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

Family History Skills Stage 1 - evening classes

  • 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

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Radical, Labour and Freethought Archives

  • 28 June 2017 2-3pm

The Bishopsgate Institute is home to the Library and Archives of many radicals and troublemakers, including the infidel Charles Bradlaugh and the blasphemer George Jacob Holyoake. We hold a number of collections that document the people and organisations that dared to challenge the status quo.
Join Library and Archives Manager, Stefan Dickers, to explore:
- the stories that lie behind some of the collections on the shelves at the Bishopsgate Institute;
- the themes of London, labour, co-operation, freethought and protest. 

Stefan qualified as an Archivist in 2001 and started at Bishopsgate in 2005. Before this, Stefan worked in the Archives of the London School of Economics and Senate House Library.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

This one-hour talk costs £8.00. For Members of the Society of Genealogists, there is a discounted price of £6.40.

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/radical-labour-freethought-archives

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For Family Historians: Free Library Tours

  • 1 July 2017 11am-1pm

Full of family history treasures and records, directories and databases, 3 floors and over 120,000 items - what's not to like?

If you're working on your family's history, the Society of Genealogists' Library is a great place to explore. You can come in and browse, just asking the staff and volunteers for help when you need it. But, seriously, with so much to see, the Society recommends that you take a library tour.

They're free, they're 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-library-1-july

Shows the top part of Family Historian's home page

Family Historian Software - a practical workshop for intermediate users

  • 1 July 2017 2-5pm

Join us for this hands-on, practical workshop that will help you to get the most from the UK’s leading genealogical software.

All your questions are welcome!

You must bring a laptop or device to get the most out of this practical half-day workshop.

A half-day course with John Hanson

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

This half-day workshop runs from 2.00 to 5.00 pm. The cost is £20.00.

Website

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

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Tracing Family History in New Zealand: Discovering Ancestral Footprints

  • 5 July 2017 2-3pm

Find out how to trace ancestors who emigrated from Britain to New Zealand. In this one-hour talk, Jan Gow covers the who, the where and the what of looking for your family in New Zealand.
- How to look up birth, marriage and death records in New Zealand;
- Where to look - it's a small, new country with fabulous records;
- Look for the siblings of your ancestors, who seem to have disappeared and may have left amazing footprints in New Zealand.

Case studies to show what you can find, who to research and what to look for to find the footprints.

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/tracing-family-history-in-new-zealand-discovering-ancestral-footprint

Shows some books with 'Your book here' written on one of them

Self-Publishing for Family Historians

  • 8 July 2017 10:30am-1pm

You have written your family history, or are in the process of writing it, or maybe just starting out. So, what happens next?

Whether you are thinking of producing just a few books for the immediate family, or you are hoping for a wider audience, self-publishing offers many easily-accessible options for the family historian. This short course covers:
- Options for publishing print books and ebooks;
- How to go about it;
- How to do it yourself or find others to do it for you;
- How and where to distribute your book.

Patsy Trench is a writer and self-publisher. The course is based on her experience of self-publishing 'The Worst Country in the World', Book 1 of a family history trilogy, about her ancestress that emigrated from Dorset to New South Wales in 1801.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

This half-day workshop 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/self-publishing-for-family-historians-2

Shows the cover of Kathy Chater's book

Insanity and Family History

  • 12 July 2017 2-3pm

Mental Illness is still an uncomfortable subject for many families. Over the centuries there have been many theories about its causes and how to treat it, ranging from the bizarre and brutal to the sensitive and successful.

Dr Kathy Chater's talk covers:
- Where to look for records;
- The kinds of treatment sufferers were likely to receive at different periods.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

One-hour talk: £8.00; discounted price for SoG Members: £6.40

Website

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

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Using Evernote for Family History (Beginners)

  • 15 July 2017 10:30am-1pm

Learn about this useful software and how you can best use it for your family history research.

Gather files, notes and photos to keep the physical and digital details of your projects with you at all times for easier organisation. Automatically sync across all of your devices. The basic version is free and also very feature rich.

A half-day course Graham Walter

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

Half-day course: £20.00 Members of the Society of Genealogists: £16.00.

Website

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

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Tracing your Italian Ancestry - Fundamentals and Fun Stuff

  • 15 July 2017 2-5pm

In this half-day workshop, Lynn Serafinn takes you on a whistle-stop tour of the fundamentals of tracing your Italian ancestry. While the primary focus will be parish records, we’ll take a short excursion into notary records and old church parchments, both of which can unlock a rich history of your Italian ancestors that goes well beyond just names, dates and places. Handouts of resources will be provided.

Fun stuff includes:
1: The role of the notaio (notary) in legal documents, and what these documents can tell us (with practical examples);
2: How exploring parish pergamene (parchments) can unlock surprises about your ancestors you will never find in any other kind of document;
3: Example of a Baroque-era oil painting, illustrating the family tree of an ancient noble family;
Plus questions and answers as time permits.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

Half-day course: £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/family-history-for-beginners-parish-registers-5

Shows a number of images bursting through a brick wall.

The Myth of the Brickwall and Bulletproofing your Family History Research

  • 22 July 2017 10:30am-1pm

There are no brick walls, only negative thinking, and there are better ways of going about your investigations. This talk deals with building up the past and with building reasonable certainty into your genealogical findings.

Topics include all are ways to maximise your findings, expand your family history and pass it on with confidence to your family and descendants:
- Evidence and absence of evidence;
- Logical assessment of facts;
- Less used sources;
- Searching for patterns;
- Temporal linkages;
- The value of geography;
- Probability versus proof;
- Iterative refinement;
- Referencing sources.

There will be many examples from England, Scotland and abroad.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

Half-day workshop: £20.00
If you are a Member of the Society of Genealogists: £16.00.
It’s easy to become a Member and there are loads of other benefits and discounts. Visit our website (www.sog.org.uk) to find out more.

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/the-myth-of-the-brickwall-bulletproofing-your-research

Shows book, laptop, notes - all the things a genealogist uses

Careers in Genealogy: The Road to AGRA and Running a Genealogical Practice

  • 22 July 2017 2-5pm

Are you thinking of doing genealogical research as a paid professional? If you read the classified ads in the many family history magazines, you will find there is no shortage of offers of research for a fee. But how do you know that you can trust your research, and money, to these people? Are they competent, running a business or just making a quick buck?

There are many issues around actually running a genealogical practice. In this talk, Ian Marson gives you insight into what is involved and how membership of AGRA (The Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives) is an advantage to professional genealogy.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

Half-day course: £20.00; discount for SoG Members: £16.00

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/careers-in-genealogy-the-road-to-agra-running-a-genealogical-practi-4

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Tying Down your Immigrant Ancestor

  • 26 July 2017 2-3pm

Even when we know that people on our family tree came to Britain to live from other parts of the world, it can be difficult to establish the facts. Shipping records can be non-existent, a death at sea may not be recorded in any expected place, or a female ancestor may marry when she arrives in her new country. There are many challenges.

In this one-hour talk, Michael Gandy offers advice on how to find your immigrant ancestors.

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 £6.40 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/tying-down-your-immigrant-ancestor-2

Family History: Tracing Ancestors in Wales

  • 29 July 2017 2-5pm

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 Gill Thomas for a half day course focusing on Welsh Ancestry. Covering topics from administration districts to ecclesiastical records to surnames to monumental inscriptions and pre-Census records, we aim to guide you towards finding more about your Welsh ancestors. With additional information such as how to research specialist topics including Welsh army regiments and occupations such as Merchant Navy service, we will show you how to access additional records both on and offline.

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/the-workhouse

Shows poor people outside a workhouse

Family History: The Workhouse

  • 29 July 2017 10:30am-1pm

The very poor of Victorian society, the destitute, and those who were unable to help themselves all too often found themselves in the workhouse. But was it as bad as has often been made out?

Come along and find out – you may be surprised by what you discover. Simon Fowler discusses the experiences of pauper inmates between the early 18th century when the first workhouses were established, until they were formally abolished in 1930. He looks at:
- Surviving archival resources;
- The long-suffering staff employed by workhouses and how you can trace their careers.

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/the-workhouse

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What did your Ancestors do?

  • 2 August 2017 2-3pm

Genealogy success depends on discovering where and when your ancestors lived and what they did in their lives.

In this talk, Else Churchill provides an overview of the many primary and printed sources that will give information about members of the professions as well as information on craftsmen, artisans and traders.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

£8.00; If you are a Member of the Society of Genealogists: £6.40

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/what-did-your-ancestors-do

Shows the front page of the literature for the day

From the Raj to Independence: Researching British Families in India

  • 5 August 2017 10:30am-5pm

An introduction to sources for family history in the British Library with Hedley Sutton from the British Library
Deals with the basics of looking for details of births/baptisms, marriages and deaths/burials in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room at the British Library. Explains why the British Library holds this treasure trove of genealogical information. Gives practical guidance for new and inexperienced researchers using the Library for the first time.

From Boarshorst to Bangalore: The Story of James Bradbury with Geraldine Charles from FIBIS:
A helpful case history of a family historian’s search for her great-great-grandfather, who went to India with the Madras Artillery. Geraldine researched why he might have gone there, what the Artillery were doing, what he looked like, his marriage and the births and deaths of his children.

Beyond BMDs: More British Library sources for family history in South Asia with Hedley Sutton from the British Library:
A more detailed look at the range of archival and other sources available in the Library for researching European ancestors in South Asia.

British India Sources in the SoG Library with Else Churchill from the Society of Genealogists:
The remarkable collection of Indian material in the Society of Genealogists Library is largely due to the efforts in the 1930s and 1940s of Lt Col H Kendal Percy-Smith F.R.Hist, FSG and his friends Brigadier H Bullock and Major Vernon Hodson FSG (1883-1963). Lt Col Percy-Smith became Honorary Librarian of the Society of Genealogists in 1937. He maintained that “Life consists of spells of hard work alternating with periods of slackness with nothing to do”. Inspired by reading back copies of the Genealogists Magazine during his spells in India during the war years with presumably, in his words, nothing to do, Lt Col Percy-Smith became one of those indefatigable indexers to whom genealogists owe heartfelt thanks for the wealth of transcripts, abstracts and indexed records held in the Society’s library and now being digitised for Members.

Questions and Answers

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

This is a full-day course costs £35.00. For Members of the Society of Genealogists, a discounted price of £28.00 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/from-raj-to-independence-researching-british-families-in-india

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Family History: British Population Listings - 17th to 20th centuries

  • 12 August 2017 2-5pm

From early times, the state, the church and many private or local authorities made lists of all kinds recording the names of individuals. Many of these records give extensive lists of names, providing us with early 'census' substitutes. Not only can they give you information about an individual but also about relationships. They can also give actual addresses and details about property and other information, painting a glorious picture of the way someone lived and fitted into their local community.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

This half-day course costs £16.00. 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/seventeenth-to-the-twentieth-centuries-british-population-

Shows a group of Victorian ladies sitting around a tree

Lincs Links - Tracing Family History in Lincolnshire

  • 16 August 2017 2-3pm

Lincolnshire is a county which has much of hidden interest.  Look beyond the 'Ag Labs' to discover her industrial innovations, including agricultural machinery and the WW1 tank.  Also, there are airbases still open - one being the home of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Then there are a number of famous and infamous sons and daughters including Sir Isaac Newton, Margaret Thatcher, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and The Acid Bath Murderer.

In this talk, Jeff Royce and Richard Brown introduce you to useful sources on the web, known as Lincs Links, which will help you to explore the County’s rich history. 

Richard Brown is Chairman and Programme Secretary of the Lincolnshire Family History Society - London Branch.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

This one-hour talk costs is £8.00. For Members of the Society of Genealogists, a discounted price of £6.40 is available.

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/tracing-family-history-in-lincolnshire-lincs-links

Shows the Tulip Stairs in the Queens House at Greenwich

Historic Greenwich

  • 23 August 2017 2-3pm

Ian Porter introduces you to Historic Greenwich. There is naval history, with buildings such as the Old Royal Naval College. There are lovely views of the whole of London. There are the Prime Meridian and the Royal Observatory. And there is plenty of Tudor history - Greenwich  was a favourite residence of both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.

On Friday 25th August, join Ian for a walk around the whole district, from 11 am to 1 pm.

There are no special entry requirements for this course and you do not need to be a Member of the Society of Genealogists to attend. However, it is specifically for people who want to understand more about the 17th century. Expect a friendly atmosphere, an expert tutor and lots of detail.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

This is a one-hour talk costing £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, 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/historic-greenwich

Shows a man walking down the street - may Edwardian

In the Name of God, Amen: Wills Workshop

  • 26 August 2017 10:30am-1pm

Maybe your ancestors owned large swathes of land in the north of England. Maybe they came from a more humble background in the West Country. No matter. The chances are that somewhere along the line some of them have left wills.

In this half-day course, Dave Annal looks at how to access wills and how to use them to get a better understanding of what life was really like for your ancestors.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

This is a half-day course 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/in-the-name-of-god-amen-wills-workshop-2

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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