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.
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 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.