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.