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.
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Stage 1 Family History Skills - Evening Classes

  • 26 April 2018 6-8pm
  • 3 May 2018 6-8pm
  • 10 May 2018 6-8pm
  • 17 May 2018 6-8pm
  • 24 May 2018 6-8pm
  • 31 May 2018 6-8pm
  • 7 June 2018 6-8pm
  • 14 June 2018 6-8pm
  • 21 June 2018 6-8pm
  • 28 June 2018 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.

Deadline to enrol: 27 March 2018

Who is this course for?
There are no specific requirements or special knowledge needed for you to attend Stage 1. The classes are ideal for people wanting to be better at building their family tree and for anyone thinking about becoming a genealogist. You can expect an entertaining and enjoyable experience.

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-7

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For family historians: free one-to-one internet advice sessions

  • 28 April 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

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Understanding a Birth Certificate, How Difficult Can It Be?

  • 25 April 2018 2-3pm

We all take the simple birth certificate for granted, but there’s more to look at than most of us think. In this talk, Anthony Marr explains the hidden information appearing in plain sight on a certificate and how to fully decode this most basic of family history sources. Anthony also covers the often misunderstood additions of declarations, corrections and re-registrations.

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.

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/the-history-of-wapping-whitechapel-and-mile-end-in-the-18th-century

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Tracing your Royal and Merchant Navy Ancestors (before 1914)

  • 28 April 2018 10:30am-1pm

In this half-day course, Simon Fowler describes the sources available for tracing family in the Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy, for the period before World War I. Simon covers how to find the records, how to read them and how to understand them.

Anyone interested in family history or naval history is very welcome. 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

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-your-catholic-ancestors

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Family and Local History Sources in the Borough of Ealing

  • 2 May 2018 2-3pm

The London Borough of Ealing, covering a large area in West London, was named Queen of Suburbs in 1902. During its history it has incorporated other boroughs, often those with an industrial character in contrast to Ealing's chiefly residential nature.

In this talk, Dr Jonathon Oates surveys Ealing’s history and looks at the material held for local and family historians.

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 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/family-local-history-sources-in-the-borough-of-ealing

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Courts, Crime and Punishment in Victorian England

  • 5 May 2018 2-5pm

In this half-day course, get a glimpse into the criminal lives of our ancestors. Antony Marr, a professional genealogist and Pharos tutor, looks at the records of courts, criminals, police, prisons and punishment through the 19th century. Antony discusses where and how you might find your ancestors through these fascinating windows into history.

Admission

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

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/courts-crime-punishment-in-victorian-england-3

A sketch of a miller and his assistant putting bread into an open oven.

My Ancestor was a Miller

  • 5 May 2018 2-5pm

In this half-day course, Laurie Page examines the sources and shows how to find ancestral occupations, including examples of records. Laurie describes the history of milling and the different types of mills that existed. He then covers useful sources for tracing miller ancestors and discusses the lives they led.

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 afternoon.

Admission

Half-day course running from 2.00 to 5.00 pm. Cost is £20.00. For Members of the Society of Genealogists: £16.00.

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/my-ancestor-was-a-miller

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Family Historian Software for Beginners and Refreshers

  • 12 May 2018 10:30am-5pm

Family Historian is a powerful, award-winning genealogy program, with comprehensive features designed to meet the needs of anyone new to family history research as well as the needs of experts.

In this full-day workshop, John Hanson provides an overview of Family Historian version 6. The sessions during the day are designed specifically for UK users, both beginners and people wanting to refresh their understanding.

In the morning session, John covers how to add information to the database including:
- Adding family members;
- Editing people's details;
- Adding people that aren't related;
- Sorting or changing the order of children;
- Recording your sources - includes using Ancestral Sources;
- Adding extra facts about a person.

In the afternoon session, John looks at how to get the information that you entered out and covers:
- Drawing a tree and saving it;
- Creating reports;
- Writing queries.
 
You do not need to bring a laptop for the day. But DO bring all your questions about using the software.
Important: This workshop covers using the Family Historian software. The workshop does not cover general family history research

Admission

£35.00; discounted for Members of Society of Genealogists £28.00

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/family-historian-software-for-beginners-refreshers-6

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

  • 16 May 2018 2-3pm

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.

The Society Catalogue, SoGCAT, is the Society of Genealogists' online library catalogue. It lists the details of everything in the library at our premises in London. 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, the SoG Genealogist, provides lots of information on how to use SoGCAT.

Admission

Free but places go very quickly so please register.

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/getting-the-most-from-the-society-of-genealogists-library-catalogue-s

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Researching Spanish Genealogy for non-Spanish Speakers

  • 17 May 2018 2-3pm

In this one-hour talk, Mike De Lara takes a brief look at Roman law and its effect on Spain today. He then discusses the Golden Age and modern Spanish genealogy. 

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 beginning to search for their Spanish ancestors and are eager to understand the best ways of doing it. Expect a friendly atmosphere, an expert tutor 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/researching-spanish-genealogy-for-non-spanish-speakers

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Family History Workshop: Using The National Archives Website

  • 19 May 2018 10:30am-1pm

Join this practical workshop to get the best use of The National Archives website.

Simon Fowler is a professional researcher, who spends many hours each day trying to make sense of TNA website. He looks at the website’s highlights, including the Discovery catalogue and the research guides. He also covers some unusual resources that you might not have come across before.

The workshop includes practical exercises and research assignments, so students should bring a laptop or tablet to get the most out of this course.

Please note: This workshop is not suitable for anyone who is not confident in using the web.

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/using-the-national-archives-website-workshop

Shows a portrait of William Penn, a Quaker, painted in 1666.

My Ancestor was a Quaker

  • 23 May 2018 2-3pm

The Religious Society of Friends began as a movement in England in the mid-17th century in Lancashire. Members are informally known as Quakers, as they were said "to tremble in the way of the Lord". The Society of Friends has been influential in the history of reform, through the founding or reforming of various institutions, both in the UK and abroad. This includes the abolition of slavery, promoting equal rights for women, and the education and humane treatment of prisoners and the mentally ill.

In this talk, Michael Gandy looks at how one might trace Quakers in the family and how to learn more about the lives they led.

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.

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/my-ancestor-was-a-quaker

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A History of Soho through its Street Names

  • 24 May 2018 2-3pm

Soho tells its story through its street names: land ownership, historical events, architects and builders, residential and industrial glories. The names of the streets are part of this bohemian district’s history as it retains and displays its multicultural influences with pride.

Admission

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

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/a-history-of-soho-through-its-street-names

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Whats in a Name?  A Closer Look at Surnames and Forenames

  • 26 May 2018 10:30am-1pm

This half-day course has two sessions:
Session 1 –Surnames - A Guide To Family Name Research In The 21St Century – Debbie Kennett
Based on her book, ‘The Surnames Handbook: A Guide To Family Name Research In The 21St Century’ this talk will take you through all of the steps needed to trace the origins of your surname and shows how to follow your family history back as far as possible. It is thrilling to discover incidences of your own surname that can appear in the 1300 or 1400s.
Session 2 - In Pursuit of Lot’s! Using Forenames to Build the Family Tree – Sue Swalwell
All too often we accept given names without much thought about their choice. But a new or changed pattern of naming can be an important event to consider. In this session, the speaker demonstrates how paying more attention to the usual and unusual naming patterns within the family can:
- Provide a shortcut to tracking individual families within the ancestral family;
- Demonstrate migration patterns of the ancestral and the collateral family within the UK and globally;
- Provide evidence of a link to a significant family event that triggered the introduction of the unusual surname.

Admission

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

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/whats-in-a-name-a-closer-look-at-surnames-forenames

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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