Society of Genealogists Archives

New Society of Genealogists Family History Collection – Business Index published on line

We’re now tantalisingly close to discovering who Lord Alan Sugar will choose to be his next business partner, with the final of The Apprentice hitting our screens on Sunday. The Society of Genealogists also got the business bug as we’ve just published the Business Index Collection in association with the Findmypast.

The Society of Genealogists Business Index Collection is also available to SoG members via MySoG on the Society’s website


The record collection is made up of a selection of 17 books and trade dictionaries produced in different areas of the UK from 1893 – 1927, with 9,757 records showcasing businesses and prominent people of the late Victorian era and early twentieth century. You can find out more detailed information about the Business Index Collection.

The records are a superb family history resources. They can provide a lot of detail about your ancestors’ lives, often including a photograph and a short biography which will detail their education and experience, memberships of corporations and clubs, their hobbies or leisure activities as well as any charities they may have been involved with.

Else Churchill, Genealogical Officer at the Society of Genealogists, explains:

“The Business Index directories complement other family history sources such as censuses or birth, marriage and death records. While these records may merely state trade or occupation, the Business Index can include exactly what your ancestor did and often include potted histories of the family business, showing when it was founded and the generations of the family members who worked together. These stories put flesh on the bones of our ancestors. Society of Genealogists volunteers have been working hard to make these rare directories from its extensive library collections more readily available for the genealogists and we are delighted to be able to publish this first set of data.” 

Women in Business

We’ve had a hunt through the Business Index Collection and have found a number of successful women included, particularly around the early 1900s. This is fairly surprising considering the historical context of the records. It was not until 1928 that women were granted the right to vote on the same terms as men and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge had only opened their degrees to women some eight years earlier.

The successful businesswomen featured in the records include:


Helena Normanton – The first woman to practise as a barrister in the UK when she was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1922.BusinessIndex_NotablePersonalities1927_305-Normanton_HELENA alone



Irene Barclay – The first woman in Britain to qualify as a chartered surveyor. Barclay helped to set up a number of housing associations around the country, improving living conditions for many people. 

Dame Lilian Braithwaite – Celebrated actress who appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s film Downhill and Noel Coward’s play The Vortex.

Marion Lyon – The Advertisement Manager of Punch magazine and the only woman to hold a position of this nature in the early twentieth century.

Radclyffe Hall – Author of The Well of Loneliness, a novel about a lesbian relationship published in 1928. The book was declared obscene and was withdrawn from sale.




Lilian Baylis – Manager of the Old Vic and Sadler’s Wells theatres. Baylis also ran an opera company that later became the English National Opera, a theatre company that became the Royal National Theatre and a ballet company that became the Royal Ballet.

Debra Chatfield,’s Marketing Manager, comments:

“The Business Index Collection shows us that while our female ancestors were fighting for the right to vote and to go to university, countless women were already business leaders. This is all the more amazing when you consider that today, fewer than 14% of FTSE 100 board positions are held by women.”

Search the Business Index Collection now to see if any of your ancestors are included!

Technorati Tags: , , ,

American Ancestors (NEHGS) English Family History Tour hosted by Society of Genealogists

The schedule for the New England Historic Genealogical  Society English Family History Tour 25 September-2 October 2011 has been published on the American Ancestors Website

The Society of Genealogists will host this week long study day in its library in London. The programme includes presentations and workshops with SoG and NEHGS staff and experts; orientations and use of the Society’s extensive genealogical library and collections and visits to The National Archives and British LibrarySoG Building Photo (GM cover 2010) (web)

The Society of Genealogists is situated on the edge of the historic City of London and part of the tour will include a fascinating walk from the SoG through the City to St Pauls Cathedral taking in City Churches, Postman’s Park, the Guildhall Library and other places of interests.

Booking for the tour is through the American Ancestors Website

Technorati Tags: , ,

Society of Genealogists Membership Gift Certificate makes an excellent Father’s Day present

Are you stuck for an idea for a Fathers Day Gift for July 19th? Then buy him something that will captivate his interest in genealogy and provide an entertaning hobby for years to come.  Membership of the Society of Genealogists allows free access to the Society’s remarkable library; on line data on our wesite and discounts on our books, events and courses.

The Society of Genealogists Gift Certfificate for one year’s membership can be ordered direct from the Society’s online shop

This is a great  gift for a family historian. You will receive a gift certificate, application form and membership pack to pass onto the lucky recipient. To activate the membership, the recipient will need to complete the application form and return it to the Society of Genealogists by post or upon their first visit to the society.

Membership of the Society of Genealogists costs just £45 a year  for the UK (£43 by diret debit) and £27 a year for overseas members.  There is a one-off joining admin fee of £10 in the first year.

More details of SoG membership benefits and information about the Society’s remarkable library can be found on the Society’s website

Technorati Tags: , , ,

The Society of Genealogists’ Prince Michael of Kent Award 2011 is given to Alex Graham. CEO of TV production company Wall to Wall

On the beautiful spring evening of 6th May 2011 SoG members, staff, friends and guests attended the Anniversary Gala Dinner at the Royal Overseas League. The Society’s Patron HRH Prince Michael of Kent welcomed everyone and congratulated the Society on reaching its anniversary and, in addition, awarded the Society of Genealogists’ prestigious Prince Michael Award to Alex Graham of Wall to Wall Television.IMG_8270

The Prince Michael Award is made for distinguished and outstanding services to Genealogy.

It is not given lightly. Previous recipients have included The Family Record Centre, The Genealogical Society of Utah, Family Tree Magazine and Free BMD; all organizations that have joined the Society of Genealogists in broadening the appeal of genealogy.

Prince Michael said “ I am delighted to be here personally to present the award this evening to Alex Graham and his television production company Wall to Wall who make the popular BBC television series Who Do You Think You Are? Since it first appeared in 2004 the series has made a growing UK audience of some 5-6 million viewers aware that family history can be engaging and can reveal fascinating and often emotional stories. The show has in turn led a vast numbers of intrigued family historians to genealogy websites and to archives; encouraging them to go on their own genealogical adventure. Now the format has been extended to the Netherlands, Ireland and the United States. So this award is made to Alex Graham and Wall to Wall in appreciation of raising awareness of family history worldwide.”IMG_8506

The Society of Genealogists is the oldest genealogical organization in the country. Founded in 1911 it is the premier genealogical society and National Library and Education Centre for Family History

Prince Michael of Kent has been Patron of the Society of Genealogists since 2005, having formerly been its President from 1978.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Society of Genealogists Centenary Celebrations 1911-2011

Judging by the smiles and nice comments I think everyone who attended the Society of Genealogists’ Centenary celebrations over the weekend of 6-7th May had a very good time. On a beautiful spring evening SoG members, staff, friends and guests attended the Anniversary Gala Dinner at the Royal Overseas League in Picadilly. The Society’s Patron HRH Prince Michael of Kent welcomed everyone and congratulated the Society on reaching its anniversary and, in addition, awarded the Society of Genealogists’ prestigious Prince Michael Award to Alex Graham of Wall to Wall Television.  The award is made for distinguished and outstanding services to genealogy

Attendees at the Gala Dinner included our President Patric Dickinson, Clarenceux King of Arms; Vice Presidents Dr Peter Spufford and Dr Elizabeth Hallam Smith; Centenary Sponsors Findmypast (along with parent company Bright Solid and sister company GenesReunited); SoG Chairman Colin Allen and fellow Trustees; SoG Chief Executive June Perin and staff and ,of course, SoG Fellows and Members. Guests included Sara Rapson (General Registrar and CEO Identity and Passport Office); Alan and Terri Packer and Patrick and Jennifer Kearon (from the Church of the Latter Day Saints), various representatives of the genealogical online community and websites, and editors of the genealogical press.


Our President offered the Loyal Toast and cut the Society’s birthday cake. Colin Chapman, Chairman of the Fellows, toasted the Society; congratulating it on its past and wishing it well in the future. An after dinner auction of gifts and prizes generously donated by various suppliers raised funds for the Society. Everyone looked very grand either in black tie or party frock though I am sure many of the ladies, like me, welcomed the opportunity to ease out of heels and relax with a drink afterwards !! The Royal Overseas League was a lovely venue and made us very welcome.

The conference the following day was equally enjoyable (especially as there was no need to wear high heels). After being formally welcomed by Colin Allen and Debra Chatfield from Findmypast the delegates were eager to hear the Society’s programme of talks. Along with the centenary sponsorship from Findmypast, that, amongst other things, provided for the venue and many of the gifts for the conference bags for each delegate; the Society of Genealogists was able to provide many of the conference speakers with the support of the Halstead Trust.

The speakers were varied and interesting. Dr Nick Barrat challenged family historians to preserve and make use of their own personal family stories and archives for the future of genealogy. Schelly Dardashti showed how DNA can help solve genealogical questions using the Iberian Ashkanaz DNA project as an example and throwing in a tremendous amount of history of Jewish and European migration for good measure. Dr Colin Chapman made sure everyone had a good understanding of the history of the Society of Genealogists and his chairman Dr Peter Spufford encouraged everyone present to buy the recently published History of the Society of Genealogists . Dr Bruce Durie spoke on the future of genealogy education. Despite becoming a father only the night before,  Jeremy Goldsmith came to explain problems and challenges of using parish registers in the 21st century. Sharon Hintzte gave a thought provoking outline of the preservation of genealogies in older cultures and suggested that the future genealogy memories will be recorded on our mobile phones and in digital web archives no bigger than a freight container. Dr Gill Draper warned of over reliance on the technology of genealogy though acknowledged that it has made innovations in family reconstruction before the 18th century. Alex Tritton showed the future of genealogical communication with blogs and other media to record and promote family stories. Else Churchill outlined some lesser used, but name – rich resources, for researching in the Long 18th Century while Beverley Charles Rowe explained the technical intricacies of automated name linkage within genealogical databases. IMG_8026

Everyone came together at the end of the conference to hear Juliet Nicolson’s evocation of the events in the long hot summer of 1911 in which the Society of Genealogists was founded. She spoke eloquently and was very amusing and unsurprisingly there was a long queue to have copies of her books signed. Colin Allen presented gifts to Lori Weinstein, June Perrin and Else Churchill for their hard work as organisers of the weekend’s events. While some delegates called it a day, most stayed on for the conference banquet afterwards. After dinner we heard David Fletcher’s wry and very amusing tales about two diarists and their experiences as Mormon genealogists in England in 1889 and in the 1940s. Later we sat back, drank some more wine and ended the day being serenaded by one of Roy Stockdill’s favourite singers Catherine Howe who left us all feeling very mellow indeed.

We do hope everyone enjoyed the weekend. We did. We have posted albums of photographs from the Gala Dinner and Centenary conference onto the Society’s Facebook page.!/societyofgenealogists?sk=photos

Please let us know if you like them and do take the opportunity to like the SoG Facebook fan page too – we need more friends. If anyone who attended the event would like larger copies of these pictures they can either be found along with many others on the official photographer’s website details of which you have.

Technorati Tags: , ,

 Page 7 of 21  « First  ... « 5  6  7  8  9 » ...  Last »