Tag Archives: family history fair

The Sussex and South London Family History Fair

11 Mar

Today I made my annual visit to the K2 Leisure Centre in Crawley, West Sussex. Forsaking the swimming pool, climbing wall and squash courts I made my way to the family history fair hidden away in the corner of one of the halls.

When I say hidden I mean it, there was no signage that I could see until I was almost at the door to the hall. Fortunately from previous visits I knew where I was going, otherwise who knows what energetic past-time it might have got tangled up in.

As family history events go this couldn’t more different to Who Do You Think You Are? Live a couple of weeks ago. It was small (about twenty stalls), relatively quiet (apart from the thundering of basketballs next door), no talks or lectures and definitely no celebrities.

There was quite a mix of stalls, some I had seen at Olympia and some not, but most if not all were familiar faces, from previous family history fairs. There seemed to be more of an emphasis on books, maps and postcards than at Olympia, but from my point of view that wasn’t a bad thing.

In fact that was a good thing, if it hadn’t been for the pair of postcard dealers I probably would have been in and out within half an hour, but even then I was on my way back to the railway station in about an hour and a half.

To be honest I didn’t really have very high expectations from this fair and in this respect I wasn’t disappointed. I only came away with one purchase, a book entitled The Future of the South Downs edited by Gerald Smart and Peter Brandon. It looks like it should be an interesting read, split between the history of the South Downs and the challenges facing them now and in the future.

I very much fear for the future of small family history fairs like this. In a genealogy world becoming increasingly dominated by the internet and the likes of WDYTYA Live I am not sure that they will survive. I would have to suggest that the organisers haven’t really helped themselves, their website is very sparse on details. That being said I might try to get to their Kent fair in May.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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SFHG Family and Local History Day

17 Apr

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.

SFHG Family and Local History Day – Sunday 17th April 2011

7 Apr

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.

Sussex and South London Family History Fair

13 Feb

As family history events go the Sussex and South London Family History Fair held at the K2 Leisure Centre, Crawley, West Sussex was pretty low-key. It is one of several small regional fairs held mainly across the south of England by Family History Fairs.

Compared to previous events this year’s seemed a bit smaller, there were probably about 15 to 20 stalls, although not all were occupied and it was not easy to tell where one table ended and another started (or continued around the corner). It was quite busy, there appeared to be a lot of people milling about, but it was rather cramped, not much space in the aisles, which probably made it seem busier.

The stall holders were pretty much the same mix as previous years, five or six family/local history societies, a few software and data suppliers, three postcard dealers, a couple of booksellers and one archive (the West Sussex Record Office). In other words none of the major names such as ancestry or findmypast, but it was a local fair so that didn’t really matter too much.

I was somewhat disappointed by my visit, I got what I went for (some organisational supplies) and a few postcards as well, but I didn’t really find anything different or anything new this year. It was almost as if nothing had happened over the last twelve months, nothing seemed to have changed, there may have been a new data CD here and there, but nothing really stood out.

It seemed to me that the UK family history scene, at least at a local level, has become pretty stagnant, perhaps the wealth of online data available has sucked the life out of local societies and suppliers. I know I was looking at some data CDs (that I don’t recall seeing before) and thinking that I could probably find all this stuff online in no time at all, and if not online then at the local library.

I was getting quite disillusioned already, but when I spotted a stall selling data on 3½” floppy disks my heart sank. I seriously hope they were just trying to shift some old stock, and I wondered if they had actually sold any in the last few years and whether they actually still worked now, if you could still find a drive to use them in (I know I still have one but that’s because I like old technology).

It didn’t help that the weather was pretty miserable, but the morning was really only saved by the three postcards that I bought. The only other positive thing was the discovery that the Sussex Family History Group are going to be holding a “Family and Local History Day” in Worthing, West Sussex on the 17th April 2011. Hopefully this will restore my faith in the local family history scene.

No rest for the wicked (or the genealogist)

23 Jan

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.

South Coast Family History Fair

25 Apr

The Pavilion Theatre, Worthing, West Sussex played host to the South Coast Family History Fair today. This is one of the smaller regional fairs that are held around the country.

The Pavilion, Worthing

There were the usual selection of exhibitors at the fair, a couple of national societies, several local societies (Sussex Family History Group, Hampshire Genealogical Society and West Surrey Family History Society) and the West Sussex Record Office.

There were several dealers of family history “stuff”, such as books, maps, accessories, CDs and software. There were also three postcards dealers as well, and I came away with four more postcards for my collection.

The attendance seemed down on last year, by virtue of the fact that it was not as crowded as last year, but I could be wrong. Looking at the photo above you might think that everyone was outside enjoying the sunshine, but despite appearances we have had some rain and there was quite a strong wind, so it wasn’t quite as nice as it looks.

There wasn’t really anything that I was after at the fair today, I really just went to have a look around and see if there was anything new on offer. I did feel that there was not really anything new there to make it worth my while. I think I will need to move outside my Sussex research “comfort zone” and head to the Kent Family History Fair on Sunday 6th June 2010 to get a greater benefit.

My genealogy to-do list for the week ahead (week 16)

18 Apr

Last week I was a bit of a genealogical magpie, gathering all sorts of  information from various places (mainly local libraries) and taking loads of photos. The problem is that I have taken all this “shiny” information back to my nest and not done anything with it.

This week I really need to get this information sorted out, transcribed and where necessary entered into my family tree. This week I am going to try not to gather any more information until I have sorted out all the new stuff that I have recently acquired.

  • Sort out all the information I have gathered. Scan documents, transcribe my notes, update Family Historian and sort out the digital photos.
  • Continue working through my digital files updating Family Historian and sorting out folders and standardising my filenames.
  • Email East Sussex Record Office to find out which of the GEERING records I want to view are held onsite and which I need to order in.
  • Attend the South Coast Family History Fair on Sunday 25th April 2010 at Worthing, West Sussex.

That should be enough for this week. I really need to get my notes sorted out, and will be happy if I can complete that this week.

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