This newsletter and previous issues are available on the website: 


The e-newsletter of the Sussex Family History Group

Ruby Anniversary

Following this month's Anniversary Conference the next main event will be the Family & Local History Day at Clair Hall, Haywards Heath on Saturday 11th May from 10am to 4.30pm. This is a big public event to which all are invited - admission is free. A chance for all to discover more about researching their family and local history from the multitude of local societies and other exhibitors.

During the year we are running a Family History Competition. The class for under 13s has now closed but entries for the other classes can be submitted up to the 31st October closing date.

Our flagship Sussex Marriage Index CD is, for all of this year, available from our bookstalls at the special anniversary price of £18.37 (plus the usual postage & packing and credit/debit card surcharge on mail order purchases).

On October 12th we will again be at Clair Hall for an Anniversary Social Evening. This will be open to members only, tickets £5.

There is more information about these celebratory activities on the website and in the Sussex Family Historian.

The Keep: About eight months to go?

The time is fast approaching for the completion of The Keep. The main construction work is now finished and the internal fit out is well under way. The carpets have been laid and the furniture is being moved in. The search room areas and the Sussex Family History Group room are all beginning to look really good and it is very exciting to see everything starting to come together in this way. The proving period for testing the repository block has reached the halfway stage with temperature and humidity levels being checked daily to ensure that the correct environmental conditions are being achieved.

Outside, the car park and paths are all complete and the trees and shrubs are being planted with grassy areas including a butterfly bank and an outdoor seating area. The numerous sarsen stones that were discovered during the building work are being replaced around the site as part of the landscaping.

We are also developing the new Keep website that is due to be launched in the summer. This will include a virtual catalogue of all the collections, an online ordering and booking system and online reader registration. There will also be an inventory management system to manage the location and production of the archives in the new building. Staff and a loyal band of volunteers are continuing to work hard in preparing the collections ready for transfer later this year.

The building is due to be handed over to us on 20th May after which we will be able to start moving all of the archives into The Keep. With six miles of archives to move from eight different locations we are expecting this to take at least five months. We are looking to the time when the SFHG will be able to move in and join us at The Keep and we are planning to be open to the public by the end of the year.

Further information about The Keep can be found on the County Council's website at You can also follow progress of the building on Flickr, where new photographs are posted each month. • Wendy Walker, Senior Archivist and Programme Manager, ESRO.

New CDs published

There are a whole bunch of new Parish Register CDs now available from SFHG Publications. These include Amberley, Balcombe, Eartham, Hardham, Keymer, Lodsworth, Lurgashall, Parham, Poling, Slinfold, Warminghurst and Wiggonholt.

See the publications listed on the SFHG website.

SFHG Data Archive

The Data Archive is an ongoing project through which we aim to make available much of our transcribed data exclusively for members to access free.

Data is gradually being uploaded to the SFHG Data Archive. There are now nearly 2.7 million records - in particular baptisms, burials and census data. Also available are names from the Sussex People Index.

To view this data use the username and password as used for the Members Only pages on the SFHG website.

New national campaign for archives

The National Archives and The Records and Archives Association (ARA) are launching a new and exciting campaign for the promotion of archives across the country.

The new campaign, a successor to the Archive Awareness Campaign, will increase public awareness of, and pride in, the work of the archive sector. It will raise the profile of national institutions, local authority record offices, universities, community and private archives. It will highlight the benefits archives bring to communities, the impact they can have on peoples' lives and seek to encourage a wide range of people to connect with their local history and culture.

The main thrust of the campaign will take place in the autumn with activities and promotion at a local and national level. If you are passionate about archives, and want to encourage learning and enjoyment of your treasures, make sure you join in the campaign!