Past Events Archives

Civil Registration & Brick Walls

A half-day course on Saturday 30 Jan. from 2-5pm

In this seminar Celia Heritage will give an overview of the civil registration system. She will look at the causes of errors on the GRO index and how they may affect your research. She will also look at the brick walls you may encounter in your research in connectin with the GRO index as well as in your research in general, and how to find ways around them. Cost £17.50/£14.00 (SoG members)

Out and About with the Society of Genealogists

P1020074As part of its lecture and education program, the Society carries out a number of outside visits and walks. Today I was lucky enough to attend an outside visit to the parish church of St. Bartholomew the Great in London excellently conducted by the Verger.

This Norman church is said to be the oldest church building in London, founded by Rahere, a courtier of Henry I in 1123. It has been the scene of many films and TV series, such as Four Weddings and a Funeral, the latest being the current Sherlock Holmes film in cinemas as I write. The church is just a little way out of the City walls in Smithfield which was originally a field used for jousting and a venue for executions and of course well known today as the site of London’s former cattle market.


The building has gone through many changes and today it is possible to see some of the original 12th Century church with many of the additions that have taken place up to and including the 20th Century.The original Priory was surrendered to the tyrant King Henry VIII who passed them on to Sir Richard Rich who took up residence in the Prior’s House. Under “bloody” Mary it became a Dominican convent until an Act of Parliament of 1559 once again restored it to a Parish Church.

P1020065 The church had a Charnel House under the Sanctuary which today is a dressing room. Here we saw some of the vestments that are quite old and only used on special occasions such as a rose coloured set used on Mothering Sunday.

The visit finished with a look at fifteen minute film about the church and a fascinating look at some photographs showing the graveyard and local Elizabethan housing from 1877;  then off to the tea room in the Cloisters for a well deserved cup of tea!

The church is open to visitors most days and charges £4 for entry but of course you will have to look around yourself and not get the expert commentary of the Verger or the camaraderie in company with other Society members. In fact the next two outside visits to Lambeth Palace and Goldsmiths’ Hall are both fully booked, and the next after that is the visit to Wesley’s Chapel on 31st March 2010.

I highly recommend an afternoon or day out led by the Society but suggest you book early  to avoid disappointment!

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Death in London – a full-day course at the Society of Genealogists on 5 Dec.

Saturday, 5 December from 10:30am-5pm with John Hanson and Alec Tritton (£30/£24), must be pre-booked

Finding burial records:
One of the biggest problems facing family historians is trying to tracking down the burial place of an ancestor who died in London (mind the principals discussed can be used in other large areas). The first two lectures of this day looks at the problem, understanding what is available and some of the methods that can be employed. (sessions 1 & 2 John Hanson)

Lost London Burial Grounds
(Not for those with a delicate stomach)
Before the great fire, there was a church equivalent to every 3 acres in the City of London. 86 churches were destroyed in the fire and 34 were not rebuilt. Christopher Wren was given the task of rebuilding 51 of these churches of which 28 no longer exist. Today only 40 parish churches exist and all the burial grounds in the City are closed.
By 1895 there were 362 identifiable burial grounds in London of which 41 were still in use. As London grew at least one graveyard was burying at the rate of 2300 bodies per acre per year. Where are these burial grounds, what is now on the site, where are the records and what happened to the human remains, if the site was built on.
This lecture will discuss some of the more gruesome aspects of burial in the metropolis leading to the closure of the city burial grounds, what happened to those grounds, the bodies interred within and the whereabouts of the records. The audience will get a better understanding of burials and burial records of London. (sessions 3 & 4 with Alec Tritton)

To book a place:
Tel: 020 7553 3290

Lori Weinstein
Events co-ordinator

Records for One-Name Studies – a full-day course

A one-name study is the study of a particular surname (and it’s variants), which researches and documents all persons bearing that surname, as distinct from researching all the ancestors or descendants of one person.
This full-day course will be of interest to all family historians although those who are thinking of starting or extending a one-name study are particularly welcome. There is an admission charge of £5/4 (normally £30/24 for a full-day course, but the remainder is subsidised by the Halsted Trust).


1. Using Pay-per-View Websites n(Alec Tritton)

2. Apprenticeship Records (Geoff Riggs)

 3. Surname Searching in the SoG Library (Else Churchill)

4. The Guild of One-Name Studies (Howard Benbrook)

Places should be pre-booked by visiting our secure website

or by telephone: 020 7553 3290

For more information, contact the events co-ordinator:



Family History Skills Course for Beginners at the Society of Genealogists – 15 weeks starting 3 September

The Society’s successful evening family history skills course begins again with the first fifteen-week series of classes for those who are new to genealogy and family history or who have had a little experience and want to learn more. The team of lecturers will introduce the records and illustrate how they should best be used for the study of family history.

This course provides plenty of opportunity to use genealogical sources in practical sessions in the classroom and as exercises at home. The lectures cover sources in all the major repositories but emphasis is also placed on the extensive collections held in the Library of the Society of Genealogists that can be of help to the beginner. We will look at using birth, marriage and death records, census,  parish registers, wills, the armed forces, how to lay out a pedigree and more.

Thursday evenings 6-8pm,  3 September-10 December. £180.00 (non-SoG members), £144.00 for SoG members.  For more information or booking, contact the events co-ordinator, tel: 020 7553 3290, email:

You can also view a copy of the leaflet







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