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 the Tulip Stairs in the Queens House at Greenwich

Historic Greenwich

  • 23 August 2017 2-3pm *on now

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

Shows a portrait of a bridegroom

Family History: Making and Breaking a Marriage

  • 2 September 2017 10:30am-1pm

The history and rules governing a church or civil marriage and the problems caused by marital breakdown are always a challenge to genealogists. Finding a marriage is one of the commonest problems for family historians and this course will help you to:
- Identify the sources that contain information;
- Give you the techniques that can help track down the information you need;
- Understand the role that ecclesiastic and civil courts played in marital breakdown and divorce and what records can help or hinder the genealogist.

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/making-breaking-a-marriage

Shows an old parchment in Latin and a quill pen

Medieval and Early Family History

  • 2 September 2017 2-5pm

In this half-day course, Dr Nick Barratt covers:
- Medieval and early family history sources;
- Practical information for research;
- Feudalism, landholding and social hierarchy;
- Government and local administration;
- Law and justice;
- Church and religion.

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. Tea and coffee are provided during a break in the session.

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/medieval-early-family-history

Shows people walking over Westminster Bridge in Victorian times

London’s Villages: Piccadilly and St James

  • 6 September 2017 2-3pm

What famous store was founded on the sale of second-hand candles? What club voted Margaret Thatcher an honorary man? Where aren’t you allowed to run, whistle, sing, open an umbrella, wheel a pushchair or carry a parcel?? Who was “the little gentleman in black velvet”?? What royal lodged two mistresses in the same house?

Join Pete Smith for the answers to all these questions and many more. 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 interested in London history. Expect a friendly atmosphere, an expert tutor and lots of detail.

Plus, why not join Pete’s walk 'Piccadilly and St James' at 11.00 am on Friday 8th September. The cost is £8.00 per person. It starts from just inside the entrance to Green Park, opposite the Ritz Hotel. Note: This is NOT a SoG event. Please just show up with cash payment in hand.

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/londons-villages-piccadilly-st-james

Shows a head with lots of knowledge floating out of it

Family History Skills Stage 2 - evening classes

  • 7 September 2017 6-8pm
  • 14 September 2017 6-8pm
  • 21 September 2017 6-8pm
  • 28 September 2017 6-8pm
  • 5 October 2017 6-8pm
  • 12 October 2017 6-8pm
  • 19 October 2017 6-8pm
  • 26 October 2017 6-8pm
  • 2 November 2017 6-8pm
  • 16 November 2017 6-8pm
  • 23 November 2017 6-8pm
  • 30 November 2017 6-8pm

Join us at the Society of Genealogists' popular evening course to develop your family history skills. This is our 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.

Deadline to enrol: 30 August

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 (General Registration, the censuses, directories, parish registers and bishops' transcripts and wills).

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-2-evening-skills-course-4

Shows a small group of women standing in front of a tree.

My Ancestor Came from Suffolk

  • 9 September 2017 10:30am-1pm

Join Gill Blanchard to learn how to find and use resources, from the well-known to hidden gems, to trace your Suffolk ancestry. Discover what is available locally, nationally and online. Gill includes case studies to show what is possible.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

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

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/how-to-die-like-a-victorian

Shows two young women sitting in an old car.

My Ancestor Came from Norfolk

  • 9 September 2017 2-5pm

Join Gill Blanchard for a half-day workshop to learn how to find and use resources, from the well-known to hidden gems, to trace your Norfolk ancestry. Discover what is available locally, nationally and online. Gill includes case studies to help you see what is possible.

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 a huge question mark and the copyright symbol.

Copyright for Family History

  • 13 September 2017 2-3pm

Copyright applies to photographs, diaries, paintings, film clips and many other works.  In this talk Margaret Haig aims to cover some of the issues you might face with copyright works in your family history.

Margaret covers:
- How long copyright lasts;
- When you might or might not need permission to use the works;
- What you can do if you cannot find the right holder and would like to copy the work.

Margaret's talk will be especially useful for those considering publication of their family history. 

Margaret Haig is with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), the official government body responsible for intellectual property rights including patents, designs, trademarks and copyright. 

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

This one-hour talk costs £8.00. Members of the Society of Genealogists have a discounted price of £6.40

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/copyright-for-family-history-3

Shows a doctor giving chloroform in Victorian times

Victorian Hospitals and Medical Ancestors

  • 16 September 2017 2-5pm

This course will consist of two talks:

In Sickness and In Health - Victorian Health Care 
The type of medical treatment our Victorian ancestors could receive depended upon their social class. Based on the research undertaken for her book 'Life in the Victorian Hospital', Michelle Higgs investigates the healthcare available in the 19th century and the conditions in hospitals for both patients and staff.

Tracing Patients, Doctors, Nurses and other Medical Ancestors
Hospital records, annual reports and professional registers can be used to trace ancestors who were either patients or staff such as doctors, surgeons, nurses or other medical professionals. Based on the research undertaken for her book 'Tracing Your Medical Ancestors', Michelle Higgs explains how to use these sources.

Michelle illustrates both talks with photographic images, illustrations and documents.

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/victorian-hospitals-medical-ancestors

Shows a family group from Victorian times with old records in the background

Understanding Civil Registration - A  Registrar’s View

  • 16 September 2017 10:30am-1pm

As researchers and family historians, we look at certificates of birth, marriage and death every day. But do we always interpret them correctly? 

In this course, with Antony Marr a former registrar, we look at the complex rules surrounding the registration of these vital events, including:
- Declarations;
- Corrections and re-registrations;
- Examples to dispel some myths and misunderstandings and show how understanding the process can help decipher complex families and find those elusive missing ancestors.    

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/understanding-civil-registration-a-registrars-view-2

Shows some images including one of a policeman

Forbidden Love: Love vs Law

  • 20 September 2017 2-3pm

The variations of love and the historic principles of British Law can throughout history often appear to be in conflict with modern beliefs. In this talk, Fred Feather looks at what constitutes the elements of a crime: criminal thought and criminal deed. He describes events in history where contemporary thinking does not fully accord with current legal practice. Among these are examples of: adultery, murder, incest, homosexuality and criminal conversations. Fred uses interpretations by artists of the time to illustrate the examples. For family historians, these events can be confusing unless they are aware of the thinking of that particular time.

Fred Feather was for 41 years a career policeman, specialising in child and victim protection and public relations. He has edited the journals of the Essex Family Historian and the military history Society Napoleonic. He is currently vice-president of the Essex Society for Family History.

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/forbidden-love-love-vs-law

Shows a painting of the Battle of Barnet

An Illustrated History of Barnet

  • 27 September 2017 2-3pm

The issuing of a charter for a market in 1199 gave Chipping Barnet its name. The growth of the coaching industry in the 17th century gave Barnet High Street 45 pubs. And the town gave its name to a battle attended by three kings.

Using drawings, maps and photos Rob Kayne helps us examine the rich history of Barnet from medieval times to the present.

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/an-illustrated-history-of-barnet

Shows a family group

Tracing your Ancestors in Leicestershire

  • 30 September 2017 2-5pm

It's always better to know something about a county, its Archives Office and the deposits you might find before you venture forth from your armchair.

A knowledge of ancestry in Leicestershire has to be guided by the impact and knowledge of registration divisions to account for the oddities which can assault you. Dominic Johnson is hoping that his photographic guided tour of the Archives Office and what you may expect to find at Leicester Record Office and in other places will answer most questions you have in mind.

Admission

This half-day course costs £20.00. For Members of the Society of Genealogists, a discounted price of £16.00 is available. It's easy to become a Member. Find details on our website, www.sog.org.uk. 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-your-ancestors-in-leicestershire

Shows the screen on TNA website where you can download a will

Getting the Best from The National Archives and its Website

  • 30 September 2017 10:30am-1pm

A day at The National Archives at Kew can be a daunting experience. Join this course and arrive better prepared.

We'll begin by looking at resources you can use before you visit to discover exactly which documents you need to order. You will then make the best use of your time in the reading rooms.

There will be tips to help you find what you want easily and quickly.

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, 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/getting-the-best-from-the-national-archives-and-its-website

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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