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 an image taken from our Middle Library

For Family Historians: Free Saturday Library Tours

  • 25 August 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-11-08-2018

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

Family Tree Maker Software Essentials for Beginners and Refreshers - Fully booked

  • 18 August 2018 10:30am-5pm *on now

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 the SoG building in Islington

Using the LDS FamilySearch Films at the Society of Genealogists

  • 22 August 2018 2-3:30pm

In this talk, Else Churchill explains what is in the collection, how to order them, view them and use them.

The Society of Genealogists received 57,000 microfilms from FamilySearch (the genealogical arm of the Church of Latter Day Saints or Mormons). These films were available at the London Family History Centre, which is currently within The National Archives at Kew. These films are now available for viewing at SOG.

There is a significant amount of material for Ireland and Scotland, Jamaica, and other Caribbean Islands. There are also a lot of Jewish records. Nearly 3,000 are copies of all the wills probated between 1858 and 1925 in the Principal Probate Registry and the Local District Registries of England and Wales.

Learn how to identify the films you want, order them, use supplementary finding aids and view them.

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.

Admission

This 90 minute talk with staff Genealogist, Else Churchill, is free of charge, but you must book your seat.

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/using-the-lds-familysearch-films-at-the-society-of-genealogists-2

Shows a bride and groom for about the 1920s

Marriage Law and Illegitimacy (outside the law?) 1700-1987

  • 1 September 2018 2-5pm

In this half-day course, Professor Rebecca Probert covers two topics.

Session 1 Marriage Law for Genealogists
Do you suspect that your ancestors weren’t really married? Maybe their marriage was bigamous, or within the prohibited degrees, or otherwise invalid because of non-compliance with certain formal requirements. Or have you found a marriage in a parish, where your ancestors had no known connection, and you think may have been clandestine?

Rebecca explains the circumstances in which a marriage would not be lawful and the consequences for those involved. She also looks at the extent of bigamy and invalidity in past centuries, to help you interpret your findings.

Session 2 Illegitimacy (outside the law?) 1700-1987
Rebecca explains the concepts of legitimacy and legitimation and the legal and social implications for children born outside marriage. She shows what you can expect to find recorded in parish or civil records, and – drawing on large-scale cohort studies – what inferences you draw from what is or is not recorded.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

Half-day course: £20.00. Members of the Society of Genealogists: £16.00. 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/marriage-law-for-genealogists-illegitimacy-outside-the-law-1700-1

Shows an older woman and a small child in clothes dating to late 19th century

Tracing Your Cambridgeshire Ancestors

  • 1 September 2018 10:30am-1pm

When you think of Cambridgeshire, you perhaps picture the University, the fens, or the RAF / USAAF airbases of World War Two.

In this half-day course, Robert Parker introduces the rich collection of family history records for Cambridgeshire, held online or through libraries, at the Cambridgeshire Family History Society and the Cambridgeshire Archives. Robert explores all these records in the context of the social and local history of the County.

You can read more about Robert and this talk on his website: https://myfamilygenealogy.co.uk/

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 10.30 am to 1.00 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-cambridgeshire-ancestors

Shows a page of an old book with 'writing family history' written in old pen

For family historians: free tutorials to help you use genealogy websites

  • 1 September 2018 10:30am-2:45pm
  • 15 September 2018 10:30am-2:45pm
  • 29 September 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 people waiting outside a workshouse

Five Ways to Find Pauper Ancestors

  • 5 September 2018 2-3pm

Found a pauper on your family tree? Or an elderly relative who died in the workhouse? Or an orphaned child who was sent to an orphanage?

If you want to know more about how you can find out about these people and their lives then come along to this talk. Gruel will not be served.

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

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/five-ways-to-find-pauper-ancestors

Shows a sketch of a family tree.

Stage 2 Family History Skills - Evening Classes

  • 6 September 2018 6-8pm
  • 13 September 2018 6-8pm
  • 20 September 2018 6-8pm
  • 27 September 2018 6-8pm
  • 4 October 2018 6-8pm
  • 11 October 2018 6-8pm
  • 18 October 2018 6-8pm
  • 25 October 2018 6-8pm
  • 1 November 2018 6-8pm
  • 8 November 2018 6-8pm
  • 15 November 2018 6-8pm
  • 22 November 2018 6-8pm
  • 29 November 2018 6-8pm

The Society of Genealogist's successful family history skills course continues with a second set of evening classes to develop your research and genealogy knowledge. Our team of professional genealogists present a carefully designed curriculum to develop your skills.

Who is this course for?
Stage 2 is designed for those who already have some experience of genealogical research and are familiar with the basic records.

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.

What you will learn
Become familiar with many of the records and finding aids used to take research further.
Know what records are available and their whereabouts.
Place sources of data into the context of their original purpose.
Understand the techniques required to use sources of data in genealogical research.

Visit our website to download a complete curriculum and book your place.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

Total price for all 13 weeks: £225.00. Members have a discounted price: £180.

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/stage-2-evening-skills-course-5

Shows a woman in a large hat and wearing a rosette.

Dating Old Photographs and Victorian Fashion

  • 8 September 2018 2-5pm

Learn basic tips on dating your family photographs taken between 1850 - 1920. By the end of the session you'll have the tools and confidence to help you with sorting through your photographs.

?Learn more about your Victorian female ancestors through this talk on women’s fashions. Contrary to what you might believe, this was a vibrant period for women’s fashion, full of colour and the most incredible shapes with equally amazing underwear!

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.

Admission

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

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/dating-old-photographs-victorian-fashion

Shows a group of women sitting, working, outside a cottage.

Old Photographs: History, Restoration and Caring for your Family History Collection

  • 8 September 2018 10:30am-1pm

In this course, Helen Dawkins looks at the history of photography, identifying some of the early formats and how photography was used to record our social history. She brings with her actual examples to aid identification.

Helen also covers some of the problems occurring with old photographs and gives advice on repairs. In the final session, Helen covers how to care for your collections, from simple photograph albums to archival storage, such as that used by museums and libraries, and gives advice on framing.

Helen Dawkins remains one of the few practitioners in traditional restoration, producing negatives and silver halide, darkroom produced prints.

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 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/old-photographs-history-restoration-and-caring-for-your-family-histo

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Understanding Graveyard Symbolism

  • 12 September 2018 2-3pm

Find out more about your ancestors through the hidden meaning of the signs, symbols and other representations found on funerary monuments of the 19th and 20th centuries.

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/understanding-graveyard-symbolism

Shows the cover of David Wright's book 'Tracing Your Kent Ancestors'

For family historians: An Introduction to Kent Genealogy

  • 13 September 2018 2-3pm

After 40 years of professional work in the county and the compilation of several books and catalogues on its records, David Wright wrote Tracing Your Kent Ancestors in 2016. It was based fairly and squarely on the development of his own pedigree and the construction of many others over several decades. It offers many insights into problem-solving and out-of-the-way sources, not forgetting Latin and paleography.

David’s talk covers a broad range of subjects to encourage those with Kentish ancestry to look a little further.

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/an-introduction-to-kent-genealogy

Cartoon-like clouds float in a sketch

A Look at Cloud Computing: One Researcher's View of Computing in the Cloud

  • 15 September 2018 10:30am-1pm

These days many of us have more than one computing device and we have other family members who would like to see our genealogy research. The Cloud offers us a way to share and transfer information with a far greater ease than ever before. ‘The Cloud’ is something often referred to but not necessarily always understood. It not only offers us a way to collect the data associated with family history but also to share and collaborate with other people all over the world, in real-time if we want.

In this half-day course, one family researcher explains how he makes use of Cloud tools in his family research.

Admission

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

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/a-look-at-cloud-computing-one-researchers-view-of-computing-in-the-cl

Shows people waiting outside a workhouse.

The Poor, the Parish, the Workhouse, and the Records

  • 15 September 2018 2-5pm

In this half-day course, Gill Blanchard covers two topics.

Session 1 The Poor and the Parish
What happened to the poor before union workhouses came into force in 1834? Discover what local parish records can tell us about provision for the poor and those who maintained them.

Session 2 The Workhouse and its Records
- How and why people ended up in the workhouse;
- What life was like inside workhouses;
- Who paid for the system;
- Attitudes to the poor;
- Where and how to find their records.

Admission

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

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/the-poor-and-the-parish-the-workhouse-and-its-records

Shows a young girl gardening with an older woman

Oral History and Family History

  • 19 September 2018 2-3pm

Mary Stewart and Cynthia Brown give a brief introduction to oral history and how oral history techniques can be used by family historians. 

Through case studies from the British Library and from local history research in the Leicestershire area, Mary and Cynthia will also discuss how archived recordings can add crucial context to family research.

Finally they will explore how some families have reacted when accessing a relative’s audio interview, and how the interview intersects with existing family histories.

Anyone interested in family history or oral history is very welcome. There are no special entry requirements and you do not need to be a Member of the Society of Genealogists to attend. Expect a friendly atmosphere, expert tutors and lots of detail.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

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

Website

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

Shows a portrait of a couple.

For Family Historians: Coroners' Inquests

  • 26 September 2018 2-3pm

Coroners’ inquests produce a lot of information for family historians. Your ancestors might have been involved in a number of ways. They might have been members of the jury, a court official or a witness. Inquests don’t just reveal how someone died. They also show how, where and with whom the deceased lived, and how they got on with family, friends and neighbours.

A one-hour lecture with Dr Kathy Chater.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

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

Website

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

Shows the cover of Ian Waller's book 'My Ancestor was a Leather Worker'

My Ancestor was a Leather Worker

  • 29 September 2018 2-5pm

Many of us find ancestors that worked with leather: tanners, curriers, shoemakers, saddlers, leather bottle makers and bookbinders to mention a few. Some trades were highly skilled and others were performed by the labouring classes. The leather trade had its height in the mid 1800s.

In this half-day course, Ian Waller looks at the variety of records available and the conditions in which they worked.

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/my-ancestor-was-a-leather-worker-2

Shows a group of children outside a building, with one or two nurses.

Adoption - Research, Psychology and Ethics

  • 29 September 2018 10:30am-1pm

This half-day course covers two topics.

Session 1 How to Trace Adopted Family Members and Living Relatives, with Eric Probert, FSG
This talk will initially consider the clues for and reasons leading to adoptions and their extent before examining the nature and location of available records and the organisations, including Children's Homes, that created them. We then explore the location of adoption files and current adoption agencies before explaining how to find birth parents and adopted children including the process of adoption certificate application. Examples will be shown and sources of further information highlighted.

Session 2 Ethical dilemmas in adoption research, with Dr Penny Walters
This session describes some of the ethical dilemmas that can arise from adoptee research. Dr Penny Walters, an adoptee herself, covers some of the issues you might face when researching a bloodline family tree. Adoptees start with discovering they have a new name, and then potentially find lots of overwhelming factual information for people they’ve never actually met before. Penny discusses the excitement, problems, pain, and practical realities of researching a ‘new’ family. Some people don’t want to be ‘found,’ some have been desperately searching for years. Some people find that their blood mother was forced into adopting her baby. Some adoptees will have a fruitless paper trail, and Penny discusses how DNA testing can solve some mysteries. She also covers how researchers (both professional and amateur) can sensitively help adoptees with their research. She provides a list of useful websites and a variety of books (both academic and anecdotal).

Admission

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

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/adoption-research-psychology-and-ethics

Shows part of the Family Historian website home page.

Family Historian Software Practical for Intermediate Users

  • 6 October 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.
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