Some 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.
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.