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 row of WW2 planes and some personnel

How to Search for your Royal Air Force Ancestors

  • 24 February 2018 2-5pm

The Royal Air Force will be 100 years old on the 1st April, 2018.

This half-day module, presented by Les Mitchinson, will cover the service records of RAF personnel and also the records of soldiers and sailors who transferred into it.

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. 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/how-to-search-for-your-royal-air-force-ancestors

Shows a policeman with various criminals

Courts, Crime and Punishment in Victorian England

  • 3 March 2018 10:30am-1pm

In this half-day course, get a glimpse into the criminal lives of our ancestors. Antony Marr, a professional genealogist and Pharos tutor, looks at the records of courts, criminals, police, prisons and punishment through the 19th century.

Antony discusses where and how you might find your ancestors through these fascinating windows into history.

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.

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/courts-crime-punishment-in-victorian-england

Shows an image taken from our Middle Library

For Family Historians: Free Saturday Library Tours

  • 3 March 2018 11am-1pm
  • 17 March 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-3-feb-18

Shows an old man with white beard and pipe sitting in an overgrown garden

Surrey in the 19th Century: Life of the Poor, Emigration and Cultural Unrest

  • 10 March 2018 10:30am-1pm

In this half-day course, Dr Judy Hill covers two topics relating to life in the county of Surrey.
 
Session 1:
During the period 1815 to 1834 agricultural labourers in Surrey experienced increasing hardships and distress. Marginal land brought under the plough during the French Wars was no longer used, resulting in more unemployment. After 1827, there were a succession of bad harvests and the summer of 1830 was wet and cold. The number of unemployed workers increased and parishes found it increasingly difficult to provide adequate poor relief. Many labourers found themselves socially segregated and unprotected against unemployment and price fluctuations. The Swing Riots of 1830-32 took place during a time of increasing pauperisation of labourers. The Riots reflected the resentment felt by agricultural labourers. They wanted vengeance against local landed interests, notably their employers and those who controlled the vestries and made poor law decisions. The attacks struck at the very roots of social cohesion.
 
Session 2:
Between 1760 and 1820, Britain’s population increased from 7 million to 15 million. Those who emigrated went voluntarily but many were virtually forced into it by sheer poverty. After 1815, the post French Wars recession in agriculture brought insecurity and seasonal unemployment for most agricultural workers in the South East. Acute economic hardship brought a steep rise in poor relief costs. After the Swing Riots of 1830-32, many parishes in the South of England viewed emigration favourably as a solution to the unrest and as a way of removing surplus labour. The Petworth Emigration Scheme, 1832-37, helped 1,800 men, women and children to travel to Upper Canada. It was an extremely well organised scheme and has been well documented. Dr Hill introduces the Petworth Emigrant Letters, written between 1832-37. There are 144 letters, including the Dorking Letters, mostly written and sent during the early months and years of migration. They include descriptions of the journey, first impressions of Canadian life, and many compare their new circumstances with their earlier lives in England. The Letters are a very valuable source of information on the migration process and they provide wonderful insights into life in England at the time of the emigrants’ departure. The Letters enable the historian to glimpse into the rural world of the poor. By using these Letters, researchers in Canada have identified with a fair degree of certainty some 1,600 Petworth emigrants, from the total of 1,800.

Admission

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

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/surrey-in-the-19th-century-life-of-the-poor-emigration-cultural-un

Shows a page from the book

Cries of London - London Street Traders, Pedlars and Early Images

  • 15 March 2018 2-3pm

For centuries, those who had no other means of income could sell wares in the street. By turning their presence into a performance through song, they won the hearts of generations and came to embody the spirit of London itself. These hawkers inspired many artists, including Marcellus Laroon (1653-1702), Francis Wheatley (1747-1801), William Marshall Craig (died 1827) and John Thomas Smith (1766-1833), to create a series of portraits known as the ‘Cries of London.’
 
The Gentle Author has published the first major illustrated survey in colour of this important cultural tradition. It highlights the most significant examples, tells stories about the artists and the hawkers, and reveals the unexpected social realities contained within these gaudy prints produced for the mass market.
 
This illustrated talk explores the significance and enduring legacy of the Cries of London, They are the precursors of the modern culture of street photography. In the 20th century, earlier images of the Cries, including those by Wheatley, were recycled commercially on to cigarette cards, biscuit tins and - most famously - Yardley talcum powder.
 
The Gentle Author concludes with a survey of the contemporary situation for street traders and pedlars in the capital, reflecting upon the ambivalence with which they have been regarded since medieval times.

Admission

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

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/cries-of-london-london-street-traders-pedlars-and-early-images

Shows a scene from the Battle of Marengo

Was your Ancestor a French Prisoner of War?

  • 21 March 2018 2-3pm

During the Napoleonic Wars, more than 200,000 prisoners of war were held in Britain, in land prisons, prison ships and parole depots. These men (and some women) were not just French people. They included Germans, Dutch, Spaniards, Danes, Italians and Americans. The Transport Office of the Admiralty administered all the prisoners of war. It kept very accurate and detailed records of all captives held between 1793 and 1815. At the end of the Wars some of these prisoners stayed in England and became part of the community.
 
Some family historians can trace their ancestry back to these prisoners of war. Find My Past have recently published online the General Entry Books, or registers, that hold the prisoners’ details. The registers are the starting point for tracing a prisoner ancestor.
 
In this talk, Paul Chamberlain examines the stories of some of the prisoners who settled in Britain after the Napoleonic Wars. He looks at the information you can find in the Find My Past records, how to interpret the data, and where to go for further material on a Napoleonic prisoner of war ancestor.

Admission

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

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/was-your-ancestor-a-french-prisoner-of-war-2

Shows a head with lots of knowledge floating out of it

Stage 1 Family History Skills - Evening Classes

  • 5 April 2018 6-8pm
  • 12 April 2018 6-8pm
  • 19 April 2018 6-8pm
  • 26 April 2018 6-8pm
  • 3 May 2018 6-8pm
  • 10 May 2018 6-8pm
  • 17 May 2018 6-8pm
  • 24 May 2018 6-8pm
  • 31 May 2018 6-8pm
  • 7 June 2018 6-8pm
  • 14 June 2018 6-8pm
  • 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

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.
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