I decided it was about time I joined in the fun at the Carnival of Genealogy, the 82nd edition is all about family history societies. I have been a member of various genealogical and historical societies over the years, some have fallen by the wayside, due to changing interests or lack of money.
There is one society without which I could not have got as far I have in my research, and that is the Sussex Family History Group. I don’t remember how many years I have been a member now, certainly since I started taking my family history research seriously, when it became an obsession rather than just a hobby.
They provide all the services you would expect from a genealogical society, including a quarterly journal, an award-winning website, an email mailing list, numerous publications in print, microfiche and CD-ROM, they have library for members and also organise an annual conference as well as holding smaller local meetings around Sussex.
Given that over two thirds (probably nearer three-quarters) of my direct ancestors were born in the county of Sussex, England it is not surprising that many of their publications are sitting within arms reach of my computer.
There are two keys resources that I couldn’t work without, the first is the Sussex Marriage Index CD-ROM. This index is said to contain every recorded marriage in the county of Sussex (and some outside the boundaries as well) up to 1837 when civil registration came into force.
The software itself is a pleasure to use, unlike some other indexes I have used, it is quick and has the really useful ability to copy the selected marriage details to the clipboard, so that they can be pasted elsewhere.
The second resource is their members only data archive (provided by Frontis). This is quite a recent development, and whilst the website isn’t quite as professional and advanced as some of the online databases, what it lacks in appearance and search functionality is more than made up for by the wealth of data it holds.
It contains baptism records for most of the Sussex parishes, although it is by no means as complete as the marriage index. Also coming online at the moment are burial indexes for selected Sussex parishes as well.
A quick glance at the home page of their website will give you an idea of the wide range of services and publications the Sussex Family History Group has to offer. I haven’t even mentioned their range of monumental inscription CDs or their census indexes which pre-date the arrival of the census on the internet.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the chairman, officers, volunteers and members, both past and present, for all the hard work that they have put in (and continue to put in), which makes this group such a wonderful resource, without which my research would be struggling to get off the ground.