Society of Genealogists

Shows the SoG building, standing outside and looking up to Clerkenwell Road
Guided tours icon Library icon Study area icon Hearing disability facilities icon Wheelchair access icon

The Society of Genealogists offers a wonderful combination of research material, expert guidance and practical support for anyone interested in family history or social history.

We are a charity whose objects are to promote, encourage and foster the study, science and knowledge of genealogy. We were founded in 1911 and ever since then we've been collecting family history documents - long before local record offices opened.

We are the National Family History Centre and families have always deposited their family history documents and records with us for safe keeping. So, we have documents and items that you might not expect to find.

We are committed to an education and skills programme, delivering a wide range of talks, walks and and courses for people new to family history, social and family historians, and genealogists. Our family history Free Access Area in the Lower Library offers free access to most of the pay-per-view genealogy websites.

Venue Type:

Library, Archive, Association or society

Opening hours

Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday: 10-6
Thursday: 10-8
Closed: Sunday, Monday, Friday

Admission charges

Regular free talks on Wednesdays
Free Library Tours every second Saturday
One-hour talk: £8.00
Half-day course: £20.00
Full-day course: £35.00
Access to our Library and databases for research: small fee payable at Reception

Getting there

Our cul de sac, Charterhouse Buildings, is located off the traffic intersection at Goswell Road/Old Street. The nearest tube stations: Barbican or Old Street
Bus: 4, 56, 55, 243

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Shows a head with lots of knowledge floating out of it

Stage 1 Family History Skills - Evening Classes

  • 21 June 2018 6-8pm
  • 28 June 2018 6-8pm

Join us at the Society of Genealogists’ popular evening course to develop your family history skills. Wanting to know about our own family’s history is a very natural feeling. Understanding what shaped our ancestors’ lives makes history come alive and helps us see our place in it. Most of us enjoy meeting and learning from expert genealogists and we find others’ ancestry almost as fascinating as our own.

The Society of Genealogists offer Family History Skills for anyone that is interested in genealogy and wants to explore their family history. In a carefully, well rounded curriculum, our Tutors introduce the records that count and help you use them effectively.

Deadline to enrol: 27 March 2018

Who is this course for?
There are no specific requirements or special knowledge needed for you to attend Stage 1. The classes are ideal for people wanting to be better at building their family tree and for anyone thinking about becoming a genealogist. You can expect an entertaining and enjoyable experience.

Evening classes can be a great way to study genealogy. Away from all the other pressures of life for two hours, you can focus on how to find your ancestors and flesh out your family's history. You'll spend time with other people in the class that share your interests and are as keen as you are to learn new skills.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

Total price for all 13 weeks: £225.00

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/stage-1-evening-skills-course-7

Shows an image taken from our Middle Library

For Family Historians: Free Saturday Library Tours

  • 30 June 2018 11am-1pm

At the Society of Genealogists, we're passionate about family history. Since we started in 1911, we've been collecting family history documents, long before the arrival of local record offices - even typewriters were new. As the National Family History Centre, we are the UK-wide repository for family history documents, images and records. So, we have items that you might not expect to find.

Join our free, guided tours to discover three floors of family history treasures and records, directories and databases - over 120,000 items. Your guide will explain how you can explore our books, CDs, databases and microfilm. You'll get a flavour of our collection of parish register copies and nonconformist registers. Our 'Special', 'Document' and 'Typographical' collections contain amazing items steeped in the UK's rich and diverse cultural heritage. Our collections relate to over 44,000 surnames - yours is probably included. Many documents are originals and some date back to the 15th century.

Our tours are free, only 1½ hours long, and they're every second Saturday.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

This is a free tour.

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/tour-of-the-society-library-2-jun-18

Shows people looking at PCs and working together

For family historians: free one-to-one internet advice sessions

  • 23 June 2018 10:30am-2:45pm

If you are researching your family history, you've probably discovered a number of websites offering lots of genealogical information. It's a good idea to know how to use these websites, especially the best ways to search their vast databases. You might also feel that you're not really very expert at going online at all.

Why not book a free, one-to-one advice session with our tutor? For 45 minutes, our tutor can show you how to search some of the websites (such as Ancestry and Findmypast), help you understand a bit more about what is available online, and give advice on any other online issues you might have.

Come for the whole day and increase your chances of success at finding your ancestors and building your family tree. You can search our online Catalogue, look for books or records in our Library and Archives, and then, using the public PCs in the Lower Library, find out what the family history websites hold.

This tutorial is free to all. However, if you aren't a Member of the Society of Genealogists you will have to pay a small fee to use our Library and Archives.

Admission

Free, 45 minute session

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses

Shows goldfish in bowls and one is jumping into the next bowl.

Getting Started: Family History for Beginners

  • 23 June 2018 10:30am-1pm

Starting out on family history research? Find out where to start, the sources you can use and what you can do online. In this half-day course for beginners, Dave Annal introduces the key sources for family history research and some of the most important websites. He also looks at strategies and techniques to help you to get the best out of your research.

There are no special entry requirements for this workshop and you do not need to be a Member of the Society of Genealogists to attend. However, this course is specifically for people who are beginning to search for their ancestors and are eager to understand the best ways of doing it. Expect a friendly atmosphere, an expert tutor and lots of detail. Tea and coffee are provided during a break in the morning.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

£20.00; discounted for Members of Society of Genealogists £16.00

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/getting-started-family-history-for-beginners

Shows a family sitting outside a farmhouse.

My Ancestor...came from Northamptonshire

  • 23 June 2018 2-5pm

In this half-day course, Dr Colin Chapman introduces the sources available in Northamptonshire, the SoG Library and elsewhere, that you can use to discover more about the lives of ancestors who came from Northamptonshire. He includes examples of religious and civil organisations that have existed in the County, and the numerous records created that are full of data on ancestors.

There are no special entry requirements for this talk and you do not need to be a Member of the Society of Genealogists to attend. However, this course is specifically for people who are searching for their ancestors and are eager to understand the best ways of doing it. Expect a friendly atmosphere, an expert tutor and lots of detail. Tea and coffee are provided during a break in the afternoon.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

£20.00; discounted for Members of Society of Genealogists £16.00

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/my-ancestor-came-from-northamptonshire

Shows the headings in an old census record

Checking it Once or Twice: Comparing Genealogy Programs

  • 27 June 2018 2-3pm

Jan Gow compares the most used genealogy programs and suggests a list to help you compare them. This will help you to decide which special features are the ones you can't do without.

On Jan's list are: data entry, sources, resources, charts, reports, research and most important - enjoyment!

There are no special entry requirements and you do not need to be a Member of the Society of Genealogists. This talk is for anyone who is tracing their family ancestors. Expect a friendly atmosphere, an expert tutor and lots of detail.

Admission

£8.00; discounted for Members of Society of Genealogists £6.40

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/checking-it-once-or-twice-comparing-genealogy-programs

Shows a very old will

For Family Historians: Further Palaeography

  • 30 June 2018 10:30am-5pm

A full-day, interactive workshop aimed at those who wish to improve their skills and fluency in reading 16th and 17th century handwriting. The documents used are in English - teaching Latin is not included.

Working in pairs on facsimiles, you have the opportunity to choose documents from a range of handwriting styles. David Smith gives individual attention to each pair, as you work. He also gives practical tips on how to tackle unfamiliar scripts.

If there is time, David offers to help you with your own difficult documents or advise you on problems in your research.

Please note: This course is not suitable for beginners.

This is a very intensive course and places are limited.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

Full-day course: £35.00. Members of the Society of Genealogists: £28.00. For us to hold a place for you, the talk must be booked and paid for in advance. You can do this by visiting our website or phoning us on 020 7553 3290.

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/further-palaeography-2

Shows a sketch of a family tree

Family History: Good Research Techniques

  • 4 July 2018 2-5pm

In this half-day course, Celia Heritage takes an in-depth look at the best ways to research so that you avoid making mistakes and get the most out of the records you use. Celia also looks at the likely causes of the brick walls that you may hit during your research and the best way to tackle them. Sources covered include birth, marriage and death, census and parish records.

There are no special entry requirements for this talk and you do not need to be a Member of the Society of Genealogists to attend. However, this course is specifically for people who are searching for their ancestors and are eager to understand the best ways of doing it. Expect a friendly atmosphere, an expert tutor and lots of detail. Tea and coffee are provided during a break.

Admission

£20.00; discounted for Members of Society of Genealogists £16.00

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/good-research-techniques-4

Shows part of the home page of the ancestry website

Family History Workshop: Getting the Best from the Ancestry Website

  • 7 July 2018 10:30am-1pm

The Ancestry website offers access to 1 billion searchable UK family history records. It enables you to explore your family history using censuses, birth, marriage and death records, passenger lists, the British phone books, military and parish records.

In this half-day course, John Hanson covers:
- Understanding this very large website.
- How to best use the website's online finding tools.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

£20.00; discounted for Members of Society of Genealogists £16.00

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/getting-the-best-from-the-ancestry-website-3

Shows old papers waiting to be searched.

Parish Registers and Parish Chest Records for Family Historians

  • 7 July 2018 2-5pm

Before the national, civil registration of vital events started in 1837, the main records for baptisms, marriages and burials were the parish registers or a similar record kept by nonconformist denominations. So parish registers are extremely important for researching your family history from 1836 back to the 16th century.

Many parish registers are now available online. So it is easy to think that research them is straightforward. But, in this half-day course, Karen Cummings asks whether it is straightforward. Is the information recorded always the same? Was everyone included? How can you tell whether the records online include your parish of interest?

Session 1 examines the details of parish register research, including:
- Why the content changed at different times;
- How to search for records;
- What other copies are available.
Parish registers weren’t the only records maintained by the Church. The term ‘parish records’ also covers all the other records kept in the parish chest.

In Session 2, Karen takes you through a host of records that can add to your knowledge of your ancestors, including settlement and removal records, bastardy records and the records of the parish officers, such as the overseers of the poor.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

£20.00; discounted for Members of Society of Genealogists £16.00

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/parish-registers-parish-chest-records-for-family-historians

Shows the cover of Adele's book

Tracing your Cotton and Wool Mill Ancestors

  • 11 July 2018 2-3pm

In 1851, the third most common occupation was working in a mill. If your ancestor was a beamer, a piecer, a tenter, a tackler, a reed maker, a scutcher, or a carder, what did they actually do? What were the working conditions like? How much did they get paid compared to other working class jobs?

In this one-hour talk, Adèle Emm explains some of the roles and their working conditions.

Adele is the author of 'Tracing your Trade and Craftsman Ancestors' (Pen and Sword) and 'My Ancestors worked in Textile Mills' (to be published by the SOG), as well as innumerable magazine articles. She is currently working on a genealogical book about women. You can read her blog and visit her website at adeleemm.com.

Admission

£8.00; discounted for Members of Society of Genealogists £6.40

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/tracing-your-cotton-wool-mill-ancestors

Shows a small child sleeping in a train 1953

Fit for Purpose? How to make your genealogy more credible and useful to others

  • 18 July 2018 2-3pm

Genealogy needs to be shared. It serves no point otherwise. For those who want to use your work, you offer a huge benefit if you can give some assurance that it is of sound quality. The facts you include need to be seen as coming from reliable sources that can be checked. So assurance depends on you stating where your facts have come from and providing a reference to where you found them.

In this one-hour talk, Dr Ian Macdonald explains that referencing is critical.He shows:
- how to reference effectively and straightforwardly;
- how to ensure that others can follow in your footsteps and come to the same conclusions as you.

Proper assessment of sources is also essential, so that you and others are drawing the right conclusions. Know how to do this and how to make judgements on what you find is important. Ian looks at approaches to take and how to treat the outcomes in your work so that others can follow your thinking and follow the evidence trail.

Admission

This one-hour talk starts at 2.00 pm and costs £8.00. For Members of the Society of Genealogists, a discounted price of £6.40 is available. For us to hold a place for you, please book and pay in advance. You can do this by visiting our website or phoning us on 020 7553 3290.

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/fit-for-purpose-how-to-make-your-genealogy-more-credible-useful-to

Shows a variety of maps on a table

Maps and Property Records for Family Historians

  • 21 July 2018 2-5pm

In this half-day course, Sue Adams covers two topics.

Session 1: How maps were made and why it matters for family historians
'Where?' is an important question that family historians ask about ancestors. Maps are all about where, and were made for many purposes. The development of map making technologies, from ancient times to the digital era, had profound effects on the maps produced. In this session, Sue explores estate, enclosure, tithe and valuation maps, commonly used by family historians. She analyses and critiques digital versions of historical maps. In a brief demonstration of mapping technology, she shows how to enhance your research by making your own maps.

Session 2: An introduction to using property records for family history
Property records are an under-used, but potentially very rich, source of information about our ancestors. In this session, Sue explains types of tenure, the processes for transfer or inheritance of property, and the documents produced. She demystifies unfamiliar legal terms like freehold, copyhold, and many others. Focus is on documents in English after 1733. Sue wants you to learn strategies for finding, interpreting and incorporating property records in your research.

Sue Adams is a professional genealogist. Her Master's thesis, completed in 2012, combined historical maps, manorial property and genealogical records using mapping technology.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

£20.00; discounted for Members of Society of Genealogists £16.00

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/maps-property-records-for-family-historians

Shows a faded, cracked photo of a woman in her 40s.

Tracing Ancestors in Wales

  • 21 July 2018 10:30am-1pm

Have you a Jones, a Davies or a Thomas in your family tree? Do you know the difference between Aberhonddu and Brecon? Did your ancestors worship at chapel or at church? Did your ancestors move to or from Wales?

Join us for a half day course focusing on Welsh Ancestry. Gill Thomas aims to guide you towards finding more about your Welsh ancestors. She covers topics such as:
- Administration districts and ecclesiastical records;
- Surnames, monumental inscriptions and pre-census records;
- How to research specialist topics, including Welsh army regiments and occupations such as Merchant Navy service;
- How to access additional records both on and offline.

There are no special entry requirements for this talk and you do not need to be a Member of the Society of Genealogists to attend. However, this course is specifically for people who are searching for their ancestors and are eager to understand the best ways of doing it. Expect a friendly atmosphere, an expert tutor and lots of detail. Tea and coffee are provided during a break in the morning.

Admission

Half-day course running from 2.00 to 5.00 pm. Cost is £20.00. For Members of the Society of Genealogists: £16.00.

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/tracing-ancestors-in-wales-2

Shows an old scroll

17th Century Sources for Family Historians

  • 25 July 2018 2-3pm

This talk will look at some 17th century sources that might supplement the deficiencies of contemporary parish registers, including  (amongst other things) State Papers, tax records, heraldic visitations, quarter sessions, Protestation Returns and records of recusants and other dissenters as well as soldiers of the English Civil Wars. 

It will use case studies and examples from sources to illustrate what might be found.

Admission

£8.00; discounted for Members of Society of Genealogists £6.40

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/17th-century-sources-for-family-historians

Shows a beautiful scroll

Hidden Histories: Finding Unusual Record Collections in Libraries and Archives

  • 28 July 2018 10:30am-1pm

Archives and libraries have many sources which are hardly ever used by family historians.

This course looks at:
- how to find them using online resources, such as the National Register of Archives and the Access to Archives databases;
- Examines a number of unusual sources from 18th century militia lists and modern regimental magazines to taxation records via jury lists, hospital records and published lists of those in receipt of out-relief at The National Archives and local archives across England and Wales.

Admission

£20.00; discounted for Members of Society of Genealogists £16.00

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/hidden-histories-finding-unusual-record-collections-in-libraries-ar

Shows a number of portraits 'breaking through' a brick wall

Expanding your Family History and Finding Real People who Don’t Exist

  • 28 July 2018 2-5pm

In this half-day course, Lynda Hotchkiss covers two topics:

Session 1 - Finding Real People Who Don’t Exist
Some people on our family tree seem to refuse to be found. Lynda offers several reasons why finding an ancestor might prove difficult and how to overcome these research problems.

Session 2 - Expanding your Family History
Assuming that you have the basics down, Lynda looks at using other, less well known sources. They may help you to find leads that enable you to continue your research and at the same time brings your ancestor to life. Sources which may be covered include: marriage bonds/allegations; using inventories to understand how your ancestors lived; military sources found easily; looking for paupers; how newspapers can give clues, especially about law-breakers. Lynda provides useful suggestions for expanding your family history research and therefore your family tree.

Admission

£20.00; discounted for Members of Society of Genealogists £16.00

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/expanding-your-family-history-finding-real-people-who-dont-exist

Shows a woman and a small boy in front of a fountain in the 1940s

For family historians: Understanding and Using the 1939 Register

  • 1 August 2018 2-3pm

The 1939 Register provides a snapshot of the civilian population of England and Wales just after the outbreak of the Second World War. Details of around 40 million people were recorded, to facilitate the issuing of ration books. Information in the Register was also used to administer conscription and division of labour, and to monitor and control the movement of the population caused by military mobilisation and mass evacuation.

This Register is incredibly useful as a family history resource, especially as the 1931 census for England and Wales was destroyed by fire during the Second World War and no census was taken in 1941. The Register provides the most complete population survey of England and Wales between 1921 and 1951.

While the 1939 Register is not a census, it is arranged along similar lines and is now available to researchers in digital format only through the Findmypast website. Learn how to best use the 1939 Register online to retrieve information on family living at this time.

There are no special entry requirements for this talk and you do not need to be a Member of the Society of Genealogists to attend. Expect a friendly atmosphere, an expert tutor and lots of detail.

Admission

£8.00; discounted for Members of Society of Genealogists £6.40

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/understanding-and-using-1939-register

Shows a Scottish band with bagpipes in Canada

Family History: Scottish and Irish Migration

  • 4 August 2018 2-5pm

Over the centuries, one of Ireland’s and Scotland’s greatest exports has been its people. This has taken many guises: to voluntarily travel the world; to explore; to seek fame and fortune; to trade, colonise or govern; to be forcibly transported; to fight or garrison some far off settlement. It is estimated that there are over one million people of Irish birth in Britain today, plus numerous second, third or fourth generation Irish. Approximately 800,000 people born in Scotland now live in England, Wales or Ireland. Plus, of course, many millions of people of Scottish and Irish descent live in North America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, South America and most of Europe.

In this half-day course, Maggie Loughran looks at the reasons for migration, the history and politics behind it and the type of records that you can consult when researching migrants.

Admission

£20.00; discounted for Members of Society of Genealogists £16.00

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/scottish-irish-immigration-2

Shows 4 children in an overgrown back garden

My Ancestor... Came From Hertfordshire

  • 8 August 2018 2-3pm

Hertfordshire was a small county with about 100,000 inhabitants in 1800. However, with London close by, the turnover of its population has been a constant feature.

In this talk, Alan Ruston describes the nature of research into ancestors living in Hertfordshire. He also introduces the extensive records held in the county archives at Hertford and the available sources to aid the family historian.

Admission

£8.00; discounted for Members of Society of Genealogists £6.40

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/my-ancestor-came-from-hertfordshire

Shows a happy face using a iPad

Getting the Most from the Society of Genealogists' Online Data - free talk

  • 15 August 2018 2-3pm

The Society of Genealogists has made more than 11 million records available online. The collection is known as SoG Data Online. If you're a Member of the Society, you can view the full details of any record from home. If you're not a Member, you can carry out an initial search to see what is held but to view the full record details you'll need to join the Society.

SoG Data Online is constantly growing because we're continuing to add transcripts, indexes and images from our Library. It's becoming an increasingly valuable free resource for members. The records cover apprenticeships, Boyd's indexes, court records, education records, immigration, marriage licences, poll books, poor law records and wills.

There is a search option that allows you to look for names or just browse types of records. In this one-hour talk, Else Churchill describes how to effectively search the records, and gives an update on what is available.

Admission

This is one-hour talk, starting at 2.00 pm. It is free of charge. However, places go very quickly so you do need to book in advance.

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/getting-the-most-from-sog-data-online-3

Shows part of the home page of the Family Tree Maker website

Family Tree Maker Software Essentials for Beginners and Refreshers

  • 18 August 2018 10:30am-5pm

In this full-day workshop, Mike Bollinger starts by giving a good overview of the features of the Family Tree Maker program. During the day, Mike covers:
- How to create your family tree;

- How to enter individuals and their family information;

- How to maintain your tree;

- How to import a tree;

- How to manage sources and media;

- The options for publishing and presenting your family in charts and reports;

- How to make web searches using the program, to find additional family facts on Ancestry or other websites.

Note: This is an intensive course and places are limited.

Admission

£40.00; discounted for Members of Society of Genealogists £32.00

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/family-tree-maker-software-essentials-for-beginners-refreshers-2

Shows part of the Family Historian website home page.

Family Historian Software Practical for Intermediate Users

  • 25 August 2018 10:30am-1pm

Family Historian is a powerful, award-winning genealogy program, with comprehensive features designed to meet the needs of anyone new to family history research and the needs of experts.

In this half-day workshop, John Hanson provides practical help in exploring some of the more advanced features. The sessions assume that you are using version 6 of the software. They are designed specifically for UK users, both intermediate and advanced.

Please bring a laptop with you. And, of course, bring all your questions about using the software.

Admission

£20.00; discounted for Members of Society of Genealogists £16.00

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/family-historian-software-practical-for-intermediate-users

Getting there

Our cul de sac, Charterhouse Buildings, is located off the traffic intersection at Goswell Road/Old Street. The nearest tube stations: Barbican or Old Street
Bus: 4, 56, 55, 243

Society of Genealogists
14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road
London
Greater London
EC1M 7BA
England

Website

Find out more on our website.

www.sog.org.uk

E-mail

Events

events@sog.org.uk

Telephone

Events bookings

020 7553 3290

General Information

020 7251 8799

Library queries

020 7702 5485

Fax

020 7250 1800

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
advertisement