Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2015 tickets now on sale

The tickets for the 2015 Who Do You Think You Are? Live show have gone on sale – but this time it’s moving to NEC Birmingham. Will you be going this year?

The tickets for the 2015 Who Do You Think You Are? Live show, have gone on sale.

Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2015 ticket website
The WDYTYA? Live 2015 website started taking ticket sales today.

The show, which arrives at NEC, Birmingham, for the first time this year, once again spans three days – 16-18th April.

Tickets are at £16 for 1 day (adult), £26 for 2 days, or £33 for all three days. You can buy them online from the seetickets website. The show repeats its VIP ticket type (I did this once, and it was nice to have front seats in workshops..).

Once again, it looks like a great varied range of topics, and the ticket page lists the titles of the topics for each day.

Its move to the venue, came after many months of speculation and fear amongst fans and exhibitors before it was officially announced (or as I blogged the leak earlier!). Its move was perhaps forced by the closure of Earls Court exhibition centre – which resulted in events being squeezed out of Olympia and into other venues like London ExCel (which I am very pleased the show didn’t end up in, as it’s awkward to get to!).

I attended all three days of the 2014 show, and I’m drawn to doing that again as I had a really good time. However, this was added to by also being in London – a city I am familiar with. This time, Birmingham is somewhere I’m not familiar with, so perhaps this time it might take some extra planning on my part – not least the journey there.. which is far more complicated.

Will you be going?

Family History Fair returns to Cambridge in 2014

Cambridge plays host to another Family History Fair on Saturday 25th October 2014.

Cambridgeshire Family History Society logo

The Cambridgeshire Family History Society has announced its Family History Fair is to return on 25th October 2014, after the success of last year’s event.

Girton Glebe Primary School plays host once again to a day’s worth of family history – with free admission and parking. Last year’s event saw a mixture of stands from Cambridgeshire, but also from neighbouring counties and genealogy and history organisations covering the local area.

A series of lectures will be announced nearer the time – I particularly enjoyed last year’s one on dating photographs by Tom Doig.

For more information about the event, how to book a stand, and all the latest on that expert talks timetable – check out the Society website.

Cambridgeshire Family History Society Fair 2013

Blogging from The Cambridgeshire Family History Society Fair 2013, held in Girton (North Cambridge) on 26th October 2013.

Last Saturday I attended The Cambridgeshire Family History Society Fair.

I think this was the first time that the Fair had taken place, and I was really impressed to see the variety of lectures and stands.

The venue – Girton Glebe School was easy to find and there was plenty of parking for those out-of-towners like me, and with bus stops for those more local. I had a strange flashback of my own primary school, when I found myself sitting on a small red plastic chair in one of the classrooms (although it seemed odd to be doing so whilst drinking a cup of tea).

I didn’t get to take many photos, as the venue was smaller and felt more condensed than other shows I’ve been to, so instead, check out these great photos from the Society’s Facebook Page.

Above: The Cambridgeshire Family History Society stand stood in the entrance with a warm welcome for all visitors. I picked up a couple of cdroms of the Society’s register transcriptions (non-conformists – which have already yielded some great info, and a Quarter Sessions transcript – which i’m yet to explore).

As someone who has been to Who Do You Think You Are? Live a few times, and other Fairs, this one follows a similar style (why fix it, if it isn’t broken?), with a hall with supplier stands, and then ticketed lecture sessions in smaller rooms.

A view of some of the trade stands at the Cambridgeshire Family History Society Fair, 2013
A view of some of the trade stands at the Cambridgeshire Family History Society Fair, 2013

At the stand in the photograph above, I was lucky to find two postcards from Ely – both showing the shop that my Cross family owned and ran in Forehill (I recently referred to it in my blog and newspaper article about the Brown and Co (Ely) Ltd Shop). I chose one (£6!) and I’ve now added it to my collection. Part of me wishes I’d also bought the other one (£8.50!) as it was more of an advertisement card.

A postcard advertising the Cross' bakery on Forehill, Ely
A postcard advertising the Cross’ bakery on Forehill, Ely

Last year, the Huntingdonshire Family History Society held The Big Family History Fair in St Ives, but the Society later confirmed to me that it would not be taking place again this year. Hopefully it will be back for 2014!

I was fortunate to get to talk with the Huntingdonshire Family History Society, at their stand, where they kindly looked up my Franks family. Sadly we couldn’t quite find them, but it seems that the parish that absorbed the now near-abandoned Coppingford village, may have retained the records. One day…. ONE DAY!

I found it a little odd for there to be no Suffolk Family History Society, given that they represent the neighbouring county. I overheard a couple of others talking about this too.

I was pleased to catch social historian (and self-confessed non-family-historian) Tom Doig‘s lecture on identifying Victorian photographs. His approach to this topic sounded odd to start with when he stated that you should never try to date photographs via the clothing seen in the photo. He shared with us his knowledge of the history of photography itself (something that I once studied with the Open University) – and explained the importance of looking at the style of the frames and mounts, and also the composition of a photograph as a method of dating it.

Freshly plied with data CDs, a monumental inscription joke from Carol Noble on the CFHS stall, my Cross postcard, and Tom’s advice on photography, I returned home and instantly began searching through my records and photos again.

An enjoyable time, and one that I hope to repeat again soon.

Denny Abbey to host Family History Basics and Photograph Dating workshops

Denny Abbey and The Farmland Museum are hosting two workshops on 5th October 2013 for adult family history enthusiasts.

Denny Abbey and The Farmland Museum has announced that it is hosting two half-day workshops for adults interested in genealogy.

Denny Abbey & Farmland Museum crestOn Saturday 5th October, Michael Williamson and Ann Wise will be leading workshops for adults interested in getting started with their family tree, and methods for dating photographs.

Both workshops must be booked in advance, costing £5 each. You can find out more about how to book your place at their 2013 Programme of Talks, Art and Crafts Workshops for Adults page.

10am – 1pm: Family History Basics

Michael Williamson explains how to get started with researching your family tree

2.15pm – 3pm: Dating Your Old Family Photographs

Ann Wise will explain how to use clothing clues within a photograph to work out when it was taken. You can also bring your own photographs along.

Denny Abbey
Denny Abbey – its architecture hints at its rich and varied past.

Based near Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire, the site runs a yearly programme of education events, and this year I plan to attend the above event, and also hope to attend the basketmaking course – a skill that was my own Great Grandfather’s profession that kept a roof over his family’s heads.

The Big Family History Fair 2012

The BIG Family History Fair 2012 – the Huntingdonshire Family History Society event took place this weekend.

This weekend I went along to the BIG Family History Fair 2012 at St. Ives, Cambridgeshire (alright, Huntingdonshire).

The BIG Family History Fair banner
The demand for that ample free parking was a little underestimated.

The event, which was organised by the Huntingdonshire Family History Society took place at The Burgess Hall and soon packed out their car-park. Fortunately for me, my gym is right next door, so I arrived early for a workout before heading nextdoor for some serious browsing amongst the crowds.

For those of you not in ‘the know’, Huntingdonshire stood as an administrative county until 1974, when it was absorbed by its neighbour and became a district of Cambridgeshire. The up-shot of this is that researching the records means you need to remember that pre-1974 the county is Huntingdonshire, and its records are held in Huntingdon.

The event took place across two floors – two halls brimming with stands from those now familiar companies and societies like S&N Genealogy, the Cambridgeshire Family History Society,  the Fenland Family History Society, and My History. Upstairs were a series of talks organised by the hosts.

As you entered the venue, the team from Family History Magazine were by the door, and everyone was handed a Huntingdonshire Family History Society bag containing a free issue of the magazine (plus some leaflets, a Hunts FHS notebook and pencil – nice!)

Shoppers at family history stalls
Just a few of the stalls – a mixture of societies and commercial companies.

I went along to Maureen Nicholls‘ free ‘Illustrating Your Family History’ talk – a captivating and fun 40 minute talk on ways to bring interest to those data heavy trees, charts and documents that the genealogist spends their time producing. Some great ideas came to light – including the reminder that when you’re lost for a photo of YOUR ancestor doing something – show a representative image of the types of schools, costumes, work that ancestors lived through – instead of admitting defeat because you don’t have a photograph of THEM in that scenario.

Maureen’s delivery was as engaging as her ideas, and she offered an occasional glimpse of her own research – an aunt who died on-board the doomed SS Princess Alice, her family tree cross-stitch that went to the House Of Lords, and her penchant for jellied eels (yuck!).

Potton parish church, Bedfordshire
I bought the Potton parish church registers on CD-rom.

I’d already decided what my purchase of the day was going to be, and so having achieved the largest ‘tweet-up’ that Huntingdonshire has probably ever known by meeting up with fellow twitterer Jane ‘@RamblingGenes‘ Freeman – who proudly showed me her new Flip-Pal Scanner (see, told you I wouldn’t tell anyone you bought one), I moved over to my target – the Bedfordshire Family History Society stand which was busy but very helpful and where I managed to purchase the Potton parish registers on CD-rom.

I was really pleased to see the range of companies and societies represented here – it was always going to feel different from a Who Do You Think You Are? Live, but it seemed to be well organised and attended.

The goodie bag!
The goodie bag!

I did feel the venue was a bit hot and stuffy, and the bar-staff seemed a little surprised that people wanted drinks and food at the drink and food bar – definitely not the organisers fault here though.

The added bonus for me was that it was very local, and of course FREE to attend!

I look forward to next year’s show – hopefully it will one day be on for a whole weekend, or on for longer than 10am-4pm with lots more useful genealogy talks.

Littleport Society forthcoming events calendar

The Littleport Society shieldI’ve just received the latest Littleport Society magazine and they are currently confirming the following calendar dates – all of which take place at 7.30pm at the Village Hall.

  • 4th December 2009 – Society Bookstall at the late night Christmas shopping
  • 5th January 2010 – Tessa West – Life of a Huguenot family in the Fens in the 1600s.
  • 2nd February 2010 – AGM and a chance to view the Littleport Master Plan – followed by a slide show by Bruce Frost.
  • 2nd March 2010 – Gordon Easton – Growing up in the Fens – a humble tiller of the soil.
  • 6th April 2010 – Bill Wittering – History of the royal mail

Please check with the Society before travelling long distances – they reserve the right to cancel/change the schedule of events at short notice.