Events at the Society of Genealogists for 2016

The Society of Genealogists has released its new 2016 Events programme is now online and bookable.

Listed below are events taking place at the Society of Genealogists in January. Visit their website if you want to find out further information about each event, as well as events taking place during the remainder of the year.

If  you are a member of the Society of Genealogists and are booking online, then you should remember to log in first, in order to receive the member discount. Non-members are  also welcome to attend events, at the full price. Events can also be booked by telephone (Tuesday-Thursday & Saturdays), at the number listed below. All events take place at their premises in London, unless otherwise noted.


Wednesday, 13 January  14:00 – Discovering Discovery: Using The National Archives Website and Catalogue

Discovery is The National Archives online catalogue and holds more than 32 million descriptions of records held by The National Archives and more than 2,500 archives across the country. Millions of records are available for download, find out what can be found in the catalogue and how to get the best from the website.

A one-hour lecture with Guy Grannum, Discovery Product Manager at The National Archives. Free of charge, but must be pre-booked.


Thursday, 14 January     18:00-20:00 – Stage 1 Evening Skills Course (10 weeks)

The Society’s successful family history skills course begins again with the first ten-week series of classes for those who are new to family history or who have had a little experience and want to build upon their initial progress. Our team of professional genealogists will introduce the records and illustrate how they should best be used for the study of family history. Publications, electronic finding aids and the internet will, of course, be included along with all the basic sources needed to start research. Topics will include how to get started, how to best search the census, newspapers, probate, parish registers, Non-Anglican family History and more.

With Else Churchill, John Hanson, Simon Fowler and Ian Waller.

Thursday evenings (last class 17 March)   Cost 175.00/140.00, Please see further information about Stage 2 and Stage 3 courses, on our website.


Saturday, 16 January     14:00-17:00 – Researching Irish Family Life in the Famine Years   

80% of today’s English people have Irish ancestry and this seminar looks at Irish lives in the rural west of Ireland in the famine years between about 1800 and 1850.

In the first talk, we will look at how people lived; their houses, possessions, food, work, education, entertainment, etc.  It touches on politics, social attitudes and the reasons for mass poverty and emigration.

The second talk discusses how to use such facts as these to build your own family history in places, like Ireland, where few real records survive.  It looks at subjects such as additional places to search and how to follow leads, how to put the story together and to what extent you can judge events of 200 years ago by modern standards.  It opens up a whole area of family history beyond the collecting of birth, marriage, death and census data. If you have just a few facts, this seminar will start you on a family quest that will be engrossing, interesting and, with luck, extremely rewarding.

A half-day course with Stephen Lally, Cost 20.00/16.00


Wednesday, 20 January   14:00 – Copyright for Family History     

Copyright applies to photographs, diaries, paintings, film clips and many other works.  This talk will aim to cover some of the issues you might face with copyright works in your family history, including how long copyright lasts, when you might or might not need permission to use the works, and what you can do if you cannot find the right holder and would like to copy the work.  This talk will be especially useful for those considering publication of their family history.

A one-hour talk with staff from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), the official government body responsible for intellectual property rights including patents, designs, trademarks and copyright.

Cost 8.00/6.40


Saturday, 23 January      10:30-13:00Research Before Parish Registers

Pre 1600 research is an entirely different “ballgame” with many records existing that can be useful. Many such records continued beyond 1600 but are under-used. Some family historians think they have to stop researching when parish registers end. How wrong you are! Come see what is available.

A half-day course with Ian Waller, FSG  Cost 20.00/16.00


Wednesday, 27 January  14:00 – Catching up with FamilySearch 

The website is the largest family history website in the world, with billions of names across thousands of collections – and more are added monthly. Learn what new major databases have been added, how to find this information, and how to best use the website.

A one-hour lecture with Sharon Hintze. Free, but must be pre-booked.


Thursday, 28 January  14:00 – Visit: St-Mary-le-Bow Church

We will learn about the history of this famous church and the great architecture of Sir Christopher Wren, in particular relating to the famous steeple.  Inside the church we will look at the post-war rebuilding by Lawrence King, the beautiful stained glass windows by John Hayward and the other modern furnishings.

The church has many international connections, including significant ones with the USA, Norway, Germany and Australia.  It also possesses an 11th century crypt, part of it now an elegant chapel, the rest of it used as a restaurant, set among many of the original Norman arches.

With Tony Tucker   Cost 10.00/8.00 (appx 1 hour)


Saturday, 30 January  10:30-13:00 – East London, Kent & Essex in the 18th Century

The emphasis of this course will be on the movement of people, money and goods backwards and forwards between East London and the counties – the pattern being very different between Kent and Essex. Come and learn more about these areas, and subsequently more about your ancestors during this important time.

A half-day course with Derek Morris Cost 20.00/16.00


Saturday, 30 January      14:00-17:00 – Good Research Techniques

This course will take an in-depth look at the best ways to research in order to avoid making mistakes as well as how to get the most out of the records you use. We will also look at the likely causes of brick walls you may meet during the course of your research and the best way to tackle them. Sources covered include BMDs, census and parish records.

A half-day course with Celia Heritage Cost 20.00/16.00

Society of Genealogists
Society of Genealogists

Save 40% on the Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers

You may need to be quick, but here is a great special offer we spotted this week. Makes a great gift for family historians!

Save 40% on the Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers

This guide to parish registers, now in its third edition, and covering England, Scotland and Wales, is a vital, time-saving tool that has become universally known as ‘the genealogist’s bible’.

The Atlas includes the famous county ‘parish’ maps, which show pre-1832 parochial boundaries, colour-coded probate jurisdictions, starting dates of surviving registers, and churches and chapels, where relevant.

Topographical maps face each ‘parish’ map, and show the contemporary road system and other local features, to help deduce the likely movement of people beyond the searcher’s starting point.

The Index lists the parishes, with grid references to the county maps. It indicates the present whereabouts of original registers and copies, and whether a parish is included in other indexes. It also gives registration districts and census information.

Thus, in this invaluable guide, the user may quickly find answers to such questions as: Have the registers been deposited? Where may they be found? What outside dates do they cover? Have they been copied or indexed and by whom?

Get your copy for £29.95

The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers

Its November and a New Discover Your Ancestors online magazine is out

Discover Your Ancestors Periodical is a high quality monthly digital magazine delivered to your own personalised online account every month and there is a new one just out!

If you haven’t seen this publication yet then what you are missing out on is a well designed 30+ page online magazine that is packed full of stories, case studies, social history articles and research advice. This regular and affordable online magazine is highly recommended for anyone starting out in family history research, or for those with more experience but who have reached brick walls.

This month we have been reading in our copy the following great articles…

The best of times: Daniel Hewitt explores the history of horology through his Clerkenwell clockmaker ancestry
The quartermaster’s tale: Anthony Boulton presents a unique memoir of his grandfather’s WW1 experiences
From Longleat to the Tower of London: Nick Thorne delves into the history of Longleat and its illustrious inhabitants
Decoding Victorian jewellery: Victorian jewellery was rich in symbolism, as Kim Fleet explains
Woven into history: Caroline Taylor explores carpet-making in Kidderminster and resources in the town’s carpet museum
A fair hearing?: Jill Morris explains the Court of Chancery
History in the details: Jayne Shrimpton on boots

Regulars: News / Events / Books / Place in focus: Somerset / Classifieds

Discover Your Ancestors Periodical November 2015

To find out more go to their website here:

Imperial War Museum’s images of the Blitz


The Imperial War Museum has published on its website a series of 15 powerful images of the Blitz:

For those of us who were not born then, but had family who lived through this period, these images give us some idea of the shocking devastation that they lived with.

The Blitz began on Saturday 7 September when the Germans attacked London with 350 bombers escorted by 600 fighters. The attack lasted from 5pm until 4.30am the following morning. 335 tons of high explosive and 440 incendiary canisters were dropped during that raid.

On “Black Saturday”, 7 September 1940, 430 Londoners were killed and 1,600 injured. 41 German aircraft were shot down by RAF Fighter Command for a loss of 25. To escape the bombing 5,000 East Enders slept out in Epping Forest.

London was then bombed for 57 consecutive nights, and often during the daytime too. The most destructive raid was on 10/11 May 1941.That night the chamber of the House of Commons was destroyed and 1,436 civilians killed. Over 155,000 families were without gas, water or electricity and fires burned for ten days. 507 German bombers raided London that night dropping 711 tons of high explosive and 2,393 incendiary canisters.

Coventry, an important engineering and armaments producing centre, was raided on 14/15 November 1940 when 449 bombers dropped 503 tons of high explosive and 881 incendiary canisters (containing 30,000 bombs) on the city. The Cathedral was destroyed, 554 people were killed and 850 seriously injured. Despite the devastation production was back to normal in 6 weeks.

Liverpool, Birmingham, Glasgow, and Plymouth were the most heavily bombed cities after London. Glasgow had 5 major raids, the others 8. 23,602 civilians were killed during the Blitz outside London, 1940-1941.

During heavy bombings over Manchester from 22 – 24 December 1940, over 650 people were killed and 50,000 homes damaged. For the rest of the Second World War, Manchester United had to play at Manchester City’s ground because Old Trafford was damaged by bombs.

The Second Great Fire of London took place on 29/30 December 1940, and while a relatively small number of civilians were killed -163- much material damage was done especially to historic buildings including 8 churches designed by Sir Christopher Wren. 136 aircraft raided London that night dropping 127 tons of high explosives and 613 incendiary canisters.

During the Blitz 177,000 Londoners were regularly using Tube stations as shelters. These were not always safe: 64 people were killed at Balham on 15 October 1940 while 111 died at the Bank on 11 January 1941.

In 85 major raids on London the Luftwaffe dropped 23,949 tons of high explosive. Holborn was the most heavily bombed borough with 39.75 high explosive bombs per 100 acres. 20,083 Londoners were killed during the 1940-1941 Blitz. 60,595 British civilians were killed during the Second World War.

Among the many historic buildings destroyed or damaged in the London Blitz were: The Guildhall, the House of Commons, the Royal Hospital Chelsea, St Paul’s Cathedral, the British Museum and Buckingham Palace. The Imperial War Museum was also bombed several times, the worst “incident” taking place on the night of 31 January 1941. The BBC was bombed on 15 October 1940.

Coventry Bomb Damage
Coventry Bomb Damage – Taylor (Lt) – War Office official photographer

Frances de la Tour and her scandalous society ancestors

In the last episode of the present Who Do You Think You Are?  Frances de la Tour, an actress well known for her many appearances on British TV, in Film and on the stage, is taken on a fascinating journey to discover her roots and find out more about her English family history.

Her family story is better than a period piece of fiction in the theatre with Aristocratic ancestors and society scandals that include an illegitimate child and a landmark divorce. The programme concentrates on this side of her family tree, but one of the data websites has discovered more.

Read TheGenealogist’s research article here…

Frances de la Tour on Who Do You Think You Are?

210th Anniversary of Battle of Trafalgar

The Battle of Trafalgar took place on the 21 October 1805. It was fought by the Royal Navy against the combined fleets of the French and Spanish Navies, during what was known as the War of the Third Coalition that took place between August–December 1805 within the wider Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815).

Trafalgar was the most decisive naval victory of the war when twenty-seven British ships of the line were led by Admiral Lord Nelson aboard his flagship HMS Victory. The British defeated thirty-three French and Spanish ships of the line under the French Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve in the Atlantic off the south-west coast of Spain, just west of Cape Trafalgar. The Franco-Spanish fleet lost twenty-two ships in the fight while not a single British vessel was lost.

The British victory dramatically established Britain’s naval supremacy and was achieved in part through Nelson not adhering to the prevailing naval tactics, which involved engaging an enemy fleet in a single line of battle parallel to the enemy hit each other with broadsides. Nelson instead divided his smaller force into two columns which he then ordered to sail at right angles against the larger enemy fleet and so won the battle.

At the height of the battle Nelson was shot by a French musketeer and died shortly after, becoming one of Britain’s greatest war heroes.

The Battle of Trafalgar

If you think you may have had ancestors that served in the battle The National Archives has a great portal:

Discover Your Ancestors Bookazine on Special Offer

You can save over 50% on Discover Your Ancestors Bookazine Issue 4 in S&N Genealogy Supplies offer of the week – only £3.99!

This 196 page bookazine contains in-depth articles, research advice, social history, ‘how to’ features, case studies, places in focus, and much more! The family tree of Daniel Craig, the current James Bond, is revealed. It is ideal for both experienced researchers and those just starting out. Also includes a FREE cover disc with over £130 worth of resources!


Head over now to S&N Genealogy Supplies

DNA may be used by court to settle family inheritance

DNA test results may be used in Britain by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council to settle a family inheritance dispute.

As reported in The Daily Telegraph (11th October 2015) after the death in 2013 of the 10th Baronet Pringle of Stichill, Sir Steuart Pringle who was the Commandant General of the Royal Marines during the Falklands War and survived an IRA car bomb, it was expected that his eldest son Simon, would become the 11th baronet. But the inheritance of the title, by the fifty-six year old insurer from Sussex, has been challenged by Murray Pringle, 74, an accountant from High Wycombe who has claimed that he is the true heir.

Murray Pringle’s case is based on DNA samples that he had provided for a Clan Pringle project and which had revealed that the 10th baronet was not genetically related to his cousins and to the wider Pringle family while Murray would seem to be descended from a legitimate branch of the family.

Experts have suggested that the title should really have gone to the 9th baronet’s legitimate younger brother, Ronald, and then onto Murray.

Now The Queen has referred the case to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council who will rule on whether DNA evidence can be used in disputes such as these. It is believed by some that if the Privy Council approves its use as evidence then a whole can of worms may be opened up in other inheritance disputes.

Clan Pringle

Online edition of Discover Your Ancestors Periodical for October

Discover Your Ancestors Periodical October 2015

Always enjoy settling down to read this great online family history magazine.

Check out this month’s articles:

Rebels with a cause: Tudor England was rocked by a wave of rebellions, as Jonathan Healey explains
Preserved for posterity: Nick Thorne explains the importance of storing your family history research properly
Salt of the earth: Sue Wilkes explores Britain’s salt industry
A patchwork of history: Ruth Symes explores the personal details hidden in patchwork of the past
Inside the Black Museum: For 140 years Scotland Yard has held a private collection of crime memorabilia
Passed down in the past: Jill Morris continues her exploration of online wills from the 14th to 19th centuries
History in the details: Jayne Shrimpton on shoes
Regulars: Letters / Events / Books / Place in focus: Liverpool / Classifieds

Discover Your Ancestors Periodical

Take a look at:

Mark Gatiss Who Do You Think You Are appearance

The BBC’s run of Who Do You Think You Are? took us to the Northern part Ireland this week with Mark Gatiss’s maternal line providing the family history story in the show.

Mark  is someone who has always enjoyed storytelling with a particular passion for the ghoulish and so it comes as no surprise that it is in his genes. Researching his family history back five generations in Northern Ireland he found a tale of rags to riches for one member of his family and that he is descended from storytellers who just may have possibly been vampire slayers.

Now that is an interesting personality to have in one’s family tree!

Read TheGenealogist’s article…and see the Griffiths Valuation of Ireland on TheGenealogist, printed in August 1858, with Mark’s ancestor having a part tenement of a mountain!