Today was the Sussex Family History Group Annual Conference and AGM at Clair Hall, Haywards Heath, West Sussex. The location and format were the same as previous years; three presentations and a handful of stalls providing a complete contrast to Who Do You Think You Are? Live.
Clair Hall, Haywards Heath, West Sussex
The three presentations were a good mix of subjects:
- Jayne Shrimpton: Understanding and dating old photographs – Although I have attended a couple of her presentations before and have a couple of her books, I never fail to learn something new and to be inspired to get my own photographs sorted and dated.
- Jean Hopkins: Brighton’s Chain Pier – Some excellent historic images and some superb 3D modeling of this long-lost attraction, although the presentation was a little erratic and disjointed with some technical issues.
- Lars Tharp: The Foundling Museum of London – This was an excellent presentation, I have heard about the Foundling Hospital on several occasions, but this talk really showed just how little I really knew. It was a fascinating talk and even after the talk it felt like we had still only scraped the surface of the history of this remarkable institution and the people involved.
Attendance appeared to be down slightly on previous years and despite my fast approaching fortieth birthday it seemed to me that I was still the youngest one there, which was a little surprising (and another contrast to WDYTYA? Live) although something I have got used to over the years. I know there are younger family historians out there, but I wonder where they were today?
Another great conference and I can’t wait for next year when the SFHG marks it’s fortieth birthday, apparently special events are being planned to mark the occasion.
Today I spent a wonderfully relaxed day at the Sussex Family History Group Annual Conference at Clair Hall, Haywards Heath, West Sussex. The reason it was so relaxing was because there was none of the rushing around from talk to talk like at an event like Who Do You Think You Are? Live or the wandering around from stall to stall at some of the other family history fairs.
There were only a few stalls and the three talks took place in the main hall. One of the stalls was a postcard dealer so my wallet didn’t come away completely unscathed, but there was certainly less to buy than other family history events (although there are some new data CDs that I need look into).
The three speakers were excellent and provided a varied mix of topics.
- Ian Gledhill – Transport of the masses
The title of this talk didn’t really explain what it was going to be about, but it turned out to be about trams. Now trams are not something I have ever given much consideration, but I found this talk more interesting and enjoyable than I initially expected. It was mainly about the rise and fall (and rise again) of the tram, with a few examples of trams and similar transport vehicles from Sussex. Really enjoyable and well illustrated.
- Jackie Marsh-Hobbs – Palmeira Mansions: the history of the house and family – the Nouveau Riche
I wasn’t quite sure how interesting this talk was going to be, after all it was not really family history but more like house history, but I found it totally fascinating. I had never heard about Palmeira Mansions before (although I have passed by it many times). Even though it is now an education centre some fantastic architectural features still remain in-situ. The good news is that there are guided tours available on selected days. Another place added to my to-visit list.
- John Titford – Barking up the wrong tree
Now this talk was pure genealogy. It consisted of several cautionary, informative and entertaining case studies based around the idea of making sure you are researching your family tree and not someone else’s ancestors. It also served as a useful reminder of how genealogy used to be done before the arrival of the internet. I have recently been wondering if am a bit over-cautious in my research, but now I am not sure that it is possible to be too cautious.
Today I was checking my diary for February and can’t believe how busy it is going to be. It looks like it is going to be a bumper month for family history and related events, and I am not sure if I am going to fit in any research in as well.
The three main events I hope to attend are:
1. The Sussex & South London Fair (Sunday 13th February 2011)
This is a nice little family history fair (organised by Family History Fairs) held at the K2 Leisure Centre, Crawley, West Sussex. A nice warm up for the big event a fortnight later. There is usually a good mix of trade and society stands, and a few postcard dealers thrown in for good measure (and to make sure my wallet comes away a lot lighter). I have a few genealogy supplies I need to get and will try to get them here rather than have to carry them around at WDYTYA Live.
2. The Pub History Society Conference (Saturday 19th February 2011)
Last year’s conference was an excellent event and hopefully this year’s will be even better. The fact that it going to held at The National Archives is a real bonus, but unfortunately I won’t have time for any research whilst I am there, although I might take the opportunity to renew my reader’s ticket ready for my next visit. I will have time to visit the bookshop and see what bargains they have. Further details of the conference from the Pub History Society website.
3. Who Do You Think You Are? Live (Friday 25th to Sunday 27th February 2011)
This is the big one, three days of family history indulgence. There is not much more that can be said about this event that I haven’t already said. It is certainly going to be a long weekend and I shall be glad to get back to work for a rest the following week.
On top of these I am already penciled in for a visit to London on the 12th February and I am supposed to be going for a proper walk on the 5th February (back to the South Downs). Throw in a couple of possible postcard fairs and both my wallet and energy are going to be stretched to the limit.
Fortunately things are a lot quieter for the rest of the year, with few convenient events to attend (still plenty of postcard fairs though) but this does give me more opportunity for some research and walking.
Today was the Annual Conference and AGM of the Sussex Family History Group (SFHG) at Clair Hall, Haywards Heath, West Sussex. Like last year it was an excellent conference, enjoyable, informative, well organised and well attended.
Before the three talks we heard the latest on The Keep (the new archive centre for East Sussex, Brighton and the University of Sussex). Although things have been a bit quiet lately, plans are progressing and we were shown drawings and impressions of the centre and told we could expect to see a planning application and consultations this summer. If all goes well doors are expected to open early 2013.
The first talk was by Derek Stidder who spoke on Mills and Millers of Sussex. This was especially interesting to me because of my ancestral connections with a couple of watermills in Sussex. There were some really great images of various types of mill across Sussex, as was pointed out, it is a huge subject area as virtually every village had its own mill at some time.
Next up was Dr Colin Chapman (originator of the Chapman County Code) speaking on Pre-1841 Censuses & Population Listings. Dr Chapman showed that a great deal of useful genealogical material can be found in population listings before the start of the decennial census in 1801 and even those censuses before 1841 are not as useless as many people would have you think.
After lunch the next speaker was Dr Janet Pennington whose talk was entitled Inns, Alehouses and Taverns of Sussex. Again this is another subject close to my heart, and this talk was wonderfully illustrated and informative. It also demonstrated the wealth of information contained in probate inventories.
So another great conference, three excellent speakers, along with a couple of stands (none of the major players). I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved for their hard work in making this conference such an excellent experience, and who make the SFHG such a wonderful organisation.
In this series of posts I hope to provide you with some of the highlights from Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2010.
The Society of Genealogists Family History Show has now become an integral part of Who Do You Think You Are? Live. It provides the opportunity to meet (and question) various family history societies and suppliers.
The stands may have been smaller down this end of the hall than down the other end, but that doesn’t lessen the value of these exhibitors. These are the people with specialist knowledge, and if by any chance they don’t have the answer to your question they will almost certainly be able to point you in the direction of someone who can.
The Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2010 website lists the exhibitors at the SOG Family History Show, where you can click on the links and find out more about each exhibitor as well as contact details and a link to their website.