Society of Genealogists Wins Family History Award

banner1 Society of Genealogists Wins Family History Award

In commemoration of its 100th Anniversary the Society of Genealogists has been awarded the Julian Bickersteth Memorial Medal by the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies. The award is made to persons or organisations who have made notable and exemplary contributions to genealogy and  family history studies in the judgement of and at the discretion of the Institute’s Trustees .


Colin Allen Chairman of The Society of Genealogists accepts the Bickersteth Memorial Medal from 1 Society of Genealogists Wins Family History AwardSociety Chairman Colin Allen received the award on behalf of the Society  from Dr Richard Baker (Principal of the IHGS) and the Rt. Hon. The Earl of Lytton (President of the IHGS) at a ceremony in Canterbury on 23 July.

 

Kenneth Julian Faithful Bickersteth was born at Ripon on the 5th July 1885, the third son of the late Dr Samuel Bickersteth. Educated at Rugby, Christchurch, Oxford and Wells Theological College, Julian was ordained in 1909. He came to Canterbury as Archdeacon of Maidstone in 1943, having had a long career in education, both in England and Australia. He died on 16th October 1962, having spent his life “doing good just by being what he was….”, as was said by one well qualified to judgeCollin Allen Chairman of the Society of Genealogists accepts the Bickersteth Medal thumb Society of Genealogists Wins Family History Award.

Julian Bickersteth’s interest in education and the young never waned and it was from these very real promptings that his idea for The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies arose as a means of investigating the history and structure of family life, which he rightly looked upon as forming the foundation of Christian civilisation. He left the realisation of his aims to Cecil Humphery-Smith, his godson, whom he had invited to form a school for family history studies in 1957. An exhibition of artefacts of family life was brought to Canterbury in 1960 and Julian lived to see the foundation of the Institute in Northgate in February 1961.  In 1964, the Institute was registered as an independent charitable Trust and Cecil Humphery- Smith provided funds so that the Trustees could make an appropriate annual award in memory of the man who was the inspiration and sponsor of the Institute, Julian Bickersteth,

 

 

 

 

medal2 thumb1 Society of Genealogists Wins Family History AwardThe Medal, designed by the donor in the form of a medieval armorial seal, has the arms of Bickersteth flanked by the Institute’s heraldic badge on the face and an heroic garland of oak leaves surrounding the recipient’s name on the reverse. It is cast from the original die in gilded silver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Institute’s Trustees have awarded the Julian Bickersteth Memorial Medal to the following individuals at dinner or luncheon parties held in Canterbury, in London and elsewhere.

Sir Anthony Richard Wagner, KCB, KCVO
John Philip Brooke-Little, CVO
Dr Peter Laslett and Dr E.A. Wrigley
Professor Robert Cecil Gale
Frederick Humphery-Smith, MBE
Donald John Steel
Dr William Urry
Charles Wilfred Scott-Giles, OBE
The Earl Mountbatten of Burma
Francis W. Steer
Dr F.G. (Derick) Emmison, MBE
Sir Andrew Noble, Baronet, KCMG
Lieutenant Colonel Iain Spencer Swinnerton, TD
Leon Jéquier
Major Francis Jones, CVO
Peter C. Bartrum
Sir Colin Cole, KCB, KCVO
Sir Iain Moncrieffe of that Ilk, CVO, QC
Dr Mark Fitch, CBE
G.D. Squibb, MVO, QC
Jiri Louda
George Redmonds
The Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal, KG, GCVO, CB, CBE, MC, FSA    Cecil R.J. Humphery-Smith
Dr Bruno B. Heim, Archbishop of Xanthus
Roger Harmignies
Dr Arlene Eakle
The Hon. Sir George Bellew, KCB, KCVO
Michael Maclagan Esq., CVO
Terrick Fitzhugh
Szabolcs de Vajay
Dr Michael P. Siddons
Jeremy S.W. Gibson
Dr Jean-Claude Loutsch
The Genealogical Society of Utah
Brian Frith Esq., MBE
The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, CB, OBE, MC, FSA
Gerard Joseph Brault
Clifford Reginald Webb
John Archibald Goodall
GENUKI
Robert Douglas Watt OStJ., MA, FHSC, FHS
Professor David George Hey, MA, PhD
Baron Hervé Pinoteau
Dr Nick Barratt

biographical details of recipients of the award up to 2001 can be found on the GENUKI pages http://www.genuki.org.uk/org/awards/bickersteth/recipients.pdf

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The Society of Genealogists is pleased to announce the forthcoming President’s Lecture in celebration of the Society’s 100th anniversary.

On the occasion of the Society’s Centenary, Patric Dickinson takes the opportunity to offer some reflections on the many changes that have taken place in the world of genealogy during the fifty years since Sir Anthony Wagner’s lecture ‘Genealogy and the Common Man’ (given as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 1961), a period that has witnessed the growth of family history from a hobby enjoyed by a small minority to a popular activity pursued by millions of people worldwide. Patric Dickinson cuts the cake at the Society of Genealogists Centenary Gala Dinner thumb Society of Genealogists Presidents Centenary Lecture   Genealogy: Our Favourite Insanity

With Patric Dickinson, LVO, MA, FSG, Clarenceux King of Arms and President of the Society of Genealogists

Venue: The Swedenborg Society, 20-21 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TH

Tuesday 18th October at 7pm . Buffet & Wine . Tickets: £17.50*

Online booking at www.sog.org.uk (events & lectures section).

 

Alternatively contact our events co-ordinator on:
020 7553 3290 or email: events@sog.org.uk

14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, London EC1M 7BA
Tel: 020 7251 8799
Fax: 020 7250 1800

 

*Ticket price includes a donation for buffet & wine.

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The first meeting of The National Archives User Advisory Group (TNA UAG) took place on Wednesday 22 June. Draft terms of reference were circulated and these are under discussion. The draft terms of reference have already been published and are for comment on the Society of Genealogists blog  and will presumably be available online through TNA when they are formally accepted.

The names and contact information for each representative will be published on the TNA UAG web pages  along with minutes and papers of the group’s quarterly meetings. However all the representatives have undertaken to represent, feedback to and communicate the UAG’s activities – so here goes.

The meeting’s first agenda was pretty much a case of getting to know each other (though many already did – this is very much an off-shoot of the more informal monthly users’ forum though with more users from the Map and Large Document Room and academics.) Chaired jointly by Jeff James, Director of Operations and Services and Chris Mumby, Acting Director of Customer and Business Development the meeting was set in the context of TNA’s business plan for 2011-2015 (already published online). This is scary as it shows TNA’s 2014/5 spending allocation £9m below that for 2011/12. TNA has to produce a lot more for less though Jeff and Chris are very gung ho.

Feeling suitably subdued we then looked at a very dense document relating to proposals for a User Participation Strategy – which is a technical term apparently for volunteers’ projects. We saw how prospective projects were analysed for their benefit and potential to the business of the organisation. Having gone through this process eight proposals are to be carried forward including projects to create user generated catalogue descriptive content; digitisation of images for the Caribbean and other material from the Commonwealth Office pictures and conservation projects. Having decided on these projects TNA intends to bring the User Advisory Group in to discuss methodology and approach at this “strategic” level. Though as usual, TNA is establishing a “Board” to manage (or provide governance) for the various projects.

I was amused to see how this meeting clearly showed how a group of professional civil servants have seamlessly taken on board the wishes and whims of their new political masters as I can’t tell you how many times the phrases “fits in with the Big Society etc” were bandied at his point. But TNA has always had to be pragmatic and work in the political context it finds itself and I make no criticism of civil servants doing what civil servants have to do. But it can feel a bit “Yes Minister” at times.

We then learnt more about a project to digitise and accession digital images of a subset of the Home Guards records to act as a pilot for the full Home Guard collection of 4.6 million records. The decision to access only the digital images of these documents and not the originals has been somewhat controversial. There has been public consultation about the transfer of these and three other large Ministry of Defence Collections and much discussion at higher level to get to this point (I am also on the TNA Advisory Council and contributed to the MoD consultation paper in November 2010 on behalf of the Society of Genealogists and the British Genealogical Record Users Committee). But it’s down to TNA project managers to make sure TNA does this project properly. It has to ensure the digitisation is done by a commercial partner to the standards it and its customers require. The HG records for Durham have been chosen for the pilot as it’s a small enough collection, but representative of most of the records and potential problems that might arise. The User Advisory Group will get to look at these “closed” records and comment of how they might be used and what searchable fields of data should be captured. The fields proposed are:

Name – surname and forename(s), Date of birth, Area or County, Place of Birth where given and address.

Once UAG members see the documents we might have other suggestion to add such as occupation or battalion.

I remember this same process 10 years ago with the 1901 census and I know that whatever advice we give will be tempered against what the commercial partner will consider to be practical and commercially viable. So the Advisory User Group can advise but whether this advice is heeded. in the end will be down to TNA and its partners.

The meeting concluded with TNA giving some rushed but tantalising indications of Public Service developments – British Nationality Cards will be made more readily available, Work will continue to scan and make digitally available material from film. We hear there are plans for TNA to use web chats or instant messaging – presumably as part of the advice and help services. UCL’s collection of rare books will be hosted at TNA while it is being refurbished and it’s quite likely that the London LDF Family History Centre’s collection of films and computers will also be housed at TNA while the centre closes for a 9 month refurbishment plan.

Do look out for the formal minutes of the meeting when they are published by TNA http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/get-involved/user-advisory-group.htm

I’ll keep you posted about what we learn about the Home Guard records. The next meeting of The National Archives’ User Advisory Group will be on 6 September

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

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

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.

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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.

IMG 8045 thumb Society of Genealogists Centenary Celebrations 1911 2011

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 thumb Society of Genealogists Centenary Celebrations 1911 2011

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.

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.190039311043331.47445.145237118856884#!/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.

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