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.
It has been a glorious day, the sun shone on Worthing, Sussex and much family and local history was to be found at Field Place in Durrington.
There were only a small selection of stands at the Sussex Family History Society’s Family and Local History Day, but it has to be remembered that it was only a small local event. There were several groups and organisations which are not usually to be found at family history fairs along, with some more familiar faces (see the SFHG website for more details).
Despite the glorious weather outside it appeared to have been well attended and the car park was already full by the time I arrived (on foot) about 11am. Naturally I headed straight for the two postcards dealers in attendance, but only came away with two postcards, one of which was only bought because it brought a smile to my face and for that reason alone deserved to be in my collection.
I didn’t really have time to attend any of the talks or hang around to see the miniature stream engines because I had left my wife shopping in Worthing and couldn’t afford to leave her alone too long. Although I am a fine one to talk because as well as the two postcards I came away with four new data CDs from the Parish Register Transcription Society.
Around lunchtime I headed back to central Worthing to catch up with my wife and have something to eat. The promenade at Worthing was pretty busy with people out enjoying the sunshine, although there were not many people actually on the beach and I don’t think we saw a single person brave enough to set foot in the water. It may have been warm and sunny on dry land, but I bet the water was still pretty cold.
To make up for the lack of a family history fair at Worthing this year (see my post on last year’s fair) the Sussex Family History Group have organised a Family and Local History Day to take its place.
The event takes place on Sunday 17th April 2011 between 10.00am and 4.30pm at Field Place in Durrington on the outskirts of Worthing, West Sussex (see the map below). It is conveniently located five minutes walk from Durrington-on-Sea railway station, alternatively there is apparently free car parking and probably on one or two bus routes as well.
Entrance is free but there is a charge for tickets for the talks (£2 per talk), which brings us on to what is actually going on during the day. There are a selection of stalls from family history societies, local record offices and other related organisations as well as a few commercial stalls selling family history material and a couple of postcard dealers.
There are four talks listed on the website (although the first two are on at the same time in different parts of the venue):
- Worthing in the ’30s and ’40s with Chris Hare (11am to 12pm)
- Looking at Original Documents: Sources for Family History with Sue Millard of the West Sussex Record Office (11am to 12pm)
- Searching the Internet for Free with Alan Stoner (12:30pm to 1:30pm)
- Research Family History in the 21st Centurywith Martin Hayes and Jane Dore (2:30pm to 4pm)
As an added bonus and perhaps something to keep the non-genealogist amused the Worthing & District Society of Model Engineers will be offering train rides on their model railway in the grounds of Field Place.
All in all it sounds like it is going to be an excellent day and given the excellent weather we have been having it could be a great excuse to head for the seaside. I have been checking out the SFHG publications list in preparation for the day and think I could be spending quite a bit money on data CDs.
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.
One of the outcomes of my visit to two archives last week was that I needed to tweak my to-do list a little bit, but more than that I decided to answer the question that I posed a few weeks ago.
I have decided to tackle my concern with the old IGI citations in two ways. My original intention had always been to replace these entries once I had viewed the original record, so I will bring that forward and view as many of the original records as I can. For any that I can’t access (those records physically further away) I will update the source to reflect the new FamilySearch website.
Whilst I am at it, it occurred to me that there are several other indexes and transcriptions that I have used in a similar manner as the IGI, in that they would do until I could view the original records and verify them. These are mostly from the wonderful indexes and transcriptions produced by the Sussex Family History Group and the Parish Register Transcription Society and shouldn’t be a problem to verify.
The problem has been that I haven’t really worried about doing it until now. In addition to my normal to-do list I now need to create a second list, the priorty is not so high (it is after all just going back over old ground) but every time I visit an archive I should be able to cross a few more off the list. Given that I have dates and places for all these records it should be very easy to find them.
Going forward I need to remember to keep adding new entries to this second list as and when I add a new citation for one of these indexes to my family tree.
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.
I’ve been updating my diary for the first few months of the year, and it looks like I shall be quite busy attending family history events. Like last years most of the events are at the beginning of the year, but I am sure I will find something else to do for the rest of the year.
The Sussex and South London Family History Fair
(14th February 2010)
This small one-day fair is held at the K2 Leisure Centre, Crawley, West Sussex. It is a mixture of trade stands and family history societies, with a few postcard dealers thrown in. An excellent warm-up for the next big event.
Who Do You Think You Are? Live
(26th to 28th February 2010)
Three days of family history at London’s Olympia, so far I have only booked tickets for two days (Friday and Saturday), but I shall probably book for the Sunday as well because they have a special one-day conference which looks very interesting.
Sussex Family History Group Annual Conference and AGM
(20th March 2010)
Not many stands here, but three talks, two of which are of particular interest to me (Mills and Millers of Sussex and Inns, Alehouses and Taverns of Sussex). Held at Clair Hall, Haywards Heath, West Sussex.
The South Coast Fair
(25th April 2010)
This is similar to the Sussex and South London Fair, except that it is held at the seaside at Worthing, West Sussex. A good excuse for an ice cream and a stroll along the sea front in the spring sunshine (if I am lucky).
I would also like to attend some of the talks at the National Archives and Society of Genealogists, these could hopefully be combined with research trips to the repository concerned.