Society of Genealogists

Shows the SoG building, standing outside and looking up to Clerkenwell Road
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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.
East Garston cottages 2006

Tracing your House History - For Family Historians

  • 25 March 2017 10:30am-5pm

Your house may have a story that is just as fascinating as your family history's.

Gill Blanchard wants to help you to learn how to trace the history of your home, or a house where your ancestors lived.

In this full-day course, Gill covers:
- Learn about the documents you can use to build a picture of what homes looked like in the past - inside and out;
- Discover how to find out who lived in the building at different points in time;
- Explore when, how and why the house was built.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

Full-day course: £35.00; discounted price for SoG Members: £28.00

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/using-parish-registers-and-parish-chest-records

Shows shops, items bought and a shopper

Tracing your Ancestors through Local History Records

  • 29 March 2017 2-3pm

Most of us, involved in researching our ancestors, have a couple of centuries of names, dates and places. But these are merely the bare bones of ancestral history.

Working on the basis that 'No man is an island' to quote the poet John Donne, we can learn more about them by examining their surroundings. Dr Jonathon Oates encourages us to consider:
- What was life like in the places associated with them - the schools, churches, workplaces, villages or towns?
- What events did they witness, talk about or which shaped their lives?

Searching through local history resources can go a long way to help us understand more about their lives. But there are also pitfalls that may ensnare the unwary. Dr Oates also covers:
- The sources to look at;
- How to make the most of them.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

One-hour talk: £8.00. Members of the Society of Genealogists: £6.40.

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/courses/tracing-your-ancestors-through-local-history-records

View of Paris in 1900 taken at the exposition

For family historians: Tracing French Genealogy

  • 1 April 2017 2-5pm

This half-day course with Anne Morddel covers two topics:
1) The Basics of Parish and Civil Registrations
France has required the recording of birth, marriage and death information since 1715, first as parish registrations by curates and priests of baptisms, marriages and burials, then, from 1792, as civil registrations. Nearly all of these, as well as those of many Protestant churches, have been filmed, now digitised, and are available at no charge online on the various websites of the Departmental Archives. The format of these registrations, how to find them and search through them and interpret them is explained in detail.

2) Using French Notarial Records In Genealogy
Parish and civil registrations are just the beginning of genealogical research in France. Notarial records often provide much, much more information about a family. At times, as with Paris research, they may be the only source. They are not limited to French families but include many documents written for foreigners, resident or doing business in France. More and more of these, or at least the indices to them, are being put online. With a detailed look at a single family's notarial records, learn about the many types of notarial records and how can they be used to trace your ancestors, how to find them online and request copies, and how to read and interpret them.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

This half-day course costs £20.00. For Members of the Society of Genealogists, a discounted price of £16.00 is available.

Website

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

Shows someone looking at a very old scroll

Getting the Most from the Society of Genealogists - free talk

  • 19 April 2017 12-1pm

There's nothing more exciting for a family historian than to find a document belonging or relating to one of their ancestors. With our extensive and ever growing collections, many more people are making these discoveries. The Society of Genealogists was founded in 1911. Ever since then we've been collecting family history documents, long before the arrival of local record offices - even typewriters were new. The Society became the National Family History Centre and is the UK-wide repository for family history documents and records. So, we have documents and items that you might not expect to find.

For a start, the Society has Britain’s largest collection of parish register copies and many nonconformist registers. Our ‘Special’, ‘Document’ and ‘Topographical’ Collections contain amazing items that display the UK’s diverse and rich cultural heritage. Our collections relate to over 44,000 surnames. Many documents are originals and date as far back as the 15th century.

Records that might otherwise have been destroyed are now safely housed within the Society’s archives. These include the Bank of England will extracts, with details from the wills of Charles Dickens, Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington. Within our collections you can find marriage settlements, deeds, certificates, wills, photographs, newspaper clippings, probates, family coat of arms and letters. These documents and photographs are often beautiful to look at. They also give us tremendous insight into what life was like for our ancestors.

Where do you start? What do you choose to look at first? How do you find items and how long can you look? In this free talk, Else Churchill aims to explain what's available and all the benefits the Society offers.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

This one-hour talk starts at 12.00 midday and is free of charge. Places go very quickly, so please book your seat 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/getting-the-most-from-the-society-of-genealogists-6

Shows a collection of papers from the Norris family

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

  • 19 April 2017 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 1-hour talk Else Churchill, the SoG Genealogist, describes how to effectively search the records, and gives an update on what is available.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

This one-hour talk starts at 2.00 pm and is free of charge. Places go very quickly, so please book your seat 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/getting-the-most-from-sogdata-online

Cartoon image of a little girl at a computer with loads of things flying out of it.

Electronic Family History

  • 20 April 2017 2-3pm

What's the best way to find your family's history and build a family tree online?

Robert Parker delivers an engaging talk, sharing his experiences and his favourites, on:
- Where to start;
- Which websites to use for results;
- Where can you find the right data for your family amongst the billions of records.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

This one-hour talk costs £8.00. For Members of the Society of Genealogists, a discounted price of £6.50 is available. Please try to book 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/electronic-family-history

Shows a head with lots of knowledge floating out of it

Family History Skills Stage 1 - evening classes

  • 20 April 2017 6-8pm
  • 27 April 2017 6-8pm
  • 4 May 2017 6-8pm
  • 11 May 2017 6-8pm
  • 18 May 2017 6-8pm
  • 25 May 2017 6-8pm
  • 1 June 2017 6-8pm
  • 8 June 2017 6-8pm
  • 15 June 2017 6-8pm
  • 22 June 2017 6-8pm
  • 29 June 2017 6-8pm
  • 6 July 2017 6-8pm
  • 13 July 2017 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.

The Family History Skills course has two stages. Stage 1 covers many of the fundamental records, search techniques and standards. Stage 2 covers the records and techniques that professional genealogists use to take their research further.

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-6

Shows the front page of very old document

Getting the Most from the Society Catalogue (SOGCAT) - free talk

  • 26 April 2017 2-3pm

Come and enjoy an interesting talk on the Society Catalogue, SoGCAT, the Society of Genealogists’ online library catalogue. It lists the holdings at our premises in London. The catalogue contains details of everything in the Library except the Document Collections. SoG Members can view some of our databases using SoG Data Online. To search other items listed in the SoGCAT, you must either visit the Library or use the Society’s Search and Copy Service. SoGCAT is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

In this one-hour free talk, Else Churchill, our Genealogist, provides lots of information on how to use SoGCAT and what it holds.

The Society of Genealogists is a charity whose objects are to promote, encourage and foster the study, science and knowledge of genealogy. Our Library is the foremost for family history in the British Isles with a large collection of books and other material.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

This one-hour talk starts at 2.00 pm and is free of charge. Places go very quickly, so please book your seat 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/getting-the-most-from-the-library-catalogue-sogcat

Shows a cadet in the Royal Navy who actually came from Yorkshire

Family History: Tracing Your Yorkshire Relatives

  • 29 April 2017 10:30am-1pm

Many of us have ancestors that lived and worked in Yorkshire. The county has played a significant role in Britain's history. Your ancestors may have been coal miners, workers in the steel or cutlery industry or drawn to the area because of the jobs available in the textile factories.

It isn't always straightforward to know where to look when you want to understand what their lives were like. John Hanson and Sue Gibbons aim to help you in this half-day course. John covers sources for Yorkshire records, including those that are now online. Sue covers the sources you can find in the Society of Genealogists' Library.

Admission

This half-day course costs £20.00. For Members of the Society of Genealogists, a discounted price of £16.00 is available.

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/tracing-your-yorkshire-ancestors-2

Shows a family tree being drawn with small portraits in the background

Family History for Beginners - Births, Marriages, Deaths and Census Records

  • 29 April 2017 2-5pm

Starting out on family history research? Find out where to start and what to do.

The records that relate to a person's birth, marriage and death are referred to as the civil registration records. They are the fundamental building blocks of your family tree. Civil registration began in England in 1837, in Scotland records began in 1855 and in Ireland in 1864 (Irish non-Catholic marriages were recorded from 1845). However, registering a birth only became compulsory in 1874 so before then, children may not have been registered.
Census returns from the 19th and early 20th centuries give us a snapshot of a family living together in a household on the night of the census. It's true that the records are online now, but just entering your ancestors' names in a search program may not give you any results or you may find people with similar names that aren't actually part of your direct family tree.

In this half-day course, Louise Taylor covers:
- how to correctly trace certificates of birth, marriage and death (civil registration);
- why it's important to find evidence of these milestones in your ancestors' lives;
- how to find your ancestors in census records.

There are no special requirements for this workshop and you do not need to be a Member of the Society of Genealogists to attend. We are hosting this Family History workshop to introduce beginners to the range of documents used in family research. Expect a friendly atmosphere, an expert tutor and a wealth of detail. During the break for tea or coffee, you can chat to other people attending who share your interests.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

This is half-day workshop costs £20.00. For Members of the Society of Genealogists, a discounted price of £16.00 is available. 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/family-history-for-beginners-finding-births-marriages-and-deaths-t

Shows varies images of Irish life and the cover of our programme

Family History: Irish Ancestors and Irish Lives - Getaway Week

  • 5 — 9 June 2017

Join us at the Society of Genealogists for an Irish Family History Getaway Week. The Society is hosting this five-day programme in its Library in London. You can attend talks and workshops to find out how to trace your Irish ancestors, and the resources that are available, including new collections and developments. Then, as part of the programme, explore the books, documents and records in our Library and Catalogue and have personal consultations with our Help and Advice Team looking at your family tree. Fourteen talks, help using our Library and lunch are included in the cost.

Spread over the five days, we aim to help you to find your Irish ancestors and to develop your understanding of how they lived and how the history of Ireland affected their lives. The sessions will focus on some broad themes: basic church and civil records; 17th century records; 18th and 19th century life in Ireland; and lesser known and new sources.

Develop a greater knowledge of where to find records and the information they might hold to help you build up a picture of your Irish ancestors’ lives.

Learn more about the underlying social and local context of life in Ireland from the 17th to the 19th century. An appreciation of the issues your ancestors faced enables you to make more sense of what they did and what happened to them.

Find out about the lesser known sources of records and data that will help you to really put some flesh on your ancestors’ bones.

We’ve built into the programme some time each day for you to do your own research. Of course, you will want to use the Society's remarkable Library collection of over 120,000 items - 4 floors full of fascinating records. And you can book personal consultations with the tutors and members of the Society’s expert Help and Advice Team to discuss the challenges in your Irish family tree.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

The cost covers: all talks and workshops, sandwich lunch, access to our Library and personal consultations.

If you are not a Member of the Society of Genealogists: £220.00 for the full five-day course.

If you are a Member: £176.00 for the full five days.

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/family-history-getaway-irish-ancestors-irish-lives

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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