Family History Archives


 

It’s always worth checking what research has been done before on the family history you are researching.

The SoG collects printed and published family histories as well as unpublished material in typescript or manuscript form. Family histories and pedigrees can be found all over the library and here are some top tips and guideance to help you search in the Society of Genealogists Library.


Search SoGCAT (the Society of Genealogists’ Library Catalogue) www.sog.org.uk

Use the browse & subject search facility eg SMITH (SURNAME) Double click OR tick box and click view. You should now have a list of all the Society’s holdings for published printed or bound material related to the name along with the references you will need to find the items in the Library.

Please note we have not catalogued all surnames names in every book in the library, only those with at least three generations of narrative family history are listed. Information on families will of course be located in sources for the places where they lived or what they did. You will also need to search other materials in the library as outlined below.

The Catalogue lists the printed and bound works on the Family History Shelves in the Upper Library
The Society of Genealogists library has an extraordinary amount of family history research notes within its collections. Thousands of bound family histories and biographies have been deposited on the Family History Shelves in the Upper Library. These are arranged largely in alphabetical order and cross referenced  by surname on the catalogue.

Check bibliographies listing what’s been published
There are major bibliographies which list printed or published family histories – often in periodicals and topographical works as well as dedicated genealogical publications. These bibliographies can be found on the quick reference shelves at the Middle Library Enquiry Counter and are listed in the reading list below. The Society will have many of the works cited in these works.

Further reading. Some of thes titles have been published in facsimile form in CD ROM or may be found on Google Books)

The Genealogist’s Guide by G W Marshall
A Genealogical Guide by J B Whitmore
The Genealogist’s Guide by G B Barrow
A Catalogue of British Family Histories by T R Thomson
Scottish Family History by M Stuart
Scottish Family A Histories held in Scottish Public Libraries by J P S Ferguson
Bibliography of Irish Family History and Genealogy B de Breffny
Bibliography of Irish Family History by E MacLysaght

Look at the Society’s Manuscript Research Notes in the Lower Library
The Document Collection contains thousands of unique miscellaneous manuscript research notes arranged by surname. These are available in the archive section of the Lower Library where you will find a list of all the surnames represented. This list of the surname represented in the Document collections is also on the Society’s website  (not the catalogue). The Special Collections also contain notes on families including thousands of roll pedigrees. All the Special Collections are listed and indexed in the card index in the Lower Library. The surnames in the roll pedigrees (but not all the other collections) are also listed in the SoG’s website. The collections themselves are also in the archive area but some have been filmed.

Birth Briefs and Members Interests
SoG members can submit birth briefs showing their ancestry back to their 32 great, great grandparents. The bound birth briefs and an index are in the Upper Library. Members can submit slips showing the names they are researching. The slips are in the Upper Library. The surnames represented are listed on the Society’s website

One Name Studies
Some genealogists try to trace everyone with a particular surname. The Family History shelves contain many listings of entries from the Civil Registration Indexes to birth, death and marriage records. and these can be found through the SoG Library Catalogue The Register of the Guild of One Name Studies (GOONS) can be found at the Middle Library Enquiry Counter and online on the Guild’s website.

Peerage and Royalty and Biography
Titled families are listed in Burke’s Family Index and in Frank Leeson’s Directory of British Peerages. Pedigrees of European royalty and nobility are listed in F R Price’s Guide to European Genealogies Exclusive of the British Isles. These titles can be found on the Peerage and Royalty shelves in the Upper Library along with standard reference works on the Peerage, Landed Gentry and other biographical works.

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Society of Genealogists Special Collections – Coleman’s Catalogues and Index

The Society of Genealogists Special Collections contain a variety of interesting resources for family historians. Amongst the treasures in the Society’s Library are the Coleman’s catalogues and index

 
 
James Coleman was an heraldic and genealogical bookseller and publisher in London in the second half of the 19th century.  He aimed to obtain a constant supply of documents and books from various sources which were listed for sale in his catalogue which was produced on a regular basis between 1859 and 1911. He also published Coleman’s general index to printed pedigrees (1866).
 
As a second hand dealer he sold marriage settlements, wills, rent rolls, peerage claims, private and local Acts of Parliament, appeal cases, pedigrees, deeds, autograph letters, maps etc. as well as new and second hand books on heraldry, topography and biography.  His catalogues give brief details of the items for sale.
 
The Society has bound copies of his catalogues which were given to us in 1915 as part of the Snell Collection. The catalogues come under the heading of “printed ephemera” and it is rare for such a long and complete run to survive.  A card index of nearly 50,000 names appearing in the catalogue descriptive entries was compiled in 1936. Taking that as a starting point the Society, through its volunteers, is now undertaking to expand the index to include, where stated, the year, the county and sometimes the parish or place where the person lived. This could prove most useful for placing a family in a particular area and time.  It has, however, to be borne in mind that the original documents  listed in the catalogues are now unfortunately either no longer in existence or are in private hands.

The illustration here is of the front cover of a catalogue for 1865.

Colemans cat4 653x1024 Society of Genealogists Special Collections   Colemans Catalogues and Index

Coleman's Catalogues at the Society of Genealogists

Coincidentally, the item offered at the bottom of the page – the original burial register of Mr Roger’s Meeting House, Collier’s Rents, White Street, Southwark – was given to the Society in 1993 by one of our members. Having been photocopied and transcribed, the original was donated to the Southwark Local Studies Library. Also illustrated is a sample page from one of the catalogues.

David Horwill & Sue Gibbons, 2009

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Society of Genealogists Members Help in Genetic Genealogy Research

 

Members of the Society of Genealogists have been helping London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital  and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology with a genetic genealogy research project which aims at studying more than 80 families from the UK with a particular form of glaucoma called primary angle-closure glaucoma (PACG).

 

Having discovered how much is involved in compiling family trees Moorfields approached the Society of Genealogists for help in undertaking genealogical research, on the advice of one of its patients who had worked for the SoG some time ago and who is now coincidentally part of the clinical study into this condition.


The genealogists’ task was to identify other members of families who might be related to sufferers, firstly to enable further study into the idea that this form of the disease is genetically related and then to identify distant family members who might well be treatable. Having compiled an extended family history the medical teams can make contact with the more distant family members through existing patients. The project will be completed in early 2010 and has already shown that one in five first degree relatives of patients with PACG may also be at risk.

21 family historians volunteered from the Society of Genealogists, under the direction of the genealogy project leaders, Dr Geoff Swinfield and Diana Bouglas. Beginning in Summer 2008, extensive genealogical research has been needed to identify, expand and link together a number of extended family trees. The project has benefited from the volunteers’ genealogical skills and expertise as well as their extensive knowledge of family history sources both online and in record offices that can be used to compile family trees.

A highlight of the project was a special event at UCL in September called Glaucoma, Genes and Me which brought together the families who are currently taking part in the research with the medical teams who have been treating them and the genealogists who had helped trace the family trees. About 140 people took part in the event and it is thought to be the first such event of its kind in this field. Approximately half of the participants were patients, the rest were family members along with 8 of the genealogists who had helped in the project. One of the key objectives of the event was to discover, through group discussions, the areas of most importance to PACG patients and their families. This will enable future research to focus on those areas and improve patient care. The day included various presentations made by the medical team and the major charities which support people with Glaucoma along with the patients who are taking part in the study. The project and the event are sponsored by The Richard Desmond Charitable Trust via a grant from Fight for Sight, as well as the International Glaucoma Association.

Dr Geoff Swinfield rounded off the day with a presentation about the techniques and sources used by genealogists to compile family trees and trace living relatives. Many of the families who attended were fascinated by their family trees. Some were introduced to relatives they had never met before. Others brought along their own family history research and wanted help and guidance to take it further with which of course the Society of Genealogists is delighted to help.

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Free Open Day at the Society of Genealogists 26 October

 

The Society of Genealogists is hosting another of its popular free family history open days on Monday 26 October from 11am-4pm.

 

The Society is  usually closed to the public on Mondays so this is an extra opportunity to see how the Society works. The Open Day includes FREE tours of the  extensive library and family history collections which are housed on four floors as  well as exhibitions and advice on family history. The library will not not open for research but anyone who wishes to come back and use the library during normal opening hours receives, as part of their welcome gifts, a  free voucher for two  hours in the library as a day searcher.

The joining administration fee (usually £10) is waived for anyone who wants to become a member of the Society after the tours.

Tours run throughout the day and usually last about one hour. The last tour will start at 3.30pm. No need to book

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Did your ancestor work on the railways?

The Society of Genealogists has just published My Ancestor was a Railway Worker, a new book to aid family historians with research into railway records. The book is written by Frank Hardy FSG, who worked on the railways as a civil engineer for 50 years. Frank has also been involved with the Society of Genealogists in various capacaties since 1981. This and many other books are available from the society’s bookshop or via the online shop at www.sog.org.uk

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