Today has been the first day of Who Do You Think You Are Live? 2014 at London’s Olympia.
This is my fourth year here, and for the first time, I’ve booked a hotel, and I’m going to be here for all three days of the show.
Hopefully I can find enough to keep me entertained, and looking at the workshop schedule, this is going to be fairly easy.
The first year that I visited (back in 2011), I hadn’t booked myself onto any talks/workshops, and so found the whole event initially interesting, but not able to sustain my interest for a whole day – and I considered skipping it the following year.
Thankfully I didn’t, and I’ve been coming back ever since.
Angels, Cushions, Books, and Sin
I arrived at about 10am, complete with case (which, together with my coat, I swiftly consigned to the cloakroom).
I soon spotted Jackie Depelle, and her now infamous WDYTYALive themed hat, and after a quick hello, found my way to my first lecture session ‘Write Your Life Story’ with Michael Oke of Bound Biographies.
He explained how he fell into publishing through helping an elderly man write his life story. He went on to explain how best to get your own life story down – highlighting the need to record all the tiniest pieces of information you can, in order to help the reader remember you, or to picture or connect with the person or people you’re writing about.
Whilst leaving his session, I thought I’d died, when I bumped into these two angelic nurses…
With (a pricey) lunch out of the way, it was time for my second lecture – this time from Dr Colin R Chapman on Sin, Sex & Probate.
Dr Chapman talked through the hierarchical structure of the church, and explained that the records held by each level could be detailed and fascinating – but particularly a Bishop’s records (for the juicy gossip). He pulled some examples out from Norfolk, Essex, Cheshire, and Oxfordshire, to illustrate the range of ‘sins’ that we’re legitimate crimes – including defamation, not returning to church after giving birth to say ‘Thanks’ to God, punching a man whilst in a graveyard, and eating meat in Lent.
He pointed out that the church courts dealt with sins, and the civic courts dealt with crimes.
All in all, a fascinating topic, and I’m considering buying a copy of his book (of the same name), if only to read further examples, and help steer me to somewhere where I might find my own ancestor’s scandal.
I hasten to add, it’s the first time I’ve ever had to ask for a ticket for Sin, Sex & Probate!
I managed to pop along to the FindMyPast stand twice, catching the tail end of David Annal‘s fascinating talk on census returns and how you can use search wild cards to get better results, and examples of poor handwriting and missing relatives.
Also, appearing later, was the turn of Myko Clelland of FindMyPast, who once again under-dressed for the show (see pic below), whilst searching for Cushions in Shoreditch (of the surname kind), to help illustrate the collections, new image viewer, and new tree builder (I’ll be giving this a spin when I get home).
All in all a good first day. Tomorrow has a tweet-up to attend, more lectures, shopping, and no doubt catching up with more genealogy friends.