locating and Accessing Hearth Tax Records



Practical Palaeography: Approaching 17th Century handwriting
Advanced Palaeography: Reading and interpreting texts
IT and Internet Resources: Finding and accessing resources
IT and Databases: Understanding and analysing data
These workshops, with an onus on practical advice and assistance with specific tasks or queries, will be led by a team of experts, including:

Dr Simon Dixon (Research Fellow, Queen Mary, University of London)

Dr Elizabeth Parkinson (Senior Research Fellow, RU)

Dr Edward Vallance (Reader

Date: 18th June 2011
Time: 9.30am – 6.30pm
Venue: Digby Stuart College, Roehampton University London


** 30% discount on bookings before 1st April 2011**

Ticket prices include: all presentations and workshops; lunch and all refreshments; and entry to the keynote lecture and drinks reception.

Advanced booking: £70.00 (book before 1st April 2011)
Standard booking: £85.00 (after 1st April 2011)
Late booking: £100.00 (after 1 June 2011)

Special Offer for Society of Genealogists Members

Quote SOG220111 when booking online before 1st April 2011 to receive a free copy of Putney and Roehampton in 1665: A Street Directory and Guide by Dorian Gerhold (worth£9.50)

Bookings can be made for this event via the Roehampton University Online Store

Information about the Roehampton University Centre for Hearth Tax Research  and the early Modern Study Day can be found online at

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Join the Society of Genealogists at Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2011

The Society of Genealogists Family History Show will again take place as part of the Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE National History Show – 25-27 February 2011.

The Society will be waiving its £10 joining/administration fee for anyone who joins the Society at Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE 2011. Come and find us at stand 1025. IMGP0365


Tickets for Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE! 2011 are now on sale, starting the countdown to another packed weekend of inspiration for family historians around the country.

As well as the chance to get advice from experts, history societies and representatives from all the major online resources, famous faces from Who Do You Think You Are? will again be on hand to share their experiences of filming the TV show. As well as offering a great line-up of speakers and experts, this year’s event will be expanding into a new hall. We look forward to seeing you all there!

We’re giving you the chance to buy two adult tickets for £25 – that’s a saving of £22*! To claim this special offer and get your tickets to the country’s biggest and most comprehensive family history event, simply call 0844 873 7330 or visit the Who Do You Think You Are? Live website and quote SOG2425 today! Show tickets will also be available from the SoG bookshop as usual.

* £2 transaction fee applies. Usual ticket price £22. Two for £25 offer ends 19th February 2011.

(note this is not a BBC event)

The Society of Genealogists’ Family History Show began in 1993 at the Royal Horticultural Halls. Now in its 18th year and supported by, the Family History Show is a highlight of Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE and we are delighted to be back for our fifth year working together.

As the UK’s largest collection of family history societies and specialist exhibitors, the Society of Genealogists’ Family History Show is the perfect place to learn about local research resources and have your questions answered by local and regional experts. Also featuring will be specialist researchers and businesses that can provide expertise on a range of topics and products, helping to make the Family History Show a rich resource unlike any other.

The Society of Genealogists Workshop Programme will also once more be a major feature of the event. With over 100 workshops and seminars on a range of subjects, this is a feature that no family historian can afford to miss. Tickets are free at on the day but can be pre-booked to ensure you get your place at the workshop most relevant to your search:, sponsor of the Society’s Centenary Year and now host of the SoG’s online data is one of the top family history websites, offering an extensive collection of census transcripts and images, parish and nonconformist records and a selection of unique search tools to maximise your experience using this site. Visit the team on stand 825 to find out more.

Ask the Experts – get a 20 minute one-to-one session with an expert. Ever felt like you wanted to speak to someone face to face who could help you with a problem? A visit to this area of the show is a must for anyone who is stuck and needs help or is a beginner looking to start their family history research.

The Military Pavilion will be making a welcome return to Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE. Countless family historians will have discovered military ancestors and, if you’re one of them, you can’t afford to miss it.

As well as a host of specialist exhibitors, be sure to visit the DNA Workshop, supported by Family Tree DNA, which will feature renowned international expert speakers to help you to use the latest advances in genetics to further your research.?

If you are further along with your research you could really benefit from the Who Do You Think You Are? Live Conference Ticket available on Sunday 27 February. It includes entry to three exclusive lecures and a networking longe where you will be welcomed as a Conference Ticket Holder. The exclusive lectures are:
            12.00 How to make Google Work Harder for Your Family HIstory With LIsa Cooke
            13.00 Surnames, DNA and Family History with Dr Turi King
            14.00 Are YOur Ancestors Frozen in Time with Claire V Brisson Banks

One Day Conference Ticket holders can also benefit from a complimentary “My Ancestors” Publication if you join the Society of Genealogists at the show.

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London 1910 Land Tax Valuation published on Ancestry – free at the Society of Genealogists’ Library

 The SoG has received the notice of the following record release  from Ancestry –

 An online archive revealing historic values of London’s famous landmarks is published today for the first time –

  •  Bank of England, Fleet Street and St Paul’s Cathedral found in records
  • Average London property in 1910 valued at just £14,000, compared to £430,500 today1
  • Homes of famous dramatist Sir W.S. Gilbert and scientist William Crookes uncovered, the UK’s favourite family history website2, has launched online for the first time the London, England Land Tax Valuations 1910, revealing the historic values of some of the capital’s most famous streets and landmarks from just over a century ago.

These valuations were originally compiled in 1910 from across the UK as part of David Lloyd George’s 1910 Finance Act, later known as the ‘Domesday Survey’, which was introduced as a means to redistribute wealth through the assessment of land value. Bank of England_110000


As well as listing the owners and occupiers of a property, the records also detail the address, property value and annual rental yield for properties in early 20th century London, providing vital information about Britain’s epicentre at the time.

The records reveal a stark contrast to today’s housing market, with the average 1910 property carrying a price tag of just £14,000 – almost 3,000 per cent less than today.3 

Of particular interest are the values of famous landmarks included in the collection, such as the Bank of England; worth a mere £110,000 in 1910, the Old Bailey; worth just £6,600, and Mansion House; which contrastingly was valued at an impressive £992,000. St Paul’s Cathedral also features, but without a valuation as it is listed as ‘exempt’ from tax.

Famous streets include the media-hub Fleet Street, which according to the records was even then home to numerous newspapers including the Liverpool Courier, Yorkshire Evening News and the Newcastle Chronicle. A property on Fleet Street cost an average of £25,000 in 1910, compared to £1.2 million today.4

Surprisingly, buildings on law-dominated Chancery Lane were worth very little (around £11,000) a century ago, compared to £1.1 million today. The rapid disappearance of family homes in the City over the last century has also led to a drastic change in the average house value, particularly evident on Cannon Street, where a home costing £20,000 in 1910 would today set you back a staggering £2.2 million.5

As well as famous landmarks, the records also include some of the notable names of the era, such as:

 Sir W. S. Gilbert – An English dramatist best known for his comic operas, including The Pirates of Penzance, H.M.S. Pinafore and The Mikado, and allegedly an inspirational figure to Oscar Wilde. Gilbert is listed proprietor of three properties on Spring Street in Paddington

  •  Sir William Crookes – A scientist who worked on spectroscopy, a pioneer of vacuum tubes, and famed for being one of the first scientists to investigate ‘plasmas’. He is listed in the records as living at 16 Newcastle Street, London

The records provide a valuable snapshot of land ownership at the start of the 20th century and will enable those with ancestors in the collection to discover more about their respective financial situations and the lives they led a hundred years ago. International Content Director Dan Jones comments: “These records are especially useful as a census substitute for people tracing their London ancestors who may not have been captured in the England and Wales 1911 Census.

“The collection offers a fascinating insight into our capital at the beginning of the 20th century – a time when Britain was on the verge of major social, political and economic change.”

 The collection complements the extensive census records, ranging from 1841 to 1901, already online at which is availeble free of charge  at the Society of Genealogists Library.


1. An audit of more than 300 randomly selected records from the Greater London area in the collection revealed the average London property value in 1910 was £14,115 (rounded to £14,000). According to the BBC UK the average UK house price for July-September 2010 Greater London was £430,483. Source:

2. Source: Based on market share of visits among all UK websites in the Hitwise Lifestyle – Family industry, 2009.

3. A rise from 14,000 to 430,500 is an increase of 416,500, or 2975 per cent, or almost 3,000 per cent.

4. An audit of randomly selected records from Fleet Street, Chancery Lane and Cannon Street found the average values for property on these streets in 1910. These were contrasted with property prices found on leading UK property website for December 2010.

5. See footnote 4.

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Free access to at the Society of Genealogists’ Library – now including 1911 census

Following the launch of the Society of Genealogists’ Online collection of family history records on the Society is pleased to announce free access to the full Findmypast website at the Society of Genealogists’ Library. This includes full free access to the 1911 and other census indexes and images, military and migration indexes as well as birth, marriages and deaths, parish records and specialist records – an excellent resource for any genealogist.

Among the first tranche of  9 million Society of Genealogists’ Records published online online  are:

  • Boyd’s Marriage Index containing over 7 million names from 1538 to 1840
  • Boyd’s London Burials 1538-1872 containing 240,000 names
  • Faculty Office Marriage Licence Allegations 1701-1850
  • St Andrew’s Holborn Marriage Index 1754-1812     
  • Vicar-General Marriage Licences Allegations 1694-1850
  • St Leonard Shoreditch Burials 1805-1858 and Workhouse Deaths 1820-1828, online for the first time
  • Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills Index 1750-1800


The Society of Genealogists is delighted that its online collections are now available on Findmypast – the sponsors of the SoG Centenary Year. This gives us the opportunity in the future to enhance existing indexes such as the Bank of England Wills and Civil Servants Evidences of Age with images of the original documents to accompany the indexes. These images should be available later in the year and other datasets such as the Trinity House Petitions Index and Teachers Registration Council Registers will be published throughout 2011.  The online collections exemplify the variety of records that the Society of Genealogists has preserved and made available over the years that otherwise would not have been retained for family historians. The indexes launched today include some of the invaluable works of Percival Boyd such as Boyd’s Marriage Index which is still one of the largest and most comprehensive indexes of marriages of its kind.

Searchable family history indexes and transcripts have been added to the Findmypast website, and customers will be able to order copies of the originals for some of the records from the Society of Genealogists.

In the coming weeks further records will be added to the website including Bank of England Wills Extracts containing 60,500 names, including images of the documents, and Apprentices of Great Britain containing 350,000 names. has been working in partnership with the Society of Genealogists for a number of years to make the Society’s family history collection available to a wider, international audience. Earlier projects were Civil Service Evidence of Age and Great Western Railway Shareholder records.

Anyone with a full subscription to will be able to access all the records within their existing package. Otherwise they can be viewed with PayAsYouGo credits. The full Findmypast website, including access to 1911 census, military and migration indexes is  also available free to view at the Society of Genealogists’ Library.

Members of the Society of Genealogists will be able to view the records for free online via on the Society of Genealogist’s own Members Area at .  The records will be added gradually during 2011.  Until the records move over to the SoG site, members will be able to continue their free access to this data on the British Origins website after logging into that site with their existing passwords as usual.

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