Society of Genealogists

society of genealogists
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The Society of Genealogists offers a unique combination of research material, guidance and support for those interested in family history. It is a charity whose objects are to promote, encourage and foster the study, science and knowledge of genealogy. 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. The Society is 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. We run an extensive range of talks, walks and and courses on beginners, intermediate and advanced topics.

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 title page of oldest known newspaper 1609

Newspapers for Family Historians

  • 22 February 2017 12-1pm

How many times have you wondered what your ancestor was actually like and what he or she got up to? Newspapers and journals are an excellent way of exploring your ancestors' lives: not only discovering incidents that affected them but also gaining an understanding of the times in which they lived.

While Celia's talk concentrates on local newspapers, she will also explain:
- How to use national newspaper collections and what to expect from them.
- How to determine which local newspapers covered which localities
- How to access digitised and undigitised copies.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

One-hour talk: £8.00 If you are a Member: £6.40.
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/newspapers-for-family-historians

Shows part of a typical UK death certificate

Tracing your Ancestors through Death Records

  • 22 February 2017 2-3pm

Death records are among the most enlightening for the researcher! They frequently reveal personal information not found in other sources that will help you see your ancestor in a much more accurate light. Finding an ancestor’s death is crucial in another way too: an awful lot could have happened to him between the time you saw him recorded on his last census return or baptizing his final child and the day he died. Without the death record you only know half his story! Yet these records are surprisingly underused by many researchers.

Celia Heritage looks in detail at various types of death records, some familiar and some less so. She explains how to get the most from them and how to use them as springboards to discovering further vital sources.

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 interested in learning more about death records. Expect a friendly atmosphere, an expert tutor and lots of detail.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

This one-hour 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/tracing-your-ancestors-through-death-records-3

Shows a drawing of a coif made by David Ring for the Europeana Fashion Project

Coffers, Cauldrons, Comfrey and Coifs: The Lives of our 17th Century Ancestors

  • 25 February 2017 2-5pm

Why do you need a bum roll? What colour were carrots in the 17th century? What did the Cavaliers use for deodorant? Can you think of 47 uses for urine?

Supplying the answers to the above (well, maybe not all 47 uses), Janet Few gives us a light-hearted but informative talk. She gives us an insight into the domestic life of our 17th century ancestors and what they ate and drank. The emphasis is on providing the context against which to set the documentary evidence for this period.

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

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/tracing-ancestors-in-oxfordshire

Shows part of an old birth certificate

Fraud, Forgery, Feuding: The Coming of Civil Registration

  • 1 March 2017 2-3pm

Understanding how the birth, marriage and death records were collected and transmitted is helpful when you face deficiencies in the GRO (General Register Office) indexes.

In this talk, Dr Gwyneth Wilkie looks at the records before 1837, in the light of the evidence presented to the 1833 Select Committee on Parochial Registration. Dr Wilkie covers:
- keeping the records;
- the information included;
- the legal standing of Anglican and Dissenters' records;
- the difficulties in proving identity, descent and entitlement;
- the opportunities for forgery and fraud;
- attitudes to change, who wanted it and why.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

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

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/fraud-forgery-feuding-the-coming-of-civil-registration

Shows a mix of small images relating to families

For Family Historians: Census Substitutes

  • 4 March 2017 10:30am-1pm

If you get frustrated when you can’t find a person from your family tree on a census return? You're not alone! But there can be many reasons for people being missing. The essential question for family historians is: are there any other options that we could use?

In this half-day workshop, John Hanson covers:
- the reasons for people being missing on the census;
- the pros and cons of other options.

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/census-substitutes-3

Shows St Lukes parish church lit up at night

A Brief History of St Luke (Old Street) Parish

  • 9 March 2017 12-1pm

In the south-eastern corner of modern day Islington, London, once lay the former Parish of St Luke Old Street.

Originally part of the great fen which lay outside the London City Walls, the parish has been, and in some cases still is, the location of many notable buildings and sites and witness to some well-known events. These include the Honourable Artillery Company, Whitbread’s Brewery, Bunhill Fields Burial Ground and Wesley’s Chapel. The area also featured extensive archery fields, England’s first open-air swimming pool and the country’s first balloon ascent. During the 19th Century the parish was densely populated and became home to migrants from the home counties, looking for employment in the various trades based in the area.

Lecturer Mark Aston, from the Islington Museum and Local History Centre, tells the story of this fascinating part of London from its early existence as a marsh to 1900, when the Parish became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury and later Islington.

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.

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/a-brief-history-of-st-luke-old-street-parish

Shows an iPad and the words 'Love your Mac but...'

Family History Software on the Mac

  • 11 March 2017 10:30am-1pm

In this half-day workshop, Graham Walter looks at software specifically designed for storing your family history information. Using software specifically designed for the Mac makes it easier to organise your data and produce reports and charts to represent your family’s story.

Graham takes a quick tour of the most popular packages:
- Reunion 11;
- MacFamily Tree 8;
- Heredis 2015 for Mac
- Family Tree Maker for Mac 3.1

Where there is a companion app on iOS, Graham briefly reviews it, using a few screen shots to illustrate it and a method for synchronising between devices.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

Half-day course: £20.00
If you are a Member of the Society of Genealogists: £6.40.
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/family-history-software-on-the-mac

Bow Creek meets the Limehouse Cut

Britain's Best Kept Secret: London's Lea Valley

  • 15 March 2017 2-5pm

What do you know about London's Lea Valley?

Dr Jim Lewis calls it 'Britain's Best Kept Secret'. The Lea Valley region developed more industrial firsts than anywhere else in the world. It paved the way for how we live today.

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/londons-lea-valley-britains-best-kept-secret

Shows a policeman and portraits of ancestors

Lies, Damned Lies and Family History

  • 16 March 2017 2-3pm

We have all heard family tales about illustrious ancestors or simply tales of our forebears. Some of these tales are to hide dark secrets, but mostly they are just stories of our family's past.

In this talk, the Rev Wim Zwalf looks at some of the stories he was told about his ancestors and the ways he has researched them. Some turned out to be lies and damned lies. Some were true, or at least partially true. Some turned out to be sad and others hilarious. But all of them were worth researching!

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

This one-hour talk starts at 2.00 pm. The cost 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/lies-damned-lies-and-family-history

Shows an image taken from our Middle Library

For Family Historians: Free Library Tours

  • 18 March 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-18-march

Shows Princess Beatrice and her children in mourning

How to Die Like a Victorian

  • 22 March 2017 2-3pm

The Victorian preoccupation with death and dying might seem morbid to modern eyes. But have we now gone too far in the opposite direction?

In 21st century Britain, death tends to be hidden from public view. Today, medical professionals and undertakers take on many of the duties which in the past would have been carried out by the deceased’s relatives, such as washing and ‘laying out’ the body. Unlike the Victorians, today we experience a lack of familiarity with the dead which has led to the discussion of death becoming almost taboo and a subsequent rise in so called ‘death anxiety’.

In this talk, Holly Carter-Chappell examines 19th Century memorial traditions and shows how they are more relevant to modern day practices than we might think.

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.

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/getting-the-most-from-the-ancestry-website

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

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

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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