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The e-newsletter of the Sussex Family History Group

A family day out!

Filling the void left by the absence of the usual springtime family history fair in Worthing this year, the Sussex Family History Group are organizing a Family & Local History Open Day. This is being held on Sunday 17 April (10am-4.30pm) at Field Place, Durrington, Worthing, BN13 1NP. (Very near to Durrington railway station.)

Interested in finding out more about your family history?

As well as the SFHG bookstall and helpdesks, other family history and local history societies will be attending. Various trade exhibitors will also be there.

There will be a programme of family/local history talks by guest speakers. Both East Sussex and West Sussex record offices will be present.

And the miniature railway in the grounds of Field Place will be steaming up especially for us!

Free entry and parking. Refreshments available. We'll hope to see you there - and your friends and family.

Conference a great success

The Sussex Family History Group's Annual Conference was held, again most successfully and enjoyably, last month.

Our three speakers were Ian Gledhill, Jackie Marsh-Hobbs and John Titford. They informed, educated and entertained us on "Transport of the masses", "Palmeira Mansions: the history of the house and family - the Nouveau Riche" and "Barking up the wrong tree".

The day was clearly a great opportunity to meet old and new acquaintances amongst around 150 members and friends attending. A lot of 'conferring' went on! During the breaks there was ample time to circulate and to browse the bookstalls. Many thanks are due to all involved, especially to Derek Terrell who is now stepping down as our conference organizer.

Next year's Annual Conference will be held on Saturday 14 April 2012, again at Clair Hall, Haywards Heath.

Taking care of what's important to us

The care and preservation of documents - his day-job at West Sussex Record Office - is the subject for Simon Hopkin's talk at the Chichester Meeting Centre's session on Wednesday 27 April.

They meet at St George's Parish Centre, Cleveland Road, Chichester on the last Wednesday of each month. 7pm for 7.30pm. Tea/coffee available; family history books and CDs generally on sale.

See the SFHG website for programmes for the whole year for all the meeting centres.

Who dares wins?

The Sussex Archaeological Society's library houses a lot of data which is useful for family history research, and not available elsewhere.

There is a lot more there than just the volumes of the Sussex Archaeological Collections. For example:
- Collections of many county history societies other than Sussex;
- Local history records for many Sussex towns and villages;
- A collection of biographies of Sussex people;
- Many archives of material collected by private individuals over the past 150 years, and deposited at SAS.

They would be delighted if more SFHG members used the SAS's facilities. Non-members are asked to make a small donation.

The SAS are based at Barbican House, High Street, Lewes. Check their website ( for opening times, etc.

Census and Society: Why Everyone Counts

Last week saw the 21st census held in Britain since they began in 1801. Since the beginning, each census has generated intense interest and controversy for a wide variety of reasons. This exhibition being held by the British Library shows why we collect population statistics, looks at what the results tell us, and illustrates the issues behind the questions over the past 210 years.

The exhibition ( is in the Folio Society Gallery of the British Library and runs until Sunday 29 May. Admission free.

Manifesto for open genealogy

The Open Rights Group has co-founded the Open Genealogy Alliance (OGA) in order to start looking at an alternative future for the sector based on open data, open standards and innovation through collaboration across the public, private and voluntary sectors.

The OGA's manifesto 'The Right to Culture in the Digital Age' can be found at, along with other information.

The Open Genealogy Alliance will work with other organisations in the sector to harness the benefits of this transition to an open data framework. They believe that:
1. The role of volunteer groups in holding key knowledge and contributing quality data should be clearly recognised and their contribution accredited.
2. Participatory digitisation methods that bring more people into the sector and allow the new materials to remain open should always be the preferred choice over commercial deals that restrict access.
3. Volunteer groups and 'Big Society' initiatives should not be prevented from competing with the big commercial operations if they wish so. Tendering processes should be structured as to make the most of engagement with civil society by dividing projects into smaller parts.

New genealogy search engine

A new free search engine - - is geared toward genealogists and family historians and provides access to free genealogy content on the web including billions of names, dates and places worldwide.

Mocavo searches sources such as genealogy message boards, family trees, local and family history societies, the Library of Congress, The National Archives, Ellis Island, Find-A-Grave, the Internet Archive, and many tens of thousands of genealogy websites built by individuals.