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

© 2011, Society of Genealogists. All rights reserved.

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