Society of Genealogists

society of genealogists
Guided tours icon Library icon Study area icon Hearing disability facilities icon Wheelchair access icon

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 an image taken from our Middle Library

For Family Historians: Free Library Tours

  • 21 January 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-16

Shows part of the Ancestry website home page

Getting the Most from the Ancestry Website

  • 21 January 2017 10:30am-1pm

The Ancestry website offers access to 1 billion searchable UK family history records. It enables you to explore your family history using censuses, birth, marriage and death records, passenger lists, the British phone books, military and parish records.

In this half-day course, John Hanson covers:
- Understanding this very large website.
- How to best use the website's online finding tools.

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/getting-the-most-from-the-ancestry-website

Shows inside our Library

Family History: Using Parish Registers and Parish Chest Records

  • 21 January 2017 2-5pm

Before the national registration of vital events started in 1837, the main records for baptisms, marriages and burials were the parish registers or a similar record kept by nonconformist denominations. So parish registers are extremely important for researching your family history from 1836 back to the 16th century. Parish chests contain lots of other records that are frequently under used. They hold some of the most colourful records and are especially useful for research before 1837.

In this half-day course, Celia Heritage covers:
- Where to find parish registers.
- How to best use them.
- Where to look for parish chest records.

You can, of course, find copies of parish register transcripts libraries, in the Record Office, or within the collections of genealogical organisations. The Society of Genealogists holds the largest collection, having transcripts for some part of the records of about 10,000 of the approximately 12,500 ancient parishes.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

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

Website

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

Shows the Tower Hamlets Library

Family History Sources at the Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

  • 25 January 2017 2-3pm

This wonderful Library and Archive covers the area of the present-day London borough of Tower Hamlets - the original East End of London. Until 1965, it included the boroughs of Bethnal Green, Poplar and Stepney. If you are interested in tracing your ancestors who lived in the area or learning more about local history, the Library and Archive’s substantial holdings are certainly worth exploring. 

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/family-history-sources-at-the-tower-hamlets-local-history-library-ar

Shows the Family search home page

Catching up with the Familysearch Website

  • 26 January 2017 2-3pm

The Familysearch.org website is the largest family history website in the world, with billions of names across thousands of collections - and more are added monthly.

In this talk, Sharon Hintze covers:
- What new major databases have been added.
- How to find these databases.
- How to best use the website. 

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/catching-up-with-the-familysearch-website

Shows a set of papers for the family name Norris

Making Contact: Surnames and Pedigrees for Family History

  • 28 January 2017 10:30am-1pm

Once you've got back a few generations, one of the most important ways of making progress in your family history is making contact with others who have interests in the same surnames or perhaps even share some of your ancestors.

In this half-day course, Barbara Harvey and Peter Christian look at:
- The sources available online.
- Paper-based sources that are available.
- What the Guild of One-Name Studies does. 

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/making-contact-surnames-pedigrees-2

Shows a Scottish Highland family on a hill, about 1844

My Ancestor was Scottish

  • 28 January 2017 2-5pm

Spend half a day with an expert on finding ancestors in Scotland.

Alan Stewart covers the following topics:
- Birth, marriage and death records in Scotland;
- How to find the records;
- Using church records;
- Using the census records;
- What is available on the web.

Alan is author of the Society’s popular book 'My Ancestor was Scottish', available in out Bookshop.

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 are search for people from Scotland in their family tree 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 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/my-ancestor-was-scottish-4

Shows the top area of The National Archives home page

Discovering Discovery: Using The National Archives Website and Catalogue - free talk

  • 1 February 2017 2-3pm

Discovery is The National Archives' online Catalogue, essential to every family historian. It holds more than 32 million descriptions of records held by The National Archives and more than 2,500 archives across the country. There are millions of records available for you to download.

Guy Grannum, the Discovery Product Manager at The National Archives, explains:
- What you can find in the Catalogue.
- How to get the best from The National Archives website.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

For us to hold a place for you, please book in advance. You can do this by visiting our website or phoning us.

Website

http://www.sog.org.uk/books-courses/events-courses/discovering-discovery-using-the-national-archives-website-and-catalog-2

Shows a typical page from a census summary of 1911

Family History: Making Sense of the Census

  • 2 February 2017 2-3pm

The UK Census is perhaps the most important source for research with birth, marriage and death records. Review what you already know about the Census and discover things you don’t know about this important genealogical resource.

In this talk, Robert Parker covers:
- How can we use the Census effectively.
- Whether the 1841 Census really was the first census for family historians.
- How we can use the Census to understand the lives of our ancestors, beyond the family unit.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

One-hour talk: £8.00
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/making-sense-of-the-census-2

Shows a woman and a boy in front of a fountain

Family History: How to Get the Most from Family Pictures

  • 4 February 2017 10:30am-5pm

Join Jayne Shrimpton for a full-day course on understanding your family photos and artworks. For those mystifying unlabelled pictures you have, accurate dating is essential to identify them and discover more about them. Jayne Shrimpton is a professional dress historian, with over 20 years’ experience in dating and analysing family pictures.
 
Topics covered
During the day, Jayne provides an in-depth guide to dating, analysing and understanding all types of family portraits, from inherited paintings, drawings and silhouettes, to Victorian studio photographs and 20th century snapshots.
- How to establish an accurate time frame for a picture, using a variety of techniques and research tools.
- What was the portrait tradition? Learn more about the historical context in which artworks and, later, photographs were commissioned.
- Understand what these special pictures meant to our ancestors and how we should interpret them.
 
Invitation from Jayne to look at your photos
Anyone attending the course can submit photos from their own collection for analysis on the day. If you would like to do this, please contact the Events Co-ordinator (events@sog.org.uk) for more details.
 
Who should attend?
There are no special entry requirements. However, this course is specifically for people who are interested in knowing more about their family photos and artworks. Expect a friendly atmosphere, an expert tutor and lots of detail. Tea and coffee are provided during breaks in the morning and afternoon. There is, of course, a lunch break and there are many restaurants and coffee bars in the area.
 
While you are visiting us, why not browse our bookshop. Jayne Shrimpton’s book, How to Get the Most from Family Pictures, is on sale. For the first time a published book covers inherited

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

This is 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/how-to-get-the-most-from-family-pictures-3

First printed edition of the Gregorian calendar

Dates and Calendars for Family Historians

  • 8 February 2017 2-3pm

Do dates found in old documents sometimes not really add up? It helps to understand the different calendars that were used in certain time periods. Charlie Mead explains the move from the Julian to Gregorian calendars and how different places switched at different times. Charlie also covers Jewish, Islamic and other calendar systems and explains the regnal years.

This fact filled talk covers:
- Different calendar systems (solar, lunar and lunisolar).
- The move from Julian to Gregorian and Chesterfield's Act.
- The switch of New Year's Day to 1 January
- The fiscal calendar and why the tax year starts on 6th April.
- The liturgical calendar, Easter and Quarter days
- Other calendars: Quaker, Hebrew, Islamic, Chinese, French Revolutionary.
- Law and university terms.
- The regnal years of the English monarchs.
- Why the Millennium was celebrated on the wrong date.
- Computer file names and dates
- Web resources that allow you to convert from one system to another.
 
We're including a copy of the Society of Genealogists publication, ‘Dates & Calendars’ by Cliff Webb as a takeaway at no extra cost.

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. It is for anyone interested in understanding calendar and dates systems better. Expect a friendly atmosphere, an expert tutor and lots of detail.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

This is one-hour talk 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/dates-and-calendars-for-family-historians

Shows the area of the London Docks on a coloured map

London Administrative Boundaries for Family Historians

  • 9 February 2017 2-3pm

Much family history research is governed by boundaries. Parishes, poor law unions and counties are just a few of the administrative areas that created records.

In this talk Michael Gandy explains how London's boundaries overlapped or changed throughout the years. Understanding this will help you to find and research documents in this huge area.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

This is one-hour talk 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/london-administrative-boundaries-for-family-historians

Shows a cartoon character giving a talk from a podium.

Careers in Genealogy: Presentation Skills for Family Historians

  • 11 February 2017 10:30am-1pm

Many family history researchers, whether amateur or professional, are asked to speak to groups about their subject. Many discover that they aren't clear about whether they are giving a talk, a lecture, a presentation or a lesson – and what is the difference?

In this course, for amateur or professional researchers, Antony Marr who has over 20 years of teaching, and training design experience, will look at:
- How to prepare sessions for groups of all types, looking at structure and content.
- How to deliver a session, including delivery styles.
- How to use (and avoid the mis-use!) of visual aids, such as PowerPoint.

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/careers-in-genealogy-presentation-skills-for-family-historians

Shows a drawing of some books with 'Your Name Here' on the top one.

Careers in Genealogy: Writing about Genealogy and History

  • 11 February 2017 2-5pm

Join Adele Emm, successful author, to learn more about how to write books and articles on genealogy and history.

In this half-day course, Adele covers:
- An insight into proposals and how to think up ideas for books and articles.
- Understanding publishing contracts.
- Handling advances, royalties and fees.
- What you need to know about copyright.
- How to carry out research.
- Writing to a house style, proof reading, indexing and other tricks of the trade.

Adèle Emm is the author of 'Tracing your Trade and Craftsman Ancestors' (Pen and Sword) and 'My Ancestors worked in Textile Mills' (Society of Genealogists) plus numerous articles for genealogical periodicals.

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/careers-in-genealogy-the-road-to-agra-running-a-genealogical-practi-3

Shows part of an Edwardian map of London streets

Family History: London Street Names and Numbering

  • 15 February 2017 2-3pm

Street names and numbering is a significant subject for researching family history in London. Before 1855 there was no control over the naming of streets and in some places there is duplicate numbering in streets. House names were often the only form of identification for postal deliveries even in the mid 19th century. Without a knowledge of street names and number sequence, following threads through Census enumerators areas can be difficult.

Alan Ruston's session covers:
- How street regulation was introduced, identifying successive names for streets.
- When re-numbering took place.
- The changes made after World War 2 that affect the family historian, with aids to help you.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

This one-hour talk, between 2 and 3 pm 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 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/london-street-names-and-numbering

Shows a headstone from one of the London cemeteries.

The 19th Century Cemeteries of London and Graveyard Symbolism Revealed

  • 18 February 2017 10:30am-1pm

Learn more about the extraordinary period of change that London experienced in the 19th century. There was an upheaval in burial practices. Many ancient churchyards closed forever and an impressive array of garden cemeteries opened in the suburbs.  

Robert Stephenson also looks at graveyard symbolism to uncover the meaning of the signs, symbols and other representations found on funerary monuments of the 19th century.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

This half-day course runs from 10.30 to 1 pm and 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 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-19th-century-cemeteries-of-london-graveyard-symbolism

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 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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