Society of Genealogists 2013 Events Programme

The 2013 events programme including lectures, courses, visits, walks & talks  is now online. Events are now searchable by date, type of event and also by topic.

To view the programme and book an event, SoG members should first log into the MySoG  area of the website in order to enter the online shop and make bookings.  Non-members are also welcome to attend events, and the programme can be viewed by visiting our online shop.  Please remember that online bookings help reduce the society’s administration costs and will save you a postage charge.  You may also pay by cheque, payable to the “Society of Genealogists” (please remember to add .60 for postage or enclose a SASE) or by telephone: 020 7553 3290.

Do you have a question? email the events department

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New BBC TV show: Surprise friends/family by restoring a treasured item that has gone to wear and tear

Pocket watch, savonette-type. Italiano: Orolog...

Pocket watch, savonette-type. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Society of Genealogists has just received this press release concerning an interesting new BBC TV programme called Restorers. Sounds interesting and we are sure there are family historians out there with some wonderful family heirlooms in need of some TLC.


The Restorers Press Release:


Boundless Productions seeking people with treasured items they’d like to restore for new BBC programme

Across the country there are thousands of treasured items now going to rust and ruin in lofts, garages and sheds, which, with a little work, could be brought back to life.

Have you seen an item like this? Is there a special item you would like to have restored for a relative, friend or loved one as a surprise?

TV company Boundless Productions is keen to hear from people who have an object of great personal importance that they’d like to restore as part of a prospective new series for the BBC.

The Restorers team are on the hunt for potential stories now and would love to hear from any readers who have an item of great sentimental value, which, with a little magic, could be restored to its former glory.

This could be anything, big or small, from childhood toys to favourite ornaments, pocket watches, grandfather clocks, vintage televisions and radios, rusty bikes, ageing armchairs, old family portraits, musical instruments, broken Juke boxes, a treasured pinball machine or even a classic car!

It could be something that’s special to you that you’d love to be restored or an object you’d like to restore as a surprise for the well-deserving owner.

To get in touch or find out more please email or call 0207 861 8081 and leave a message. Standard geographic charges from landlines and mobiles will apply.

Alternatively here’s a link to the BBC website for details of how be involved with the show

Please send photos of your objects if possible.

See data-protection terms at:

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Sporting ancestors: some resources in the Society of Genealogists’ library-Part 3: Rowers

Congratulations to all Team GB medalists but especially the Rowers who have done us proud over the last few days.




Whether your ancestor was in the Olympics or not, it is hoped that this series of articles which first appeared in the Genealogists’ Magazine will give you an insight into some of the sources we hold in the library to help you trace sporting forbears. If you have any relevant books on sportspeople that you would like to donate to our collection they would be gratefully received. The SoG shelf mark for each item is noted within square brackets at the end of the title

Tim Lawrence, Head of Library Services


Sporting ancestors part 3: Rowing

A particularly useful resource in the Society of Genealogists Library is a list of Obituaries in the Rowing Almanack [by date of birth & by surname 1887, 1895, 1899-1900, 1903-04, 1906-07, 1909, 1911-15, 1921-23, 1926, 1978, 1980-81, 1983]  compiled by C J Cracknell [PR/SPO]. This index (in both alphabetical and chronological order) gives the rowers’ date of death, age, and the year in which their obituary appears , although the library does not hold the almanac itself.

For individual rowing clubs the library holds A short history of the Gainsborough Rowing Club, 1863-1923 [LI/L 11]. The Oxford & Cambridge boat race 1829-1953 [UNI/OXF] gives a full listing of all blues who have rowed in the race.

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Sporting ancestors: some resources in the Society of Genealogists’ library – Part 1: Olympians

The holding of the 30th Olympic Games in London this summer is a good opportunity to reflect on past achievements of British sportsmen and women, particularly if they happen to be our ancestors


Whether your ancestor was in the Olympics or not, it is hoped that this series of articles  on resources in the Society’s Library which first appeared in the Genealogists’ Magazine will you an insight into some of the sources we hold in the library to help you trace sporting forbears. If you have any relevant books on sportspeople that you would like to donate to our collection they would be gratefully received.

Tim Lawrence, Head of Library Services


Sporting Ancestors Part 1. Olympians.

It can be argued that the seeds of the modern Olympic Games in Britain can be traced back to 17th century Gloucestershire. Indeed the British Olympic Association, in their successful bid for the games, stated that:

‘In 1612 in the tiny village of Chipping Campden, Robert Dover opened the first ‘Cotswold Olimpicks’, an annual sporting fair that honoured the ancient Games of Greece. Those early ‘Olimpick’ competitors were as remote as you could imagine from the Olympic stars of today, and the ‘sports’ included singlestick, wrestling, jumping in sacks, dancing and even shin-kicking. But whatever the eccentric nature of the event, this was the pre-dawn of the Olympic Movement, and the Cotswold Games began the historical thread in Britain that was ultimately to lead to the creation of the modern Olympics.’

You can read more about Robert Dover, his ancestry, and the ‘Cotswold Olympicks’ in the book Robert Dover [1582-1652] & the Cotswold games (SoG Library shelf mark FH/DOV).

The Society’s library holds a number of useful sources for tracing our sporting forebears, even if they never made it to the Olympic games, and this article gives an introduction to these. The shelf mark for each item listed is given in square brackets after the title, so that it can be easily located. 

Works covering all sports

To find out if you have an Olympian in your family tree the best starting point is Ian Buchanan’s excellent British Olympians – a hundred years of gold medallists [PR/SPO]. This lists every British person who has competed in the Olympics since they began, together with their dates of birth and death and the Olympiads/events in which they competed. In addition it gives full biographical details of all Gold Medal winners.

The first edition of Who’s who in sport [SoG Library shelf mark PR/SPO], published in 1935, gives the biographies of several thousand leading sportsmen and women, together with a brief section on the history, organisation and records of each sport covered. The information it provides can be supplemented with the Oxford Companion to Sports & Games [SoG Library shelf mark PR/SPO], which gives an alphabetical listing of prominent sportspeople, as well as further information about their sports. A more recent publication is the 1994 edition of Who’s who in British sport [Apply to library staff].

Biographical works about individual sportspeople include items such as My Sporting Memories by the bare knuckle boxer, footballer and rower Bernard John Angle [SoG Library shelf mark PR/SPO]. If your ancestor was a sportsman at Oxford or Cambridge then you may well find reference to him in Fifty years of sport at Oxford, Cambridge & the great public schools [ SoG Library shelf mark UNI/OXF] which was published in 1913. This covers all the major sports at the universities and includes a biographical section.

If you would like to know more about the clothes that your sporting ancestor would have worn then

English costume for sports & outdoor recreation from the 16th to the 19th centuries [ SoG Library shelf mark TB/POR 29] should prove useful.


The Society of Genealogists will be posting further articles about resources in our remarkable genealogical library relating to specific sports and sportsmen and sportswomen throughout the Olympics.


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Italian Civil Registration Records 1802 to 1940 Awaiting Volunteers

I’m indebted to Thomas MacEntee and Geneabloggers for the following information posted: 16 Jul 2012 10:09 AM PDT

FamilySearch launched a historic partnership with the National Archives of Italy in December 2011 to digitally preserve and index its civil registration records (birth, marriage, and death) for all states from 1802 to 1940. Since the project launch more than 24 million images have been published, and 4 million names have been made searchable on
But there are 115 million historic Italian documents with over 500 million names remaining to index and publish. Tens of thousands of volunteers are needed. To meet this opportunity,

FamilySearch is requesting help from indexers and arbitrators who speak or read Italian or a closely related language, such as Spanish, or who are willing to learn a handful of simple Italian words and phrases to help facilitate the initiative.

Descendants of Italians and Italy historic and genealogy societies are especially invited to participate to help accelerate the publication of this valuable record set. Interested individuals, societies, or groups should visit to learn more. To search the completed Italian records online and to learn more about reading Italian records, visit



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