banner1 The Society of Genealogists at Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2011   show report

The Society of Genealogists again celebrated a successful weekend at Olympia as Who Do You Think You Are? Live reached its fifth year. 

The Society’s centenary celebrations were launched in style at a reception hosted by the Society’s centenary sponsors findmypast.co.uk and we were delighted that our new book The Society of Genealogists: A Hundred Years of Family History arrived just in time to take to the show. An interview with Debra Chatfield from FMP talking  to Chris Paton about the Society of Genealogists Data online is available on Youtube

As usual the membership team and volunteers manned the SoG’s stand (newly designed for this year) to sign up new members and tell everyone about the Society. I don’t think we broke last year’s record for sign ups but we came pretty close which, considering the economy, was a considerable achievement. So a big thank-you to all at the stand and of course to those who were kept busy selling on the bookstall. The new titles (the SoG History and Jayne Shrimpton’s Getting the Most from Family Pictures) seemed to be well appreciated and sold well. I hear SoG Librarian Tim Lawrence was quietly pleased with the quality of books available on his second hand books stall and he and his team raised a nice sum for the Library.

Away from the SoG stand the new space for the Society’s Ask the Experts Area in the upper gallery was well appreciated. We managed the queues well and helped as many people as ever before. Every time I rushed by I saw a huge numbers at the tables with all our expert volunteers so thanks to everyone who helped Lori and her team in that area. However, I do hope we can arrange for that big new space to be a little warmer next year.

The SoG workshops were well attended with many selling out and lots of people standing outside listening in. Some of the handouts and slides from the speakers at WDYTYA?Live 2011 are available on the Family History Show Pages of the Society of Genealogists’ website

Spreading the workshops out in the Upper Gallery was good for the audience and speakers but did mean I had to sprint from one to the other during the handover breaks between talks to thank all my speakers and make sure everyone was happy. I think they were and as usual all the talks were of an excellent quality. I am particularly grateful to the overseas speakers from New Zealand, Israel and America who travelled to take part and it was great to meet so many eminently knowledgeable speakers. However if you missed me in the blur as I strode purposefully past you know where I was heading.

The Society of Genealogists’ Family History show remains an integral part of WDYTYA?Live and the stall holders seemed as busy as ever. It struck me that a few voices disappeared as the stall holders talked to thousands of visitors. We were delighted to see the return of some societies who haven’t been able to attend in past years.

So what news did we hear at the show? Brand Events,who organised the event for the last 5 years, has sold its major share of the show to BBC Magazines Bristol who will be managing the event from now on and who have lots of new plans to take the event further. I didn’t have time to enquire on what’s new on all the stands so I am grateful to fellow bloggers and inveterate news hounds Dick Eastman and Chris Paton for posting show news round ups so early. The British Library announced its digitisation of the India Collections. The Genealogists is adding war memorials and Deceased Online has added Scottish MIs. Findmypast will be adding transcriptions of Scottish census records only. The trends for the future look to be technology and its potential for enhancing the family history experience so look out for new workshop content and more social network elements for next year’s WDYTYA?Live 2012. See you there.

 We will be posting some of our own pictures  from the show in due course but here are a few pictures taken by our friend Chris Paton and Pictures from Dick Eastman posted on their blogs

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“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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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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The Society of Genealogists Family History Show workshop programme  at Who Do You Think You Are ?Live 2010 has now been published on the Show website

The workshop timetables show when the Society of Genealogists experts, local societies and exhibitors will be speaking. There are talks for every level of interest in family history.

Tickets are free at the show but some advance boookings are avalable from the show website at £2 each.

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