Today the West Surrey Family History Society (WSFHS) held it’s annual open day and family history fair at Woking Leisure Centre in the town of Woking, Surrey.
This was the first time I had been to the WSFHS fair, but not my first visit to Woking Leisure Centre, because it is also the venue of a postcard fair, although it has been several years since I last went there.
The leisure centre is a short walk (about 15 minutes) from Woking railway station, although it looked like I was the only one who was making my way there on foot. I arrived not long after the doors opened and the large hall soon began to fill up.
There was quite a variety of stalls, well over half of them were family or local history societies and organisations, including the Society of Genealogists and the Guild of One Name Studies. There were a couple of online data providers present, Findmypast.com and The Genealogist and several offline data providers selling microfiche, printed material and CDs, like the Parish Register Transcription Society.
First of all I checked out the stock of the three postcard dealers who were there. I struck gold on the first one, and came away with six postcards all of which were priced at £2.50 each, real bargains. After that the other two seemed over-priced, but there wasn’t really anything else that caught my eye, except for one that I already have in my collection which was marked up at £25. I was glad I already had a copy, which cost me £15 several years ago.
There wasn’t really anything or anyone special that I wanted see. I should have prepared some questions for some of the people on the various society stands, but I hadn’t. Instead I wandered around checking to see what resources they had on offer, to see if there was anything that might help with my research. I could quite easily filled several bookshelves with the various books and pamphlets that were on sale, but I was good and kept my wallet in my pocket most of the time.
I did come away with three CDs, which will hopefully help my research in the future. From the Parish Register Transcription Society I got the parish registers for Cowfold, Sussex (quite a few relations in there) and the Eastern Sussex Settlement Certificates & Bonds and Parish Apprentices, which will hopefully contain several of my East Sussex relations. The WSFHS had a special offer on the third edition of their Surrey Marriages CD, and although I already have the second edition I couldn’t resist the temptation of a half price CD.
There was much that I missed out on at the fair, I didn’t take advantage of the cafe, make use of the research room, or attend any of the talks. Next time I will be better prepared with lists of questions to ask the various stalls, I should have done this time, but it was just down to laziness on my part.
I certainly looked like the fair was well attended, it was starting to get a little too crowded for my liking, but I am sure the stall holders were loving it. I shall definitely go again next year if I get the chance.