Society of Genealogists Archives


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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Special Family History Collections at the Society of Genealogists

kipling27 298x300 Special Family History Collections at the Society of GenealogistsSome of the most important items in the library of the Society of Genealogists are to be found in the mansuscripts  in the Special Collections. Housed in thousands of boxes, these collections often represent the life work of a genealogist who has researched many different families. Sometimes the work is quite scholarly or looks at families that share a common theme such as the Campling Collection, the original notes made  by Campling before publishing the pedigress as East Anglian Pedigrees. Other collections have compiled family trees for families in a specific area  such as the Rogers Collection of notes on Cornish families. The SoG has over 350 of these special collections.

New collections come into the library every week.  Often they are  the life work of a family historian bequeathed to the Society because no other family member might want the research. Each collection is sorted and listed by volunteers. Often the papers aren’t as organised as they might be when they arrive at the library. It  can be quite a daunting task to go through many boxes of notes and to make order out of chaos. It can be quite sad if family photos don’t have names or places attached to them such as these charming family photographs.

Sometimes it’s not only the family photos that can be difficult to  identify.   All sorts of ephemeral items often come in with the research notes.  Volunteers have great fun sorting the collections. It was a delight to find this fine fellow (below)  in the recent acquisition of the Helen collection. Helen Collection cat 12 238x300 Special Family History Collections at the Society of Genealogists

Surnames represented in the Society’s document collections of miscellaneous manuscript research notes, the roll pedigree collections and the birth briefs submitted by members are listed on the library section of our website. However the names in the special collections are, at present, only listed in card indexes in the lower library.

Contributing to the Society’s centenary appeal can help us continue to conserve and care for our collections. See the donations page of our website.

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Following our popular membership recruitment drive at Who Do You Think You Are? Live the Society of Genealogists is waiving the £10 administration/joining fee anyone interested in family history who becomes a member of the Society of Genealogists between April 1 and June 30 2009. This means your first year membership for UK residents* will be only £45 not £55 which makes SoG annual membership even more value for money working out at a mere 15p per day. All benefits of membership are on our website.
* Overseas membership will be only £27 not £37

Check out the full benefits of SoG membership on the Society of Genealogists website

Download your Special Offer Membership Application now  and return the completed form with your payment to our Membership Officer Jacki Ellis membership@sog.org.uk

Please note this offer has now ended but please keep an eye out  here and on our website www.sog.org.uk for future offers.

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