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The e-newsletter of the Sussex Family History Group

Ruby Anniversary

This year is the 40th Anniversary of the formation of the Sussex Family History Group and we'll be marking it in style.

During the year we will be running a Family History Competition.

Our flagship Sussex Marriage Index CD will this year be 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).

In addition to our Conference in April at which attendees will receive a commemorative document case, we will also be hosting a Local & Family History Fair. This will be on Saturday 11 May at Clair Hall, Haywards Heath.

In October we will again be at Clair Hall for an Anniversary Social Event. This will be open to members only, though numbers will of necessity have to be limited.

There will be more information about these celebratory activities on the website and in the next Sussex Family Historian which will be a special anniversary issue.

Checking the Baptism Index

Work is well under way to check and edit the Sussex Baptism Index. With 1.4 million records this is a large and time consuming task, for which we will need all the volunteers we can recruit if we are to complete the process in a reasonable time. If you have some spare time, reasonable computer skills and are happy working from digital images of original records why don't you get in touch with Rosie Ansell, our volunteers coordinator (, and offer your services? The more people that are involved the faster the reliability of the index will improve. Looking forward to hearing from you. • Brian Cutler (

Monthly meetings

SFHG's local meetings are held monthly at seven venues across the county. Bognor Regis, Brighton & Hove, Chichester, Crawley, Uckfield and Worthing meetings usually have guest speakers at their evening meetings. The Horsham meeting is held in the afternoon and takes the form of an informal round-table discussion.

Members and friends may attend any of these local meetings. Bookstall, magazines, helpdesk, refreshments available at some locations. See the SFHG website for details of all meeting centres.

The Keep: Less than a year away?

Great progress is being made and all of the main construction work at The Keep is now almost finished. The first five months of 2013 will be spent in fitting out the interior with furniture and equipment and installing the signage both inside the building as well as in the surrounding area and car park.

During this period we will also be carrying out the three month acclimatization and proving period when the repository block will be sealed off and the environmental conditions tested every day for 12 weeks to ensure that the right temperature and humidity levels are being achieved. If these readings are successful then the building will be handed over to us at the end of May.

We will then be able to start moving in over the summer and autumn with a view to opening towards the end of the year. In the meantime our staff and a wonderful band of volunteers are busy in boxing, bar-coding and preparing the collections for transfer to The Keep.

A site visit was arranged for committee members of the SFHG together with the Friends of the East Sussex Record Office on 20 November when over 20 people donned hard hats, boots and high visibility jackets and were able to see the progress that is being made in the new building. We are looking forward to being able to show everyone the completed building and give tours behind the scenes once we have moved in later this 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.

History Centre to close

The Brighton History Centre is to close around Eastertime. Much of the material currently held there will, in due course, be transferred to The Keep. However there is to be a new local and family history 'hub' at the Jubilee Library. The intention is for this to open as soon as the History Centre closes.

The Friends of Brighton History Centre had a meeting with council officers on 19 December. The meeting was well attended and passionate but with a broadly positive outcome. The Friends are to be actively involved in optimising arrangements both at The Keep and at the new 'hub'.

The UK's biggest history show

This year's 'Who Do You Think You Are? Live' takes place at Olympia from Friday 22 to Sunday 24 February. Again incorporated is the Society of Genealogists' Family History Show. Featured will be genealogical experts and numerous workshops to help with your research. Dozens of family history societies will be represented along with museums and libraries.

Standard price of an adult ticket is £22. You can buy two advance tickets for £25 (plus £2 booking fee) - visit the WDYTYA website and quote FFHS2425 when prompted for a code. Offer closes 8 February.