A newsletter for the Sussex Family History Group

Maybe you’re a Londoner

The East of London Family History Fair will be held on Saturday 19 January at Eastbury School, Hulse Avenue, Barking, Essex. (Entrance and car park via Wilmington Gardens.) The doors open at 9.30am with the fair starting at 10am and closing at 5pm. The programme also includes a couple of lectures and the EoLFHS Annual General Meeting.

The Sussex Family History Group will, for the first time, be attending this event with our bookstall and a helpdesk. And, following a most encouraging response to an e-mail request, we look forward to being assisted at the fair by members either living in the area or having an ancestral interest there.

This level of support bodes well for the ‘Who do you think you are? Live’ show at Olympia from Friday 2 May to Sunday 4 May. This year SFHG will be represented, in what will be the first cooperative venture of its type, with the Hastings & Rother FHS. Why not join our team on the stand for an hour or two. I hope that, by having something like six or eight people available each day, we will be able to take it in turns to man the stand and then have time to visit the remainder of the show. If you are interested, please contact the SFHG Chairman. @

Library News

At last two small glimmers of hope that some of the problems which have been afflicting the SFHG Library in Lewes are being overcome.

Firstly, Steve Selby is taking over from Rosemary Appleton in organising the rota of volunteer helpers. Steve will, of course, continue to welcome new volunteers.

As we thank Rosemary for carrying out this duty for so many years, it should be mentioned that she is continuing with her other library duties, principally as Secretary to the Library Sub-Committee, so we are still looking for someone to take over this task as soon as possible.

The second piece of good news is also only a step along the way. After months of struggle with British Telecom, a telephone line capable of transmitting broadband has been installed; it remains to connect it to the new computer, then to finalise a package with one of the providers of family history data. Members will be advised as soon as this is in place. Thanks to Ken Toll and John Commins for getting us this far.

Closure, closure, closing

The National Archives (TNA) at Kew is in the process of making changes to its public reading rooms with the associated building work continuing until the spring. There will be some disruption during this period, including a closure from Monday 21 to Saturday 26 January inclusive.

The current closure of the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) continues until Monday 21 January. The reading rooms are being redesigned to enable the LMA to provide improved online access.

Despite the publicity given to the early departure of the General Register Office from the ground floor of the Family Records Centre (FRC), which has already taken place, many visitors have been unaware of this. The FRC is closing totally at the end of March 2008.

NBI online at FindMyPast

The National Burial Index (NBI) for England and Wales is an index to help family historians find burial records. It is an ongoing project devised and orchestrated by the Federation of Family History Societies (FFHS). The burial records date back to 1538, the year that Henry VIII was excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

These records come from different types of sources: parish registers, bishop’s transcripts, earlier transcripts or printed registers. The NBI data does not contain memorial inscription records. Note that this is an index; the results you are presented with will not contain images at the present time. The records that have been transcribed to date are now available at (FMP). Searching the index is free.

The NBI has been online for some time on the FFHS’s (FHOL) website. On FHOL it costs 5p to view the details of an entry and the minimum spend is £5 which lasts six months. (See below for vouchers offer.) Apparently on FMP, using the pay-per-view option, it costs 11.5p to view an entry and the minimum spend is £6.95 which lasts three months. However subscription packages are available as an alternative. The FHOL website will remain active until all data (including baptisms, MIs, wills and strays, etc) has been transferred to FMP.

The FFHS has arranged introductory 15% discounts with FMP. For an annual ‘Explorer’ subscription, enter the promotional code FFHS8SUB in the relevant field on the subscription payment page. Or, to save 15% on the cost of units, simply enter the promotional code FFHS8UNITS in the appropriate field.

Family history giants transmogrified

Last spring Phillimores, the Chichester-based local and family history publisher established in Victorian times, was taken over by Tempus of Stroud, Gloucestershire.

In the summer June Barnes sold out all her 1851 East Sussex Census books. We can help you complete your sets by offering you any three for £7 (including surface p&p) of Vols 2-7, 12-13, 17, 20-23 while stocks last. Each volume has the full particulars of every individual, together with details and statistics of the area and the route taken by the enumerator.

Then in the autumn the Federation of Family History Societies, faced with mounting administrative costs, offloaded its GENfair and Family History Online operations. We can offer FHOL £5 vouchers post free, while stocks last, to access the many family history societies’ records for England and Wales.

Similarly we can offer Census Online £5 vouchers post free, while stocks last. These vouchers were originally produced by the Public Record Office solely for the 1901 census, but they also access 1841-1871 and 1891 censuses.

Buy two of the above vouchers for £9 – either two of one type, or one of each.

Contact Joe Bysh, SFHG Publications, 40 Tanbridge Park, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1SZ. @

Family reunion to be documented

The BBC will be celebrating the British family in a new three-part documentary series following the reunion of a large extended family.

The celebration will offer one family the chance to discover their collective history over the course of an all-expenses paid weekend in spring 2008. The hope is to explore the fascinating past and present that every British family has at its core and to discover the importance and strength of family bonds in modern Britain.

The BBC is looking for anyone interested in taking advantage of this unique opportunity to reunite their extended family. Perhaps you have an important forthcoming milestone that provides the perfect opportunity for a celebration? You’ll take part in a busy weekend of family activities, providing you with the chance to rediscover relationships, memories and family bonds. You’ll see archive footage and photographs that may have lain unseen for decades, participate in genealogy workshops and meet family members that you’ve never met or of whom you only have distant memories.

If you would like to find out more about the series or think you might like to get involved, call Olivia Howes on 020 7267 4260 or e-mail