Sep 15, 2021

FHF Really Useful Family History Show

The following announcement was written by the Family History Federation:

The expanded 2021 ONLINE November show is getting closer.

Friday 12th November 6pm-10pm and Saturday 13th November 10am-6pm

The Family History Federation’s Really Useful Family History Show is lining up to be the best yet! The list of enticing presentations along with details of presenters is now available on the website. See brief list enclosed.

On Friday evening the Exhibition Hall will be open. Opportunity to ask local groups for expert local advice. There is also a live and interactive presentation by Dr Janet Few – Genealogy: the next generation. Thought-provoking discussion for bringing younger people into local societies.

On Saturday for ticket holders the range of mini-classes plus interactive workshops will be released in early October – all very “how to” and there are four special mini-classes for beginners or those wanting to brush-up on basic skills. In late October the experts will be announced and ticket holders invited to book their own slot directly with their chosen person for Ask the Experts.

All these opportunities are included in the show ticket price.

This online extravaganza costs just £10!! ($13.83 US Dollars)  Tickets and can be booked at the show website. Plus, there are offers available through some member societies of the Federation for their own members.

Final details will be announced via the show website:

• In early October Full Range of Workshops & Mini-classes

Essential booking of workshops will open in October—no extra charge

• Near to the show date access to Ask the Experts

New format—you will book a slot with your chosen expert—no extra charge

Only ticket holders can book workshops or slots for Ask the Experts.

Visit family history societies and other exhibitors on Friday evening for the opportunity to ask local experts for local advice! 

For further information please see the above website.


Victorian Street Life – A Poor Existence – Graham Harrison

In the mid-nineteenth century, many of London’s poorest inhabitants earned their living on the streets of the capital by legal, and sometimes not-so-legal, means. From crossing sweepers to costermongers, Graham will introduce some of the more colourful characters of Victorian London, real people who may have inspired the stories of Charles Dickens. Graham Harrison is a founder-partner of Sun Jester – a family business aiming to enlighten and amuse with a range of topics.


Kirk Session Records for Family History – Emma Maxwell

Scottish Kirk Session records have long been viewed as genealogy gold for those with access to them but earlier this year these amazing records were added to ScotlandsPeople. The secrets of the Kirk Session can break down brick walls and shine a light on your family’s past. Emma Maxwell, a genealogist at Maxwell Ancestry/Scottish Indexes who was using these records before ScotlandsPeople existed, will explain how you can use them to trace your Scottish family history.


British Home Children – Christine Woodcock

Christine learned about these children when researching her husband’s ancestors, discovering that his paternal great-aunt had relinquished all four of her boys to homes in the Midlands which sent children to Canada. Children as young as eight were sent out from homes in the UK. When not organizing genealogy research tours to Scotland, Christine Woodcock lectures on Scottish genealogy, hosts webinars, plus authors blogs and articles.


Land of Song – Dean Powell

Celebrate the male voice choir movement in Wales. Discover how the male voice choirs took Wales by storm during the mid­Victorian era, helping create the “Land of Song”. Learn why Wales developed its love of singing, and the fierce competitiveness of choirs with a backdrop of gambling, rivalries and royal commands. Dean Powell is a former BBC journalist and newspaper editor, his anecdotes of interviews have made him a popular guest speaker.


Great War Widows and Emigration – Andrea Hetherington

The lives of Britain’s First World War widows remain largely unexplored. This talk investigates the phenomenon of WWI widows’ emigration to the Dominions using information from passenger manifests, census returns plus documents from descendants. Understand the lives of some plucky war widows who did attempt to make new lives overseas. Andrea Hetherington is a writer and researcher with a special interest in the First World War.


Surname Origins – Wayne Shepheard

Surname usage dates back to the late Middle Ages, around the fourteenth century. Why did it start then? Was it in response to political or societal shifts, coincidentally across much of Europe, or was it because of something else? We will explore some of the history and reasons for the adoption and use of surnames. Wayne Shepheard is the author of many genealogical articles and regularly makes presentations. His genealogical blog is Discover Genealogy.

Secrets and Lies: adventures in other people’s family history – Frances Hurd

Every family history—and many historical records—contains secrets and lies, many connected to illegitimacy, others arising from more surprising causes. Explore some secrets and lies that Frances has uncovered. Frances Hurd has been using family history investigation as an aid to her research since undertaking her PhD on a seventeenth-century Puritan author. She is currently exploring the lives of ten families between 1840 and 1940, arising from the discovery of a 1915 photograph.


London Burials and How to Find Them! – John Hanson FSG

A problem facing family historians is tracking down burial places, especially so in London due to its size. However, the principals discussed apply also in other areas. The lecture looks at understanding the area, the issues, what is available both offline and online and some of the methods that can be employed for finding those elusive burial records. John Hanson has been interested in genealogy for over forty years and is a popular a lecturer in family history.


Introducing manorial records – Ian Waller FSG

From medieval times up to the twentieth century the manor played a significant role in most rural communities. This talk examines how the manorial system operated and the records generated in which your ancestor may appear. Ian Waller is a retired professional genealogist with experience in English research. He gives talks and lectures, plus serves as the vice-chairman and education officer of the Family History Federation.


Postcards ‘From Ennis to Emmie’: more from the attic – John Frearson

The story of a post card exchange from the early 1900s, and tracking down the senders and their families. How the finding of a series of postcards allowed the sender and her family to be traced. Family history and postcard history, with examples of cards and photographs of the period. John Frearson is a retired construction materials consultant, turned historian, researcher, lecturer and author.


The times they are a’changing – Ian Waller FSG

This talk examines the nostalgia and development of family history research examining the old and new methods of undertaking research. Much that we need for our research is not online; so how did we do family research before the internet age? Sometimes we still need to use those methods today. Ian Waller, retired professional genealogist who regularly lectures, is also presenting Introducing manorial records.


A Grand (Virtual) Tour of Scotland’s Archives – Alison Spring

A whistle-stop guide to the best of what Scottish archives have to offer, giving an insight into the kind of records you can expect to encounter in public and private repositories, and showcasing their online resources. With over forty years’ experience of research, specialising in Scottish records, Alison Spring, based in Glasgow, is passionate about tracing your family tree on a budget and blogs as the Frugal Family Historian.


Breach of Promise to Marry – Denise Bates

Understand the social and cultural history of broken engagements between 1780 -1970 and why the law allowed the jilted to claim damages from the person who had broken the engagement. The talk explores who the real Miss Havishams were and what suing for damages reveals about the social values of the time. Denise Bates was inspired after reading about two very different breach of promise cases in a Victorian newspaper when following her passion for history. /more overleaf….


Looking for your Irish ancestors? It’s easier than you think – Linda Hammond

Irish genealogical research has unique challenges. We will explore civil and church records available online, as well as census returns and census substitute records to cover periods where documents no longer exist. We will explore valuation records, burial and probate records, passenger lists and newspaper archives that help to trace your Irish roots and locate your ancestor’s home town. Linda Hammond has thirty years genealogical research experience and is a member of the Register of Qualified Genealogists.


Chatham Dockyard: The Rise and Fall of a Military Industrial Complex – Philip Macdougall

Chatham Dockyard became one of the most important naval yards from 1570 for four hundred years. The yard constructed over 500 warships, ranging from simple naval pinnaces, through to first-rates that fought at Trafalgar, and concluded with the hunter-killer submarines of the nuclear age. This talk by local and maritime author Philip MacDougall, focusses on the final two hundred years of the yard’s history, and the artisans and labourers who worked there.

UK census – Dr Penny Walters

This session will look at the evolution of decennial censuses in the UK. We will examine each census, deconstructing the information, revealing tips and hints for lateral thinking, which give clues for further research. We will also look at what could be considered to be census substitutes, and consider censuses against a backdrop of social history which is vital. Penny Walters lectures internationally in-person, presents webinars, and writes articles about a variety of genealogy topics.


DNA: What to do with the results – Donna Rutherford

You have your DNA results, but what next? Covering the topics needed to get you started on your DNA research, this talk will provide tips and tricks even if you’ve already started working with DNA. There will be practical examples and case studies to really help build your expertise. Donna Rutherford is a New Zealander who works in London. In her spare time, she manages a Facebook group helping with DNA research.


Become a house detective: Researching the history of your home – Stephen Poulter

This talk describes the processes plus the historic documents (including maps, property deeds, parish records and wills) involved in investigating any historic property using online and archive sources for anyone interested in setting out on their own journey of historical discovery. Examples are drawn from the research of the story of the seventeenth-century cottage. Stephen Poulter has tales of owners and residents demonstrating what can be discovered about your home.


The City Livery Companies – David Williams

There are 110 City Livery Companies thriving as educational and charitable organisations. Their influence and power dominated the medieval City. Much of today’s commercial and financial activity has origins well over 600 years ago when the Royal charters given to Livery Companies set the pattern for a growth in trade that continues to have a significant role in the twenty-first century. David Williams is a registered City of London guide and lecturer.


Annoying ancestors – Gay Evans

An anecdotal story of how to search for your ancestors, highlighting the challenges they may knowingly or unknowingly have put in your way. New and experienced researchers will find this talk features obstacles to consider when tracing your ancestors. A talk to inspire you to begin or to help reinvigorate your family history journey. Gay Evans started doing genealogical research over thirty years ago – it is her obsession. Gay has a blog at

Mind Mapping: a follow on – Linda Hammond

This talk follows up on mind mapping after the popularity of Linda’s original talk at the last Really Useful Show. Mind maps can be as simple or complex as you want them to be, however, they help organise your planning and thought processes by visually mapping the information. We will explore how they can be used at each stage in your research: planning, problem solving, reporting and even writing up. Linda Hammond is also presenting Looking for your Irish Ancestors.


Why the Welsh left Wales – Dr Penny Walters

This session will explore why Welsh ancestors emigrated from Wales, starting with a historical overview of life in Wales. We will look at the heavy industrialisation into coal mining and at Merthyr Tydfil specifically. Emigration posters reveal the call to build a better life abroad. The crucial role of DNA testing with specified regions and surname distribution will be revealed, as will language, translation tools and scripts. Penny Walters also presents UK Census.


Researching Ancestors in British India – Valmay Young and Beverly Hallam

Some three million Britons served in India. From 1600 to 1947, the East India Company, and the British controlled Government of India, won that country with their armies and governed it with a civil service. Britons from all social classes were recruited. This talk will explain the records and where to find them. Valmay Young and Beverly Hallam are trustees of the Families in British India Society (FIBIS), a self-help society for those researching the British in India.

Local and Family History Together – Joe Saunders

Family and local history have their distinct focuses. In family history we seek to contextualise our ancestors, their houses, neighbourhoods and communities. In local history we look to populate places with people. This talk will explore the similarities and explain why we cannot do one without the other. Joe Saunders is a freelance historian, an Associate of AGRA and an outreach member and trustee of BALH.


Finding ancestors and relatives in Jamaica and Nigeria Yetunde Abiola

In this session, Yetunde Abiola, as a black British person of Jamaican and Nigerian heritage, will show you how to start, focus and streamline your search, providing you with important facts and useful tips and resources to help you find Jamaican, Nigerian, or African ancestors and possibly, an extended family through merging your paper trail with ethnicity results from DNA testing. Her areas of expertise include the complexities and intricacies of Caribbean, diaspora, and colonial genealogies.


Genealogy: the next generation – Janet Few (Live on Friday evening only!)

A presentation and discussion about how family history societies can be relevant to the next generation of family historians. What are the needs of younger genealogists? How can societies evolve to meet those needs and encourage participation across the age spectrum? This will be relevant to society volunteers looking to do more, society members who feel that their society could do more and younger genealogists with ideas and suggestions about what societies need to do to appeal to their age group.


Full descriptions of topics plus presenters’ biographies are available on the website:

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