The BIG Family History Fair is set to return, again to St Ives’ Burgess Hall, on 2nd May 2015.
I’m very pleased to have spotted that The BIG Family History Fair is set to return on 2nd May 2015.
Returning to St Ives’ Burgess Hall, Cambridgeshire, after a 3 year break, The BIG Family History Fair will bring together experts, local genealogy and history societies, and companies with products to help you with your research.
2012’s show was busy – with expert talks full, and so this show will hopefully expand on that success, as well as prove to be just as successful.
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.
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!)
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!).
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.
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.