“Oh my ears and whiskers – how late it is?”

white rabbit 200x300 Another successful Society of Genealogists Family History Show at Who Do You Think You Are? Live 26 28 Feb 2010

The next workshop is about to start. Has the speaker arrived – does her laptop work? Will the celebrities finish their shows on time so our next speaker can set up? Where did I put my notes for my talk? Have all the experts found their way to their allotted desks on time? Oops we have two people booked for advice at the same time – find a quick stand-in who can help with French military history or Dutch ecclesiastical records without the aid of Google. Where’s the key to the lockable cabinet?  – we’re running out of membership forms. Quick sign them up now. Life dissolves into a blur at the largest genealogical show in the world and we spend a lot of time scampering about but it’s all huge fun, if not a little bit stressful. You may have seen several of our staff and volunteers running at full pelt throughout the weekend but at the end of the day everyone had a great smile on their face because all the hard work has paid off.

A lot goes into preparing for the show. A small team of staff and trustees prepare our stand, create posters and displays focusing on the Treasures of the Society of Genealogists Library;  arrange how we look after new member sign ups, run the technology and deal with volunteers. Thanks to the team everything was ready for setup. We even remembered to take the ladder to build the SoG Tower.

We plan 100 talks for all levels of interest over the three days in the Who Do You Think You Are? Theatre and SoG workshops. They are always extremely well attended and this year we had Welsh and Irish key themes and speakers. Many of the speakers are exhibitors at the show but some come from other record offices and libraries to help and most are SoG members. So thanks to all the speakers who volunteered talks. You were all so professional and unflappable – and everyone finished on time!!

P1000925 150x150 Another successful Society of Genealogists Family History Show at Who Do You Think You Are? Live 26 28 Feb 2010

Society of Genealogists workshop at Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2010

In addition to our speakers, over 160 SoG volunteers help out. Most work on the SoG Ask the Experts Area where over 1600 individual people who booked twenty minute sessions received individual help and advice. The queues snaked round the gallery yet everyone remained calm and dependable. A special thanks to the Census Detectives and Jean Bunting who wheeled up in her buggy despite a broken leg. Thank-you all!!

The Library staff and volunteers were on hand to answer questions on our own stand and do look ups on the library catalogue. The Library second hand books stall had some good items this year and brought a tidy sum for the librarian to spend on new acquisitions. The membership secretary tells me we broke all records for new members sign and as usual she dragooned her partner to help out  by handing out  membership special offer leaflets because that’s the only way she can get to see him on his birthday! How’s that for devotion?

P1000937 300x225 Another successful Society of Genealogists Family History Show at Who Do You Think You Are? Live 26 28 Feb 2010

Generally attendance figures seemed higher though, I haven’t had final numbers yet. Friday was certainly busy and visitors had to be held outside briefly as the hall apparently reached capacity on Saturday and the venue had to arrange to open up more fire safety evacuation routes in case of emergency.  The SoG Family History Show was bigger this year with more exhibitors and tables booked. An American contingent including amongst others Boston University and the New England Historic Genealogical Society flew the Stars and Stripes and are very much looking forward to the screening  of the USA version of the Who Do You Think You Are? TV show. It was good to meet up with our Dutch equivalent the Central Bureau voor Genealogie. The DNA workshops, military memorabilia stands and photo galleries were all much bigger and attracted lots of people. New databases and books were launched on several of the commercial stands as well as an intriguing new DNA test from Familytree DNA  based on autosoma dan which allows comparisoms to be made between cousins  rather  than purely on eiether Y-DNA which is only passed down the male surname line or MtDNA which mostly passes down the female line.

I never get enough time to visit all the stands I want to see nor to speak to everyone I should. So sorry if conversation was fleeting, but I did find time to send some tweets on Twitter reporting our news. The most exciting of which is that Your Family Tree Magazine  readers awarded the Society of Genealogists the Best Book Publisher of the Year 2009  award for our My Ancestor Was … series  and the guide to the most important record launch of last year How to Get the Best from the 1911 Census by John Hanson. Thanks Guys.

 

P1000924 300x225 Another successful Society of Genealogists Family History Show at Who Do You Think You Are? Live 26 28 Feb 2010

Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2010Society of Genealogists Stand at Who Do You Think You are? Live 2010

P10009431 300x225 Another successful Society of Genealogists Family History Show at Who Do You Think You Are? Live 26 28 Feb 2010

Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2010

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The Society of Genealogists calls for the published electoral register to be retained

 

The following response has been sent  in response to the  the Ministry of Justice Proposal for reform of the published electoral register for England and Wales.

 

Kirsten O’Connell

Ministry of Justice

Elections and Democracy Division

Floor 5, 5.18                                           

102 Petty France

London, SW1H 9AJ

Dear Ms O’Connell

Edited Electoral Register Consultation (ref: CP 46/90)

This response is made on behalf of the Trustees and members of the Society of Genealogists, the leading national learned society concerned with family history and genealogy and their associated social science disciplines. It is the largest society of its kind in the UK, with nearly 12,000 members.

The Society campaigns for the integrity and preservation of records relevant to current and future research and optimum access to such records. Members of the Society are all researching family history, mostly as amateur hobbyists, though a significant number are professional researchers. Hence the Society’s main, but by no means exclusive, concern is for access to records and genealogical information on behalf of genealogists who are researching their family history and individual ancestors and relatives. It is not insignificant that within the Society’s archives can found be the correspondence with the Home Office reflecting the Society’s success in making the 1841 and 1851 censuses available for public inspection in 1912. Since its foundation in the previous year, the Society has continued to lobby on behalf of the genealogical community and takes an active role in rescuing documents that are of interest to family historians but which have been discarded by other larger and often public archives. It seeks to influence record holders so that the particular needs of family historians are recognised.

Vision for organisation
The Society of Genealogists seeks to promote a genealogical community in which everyone has convenient, affordable access to records, finding aids, knowledge and skills necessary to conduct authoritative research in family history.

Comments on the consultation

Genealogy is an ever increasing activity. Millions subscribe to online databases of genealogical information and post their own family information online. A huge number wish to find living relatives, inspired by popular television programmes such as Heir Hunters of Who Do You Think You Are?

 Also, often when searching for these relatives, a name is all genealogists have. This is what makes the current edited Electoral Roll even more valuable because it allows a search to be made without knowing a location, unlike directory enquiries. Plus one can search by the full name of any adult living in a household, again unlike directory enquiries. There will be no substitute database if the edited Electoral Roll is taken away.

As the edited Electoral Register is so important to tracing living relatives and the preservation of documents is so essential to genealogists, we do not support any moves that would stop the collation of the edited Electoral Roll and remove this useful service from our users. Therefore, we are strongly in favour of retaining the edited Electoral Register in its current form.

Family historians are well aware of the balance to be struck between the desire to know about one’s family and respect for a person’s privacy. Hence most family historians comply with the advice given by The Society of Genealogists that they do not publish personal information about living individuals without permission.

The current edited electoral register is integral to for search for family members and is not abused by genealogists. Hence we feel that the register should be retained in its current form in line with option 6 of the consultation – that there should be improved guidance for the public about the Edited Register so those who wish can  be made aware that they may opt out as required and give an opportunity for that information to be removed or corrected.

Else Churchill

Genealogist, The Society of Genealogists

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London Principal Probate Office Closed 19th & 22nd February

 

Please be advised that if you are planning to visit the London Probate Department located at:
 
PRFD, First Avenue House
42-49 High Holborn
Ground Floor
Holborn London
England
WC1V 6NP

The Probate Office will be moving from the ground floor to the 7th floor between 19 February and 22nd February 2010. To facilitate the move the office will be closed on Friday 19 February and Monday 22 February.
 
The London Probate Registry is open to the public from Monday to Friday between 10.00am and 4.30pm and appointments for interview at London are arranged between Monday and Friday between the hours of 10.00am and 3.50pm, depending on demand.

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Join the Society of Genealogists at Who Do You Think You Are? Live stand 1025

Special Show Offer. £10 off Membership Subscriptions!!

The Society will be waiving its joining administration fee (usually £10) for anyone who wants to become a member of the SoG at the Society of Genealogists Family HistoryShow which is an integral part of Who Do You Think You Are? Live at Olympia February 26-28 2010. 

This means your first year’s UK subscription will be £45 instead of the usual £55 (£27 for overseas members instead of £37). In addition we are including a free 2G SoG usb memory stick as a welcome present to all our new members – perfect for downloading or backing up your family history files. Hurry while stocks last.

Come and see the SoG at stand 1025 where you can fill out the membership application form and meet our staff and volunteers.

SoG Stand 2009 300x225 Join the Society of Genealogists at Who Do You Think You Are? Live stand 1025

Society of Genealogists at Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2009

Infomation about membership benefits can be found on the Society of Genealogists Website

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Natalie Ceenie steps down as TNA Chief Executive

Natalie Ceeney CBE, Chief Executive of The National Archives, announced today (Monday 11 January) that she will be leaving in mid-March, to take on a new role as Chief Executive of the Financial Ombudsman Service.

natalie ceeney Natalie Ceenie steps down as TNA Chief Executive

Natalie Ceeney

Natalie has been Chief Executive since 2005, and the past four and a half years has seen some significant changes to TNA under her leadership. The National Archives has moved firmly towards the digital age and concentration of digital information management, while providing access to its collection and expertise to an increasingly wide and diverse audience.

The Ministry of Justice will be handling the recruitment of Natalie’s successor through open competition. In the intervening period the Ministry has asked Oliver Morley, currently Director of Customer and Business Development, to take over as interim Chief Executive. In his current role, Oliver is responsible for customer, product and service strategy, partnership and business development, trading services, and marketing and communications. His team led the launch of the online 1911 census and many other leading historical content services via the relaunched nationalarchives.gov.uk. Prior to The National Archives, Oliver was at Thomson Reuters, with global responsibility for improving information services for customers.

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