The e-newsletter of the Sussex Family History Group

Helping an FHS is helping oneself

Our Volunteers Co-ordinator’s article in the last SussexLink prompted this inspirational response from Michael Lucas:

The work is fascinating and rewarding; I believe there are many who could offer their services.

“As a member of little more than a year I have found a real interest in assisting Brian Cutler of this society with his work on the Baptismal Index. Additionally as a member of the Cleveland FHS I have been assisting with their work on the 1851 census for NE England.

The real point is that as an 81-year-old amputee, confined to a wheelchair, the hours fly by as I pound away on my laptop. The work is fascinating and rewarding and I would strongly believe that there are many retirees who could offer their services to the family history societies in so many ways.

If one has a computer, and there is no need to be an expert, there is so much one can help to prepare and record for one’s local FHS.

The work has helped me to explore the family tree of my own family.” • Michael E Lucas

[As you may have seen, this letter was also published in the March Sussex Family Historian.]

The FH Event

‘The FH Event’ is being held on Sunday 3 May (the May Day Bank Holiday Weekend). This is a not for profit event being organized by family historians for family history society members and everyone interested in their past.

‘The FH Event’ is being held at the Barbican Centre, Exhibition Hall 2, Golden Lane, London, EC2Y 8DL from 10am to 5pm. Admission price on the day is £10. Advance tickets are £8 each, or £7 each for groups (9+). Tickets include free lectures, subject to availability – so book now!

The programme of lectures will be appropriate for beginners, intermediate or advanced family historians. The event’s sponsors will be demonstrating the 1911 census website.

Over 80 exhibitors will be there – promoting their services, displaying their wares, sharing their expertise – as indicated by an impressive array of their logos on the event’s website.

Don’t miss THE event. See for more information and to book your tickets and lectures.

The Sussex Family History Group bookstall will be present at ‘The FH Event’. If you’re attending do please introduce yourself to the SFHG team.

Sussex: town, country and seaside

The Sussex Family History Group’s Annual Conference was held, very successfully and enjoyably, on 28 March. The lecture programme was kicked off – in his inimitable style – by Michael Gandy with ‘Country poor, town poor’, a brief history of the Poor Law. Lecture two, on house history in Sussex, was given by Dr Annabelle Hughes. She had traced many of the past occupants of Glattings, a house mentioned in Domesday, using many of the resources that we are familiar with in genealogy as well as others, less familiar, that we might well find useful in our own researches. Then, following the lunch break, Ian Gledhill entertained us with ‘Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside’. This traced the development of the Sussex seaside resorts. We even got a glimpse of ‘what the butler saw’!

During the breaks there was ample time to circulate and to browse the wares of the various exhibitors. Much conferring went on during the day and it was clearly a great opportunity to meet old and new acquaintances amongst around 180 members and friends attending.

As Georgina Colwell said on the SFHG mailing list: “We all had a great time at the annual conference in Haywards Heath, fascinating talks and many thanks to all the organisers for another wonderful day out in Sussex!”

The provisional date for next year’s Annual Conference and AGM is Saturday 20 March 2010. Make a note in your diary.

Your new committee

Following the Conference, the Annual General Meeting saw some changes to the officers and personnel of the executive committee.

Colin Excell, Mick Henry and Val Orr were re-elected as Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Secretary respectively. Unfortunately Judy Pepper was standing down as Treasurer and she, and her expertise, will be much missed. In her stead, though, was elected Terry Mitchell.

Committee members Trevor Hanson, Terry Kettell and Mike Morley were re-elected. John Commins has stood down from the committee (though he continues as the Membership Secretary). Newly elected to the committee was Dave Wicks.

       Therefore we still have some vacancies on the committee. We can co-opt, so please make contact if you would like to join the executive committee – ‘without portfolio’ – and play a part in overseeing the administration of the Sussex Family History Group. @

Hurstpierpoint weekend

The Hurst History Study Group and Mid-Sussex Roots are hosting a long weekend from Friday 22 to Tuesday 26 May in Hurstpierpoint.

HHSG is dedicated purely to local/family history whereas the affiliated MSR is dedicated to the extended MARCHANT family and has some 400 members mainly in the UK and the ex-Colonies.

There is one interesting subject this year as they are about to embark on an attempt to connect the Ardingly and Hurst MARCHANTs to each other through a DNA test.

Activities include a Sunday service at the Parish Church, an exhibition of photos and museum in the library, guided tours, lectures, and various walks.

More information on the HHSG website or from Tony Bower the HHSG & MSR chairman (

Digitisation Project – ‘DoVE’

The project to scan and digitise English and Welsh birth, marriage and death records from 1837 to 2006 stalled in July 2008 when the contract with Siemens expired.

By that time over 130 million records had been digitised (births 1837-1935 and deaths 1837-1957); this is about half of the total number of birth, marriage and death records.

These digitised records are now being used by GRO for identifying and printing certificates.

Following a high-level review of the options for completing the digitisation of past registration records, the Identity and Passport Service have commissioned the preparation of a more detailed business case. If this confirms that sufficient benefits will result from digitisation, a new project can get under way later this year.

It’s just the tip of the iceberg!

The California Genealogical Society have produced a poster highlighting the fact that internet genealogy research is just the tip of the iceberg and that much more is to be found in libraries and archives.

The CGS blog has an article about this, together with an image of the poster. It says: “What would be nice is to have a poster of it in every research facility – especially those with computers – to remind users that so little of their research will be found on the internet.”