A newsletter for the Sussex Family History Group

Supporting local societies

I would like to address an issue that many genealogical and historical societies are experiencing in this day of busy schedules and internet access – the loss of membership.

Join and support your local genealogical and historical societies

Internet researchers should be aware that much of the information available on the many research sites is there because genealogical societies all over the world have done a wonderful job of abstracting and publish­ing that information. However, without members this work and these wonderful small libraries cannot survive long. Both financial support and volunteers are needed. These are special libraries, run by the local societies, and are not part of the public library system and therefore not funded by them.

I want to encourage every researcher to support her or his local society and/or the society that is in the area they do most of their research. Many of these societies have a nominal annual fee that most anyone should be able to afford. It goes a long way in helping to cover operating costs of the library and the publishing costs of larger books. While sales of their books do offset costs, it is the membership that is most important.

Join and support genealogical and historical societies. Help to ensure the continued flow of information and research availability at the local level. • Jane Grezlik, Ohio

[Previously published in RootsWeb Review: 24 January 2007, Vol 10, No 4.]

Can you help?

Apparently the Uckfield Meeting Centre are in a sorry state as there is a lack of volunteers willing to take on the administrative tasks, particularly that old favourite, programme secretary, so there is a real danger that they may close down at the end of this year. We need to consider how we can help them. Can you help? @

There is no better news with the Crawley Computer Group. No one has come forward to even share Ken Toll’s workload, let alone take over. Their meeting on Wednesday 19 September is an ‘Ask the Panel and Planning Meeting’ but, without someone to carry on the good work, that is likely to be the final meeting. Could anyone interested please make contact with Ken. @

From the Chairman

Barely have we recovered from the 2007 ‘Who Do You Think You Are? Live’ at Olympia than we are being invited to book a stand for next year’s event which will again be held during the Bank Holiday weekend 3-5 May. I would still like to hear from others who attended this year; only two members have been in touch so far but both were very positive and helpful. The cost has been increased to £255 plus VAT per table for the three days. We would normally need at least two tables to properly display our range of publications and the services we provide, and then there is the cost of volunteers getting to London.

Which leads to another concern, would we be able to find sufficient volunteers to ensure that the stand is staffed for the three days? I will not pretend that it is an easy task, it will be tiring even if we can recruit what I regard as the minimum of six for each day, but it will be rewarding to meet so many fellow enthusiasts and perhaps help them make some small progress in pursuing their genealogical dream. And, who knows, you might even recruit new members or sell some of our publications.

Whilst there is no need to panic before making a decision, everyone’s comments on any aspect of this will be welcome, especially from those of you prepared to help next May. • Mick Richardson

New CDs of Sussex Poll Books

A range of new CDs of Poll Books, etc is being produced by the Parish Register Transcription Society from fiche that SFHG hold. The CDs contain facsimile images of the original Poll Books.

These Poll Books are like the modern Electoral Rolls in that they list the name and abode of everyone eligible to vote, but they also list who people voted for – these Poll Books date from before the introduction of secret ballots. Suffrage was limited to male property owners.

The first three CDs available are:

 Brighton 1847 and 1852 Poll Books. (An ideal supplement to the Brighton 1851 Census CD which PBN has just produced for us.) In these five years the Poll increased by over 50%. £3

 Sussex 1774 Poll Book. Covers all six Sussex Rapes. With name indexes. £2.50

 Sussex 1832 Poll Book. Issued following the great 1832 Reform Act. Includes where registered as well as where residing (East Sussex, West Sussex, Kent, Surrey, London and Distant Places). Also includes name index. £2.50

The above prices include surface postage & packing. Available from Joe Bysh, 40 Tanbridge Park, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1SZ. Or from the SFHG website. (Usual 5% credit card surcharge applies.)

St Nicholas’s Church Gardens, Brighton

Simon Bannister of Brighton & Hove City Council’s Environment Improvement Team has written: “Part of my current remit is to look at a range of issues connected with St Nicholas’s Church Gardens in Dyke Road, and I am working with the Church community, local residents and church gardens users.

One theme of this work is to consider the management of monuments, some of which have fallen into disrepair or have been the subject of vandalism, and one outcome of my work will include consideration of strategies for the restoration of at least some of the more ‘significant’ structures.

As well as anyone with particular interest or knowledge regarding this site which may assist with this process, I am also keen to trace any descendants of those commemorated by monuments which are still in place, so that they may be involved in any proposals which are forthcoming.”

Any information regarding the above would be warmly received by Simon. He may be contacted by e-mail at

Ancestry and DNA

The Generations Network, parent company of, has announced a partnership with Sorenson Genomics which will combine Ancestry’s collection of online family trees and historical documents with ancestral DNA testing.

By taking a simple cheek-swab test and comparing results against others’ DNA profiles, virtually anyone can uncover genealogical associations unimaginable just a few years ago. Users will be able to connect with and discover lost or unknown relatives within a few generations, as well as gain an insight into where their families originated thousands of years ago.

In the coming months will release technology that will capture DNA test results in a searchable database. Using this database, users may identify distant cousins and tap into thousands of hours of already completed genetic genealogical research, breaking through family tree ‘brickwalls’ such as missing or inaccurate records and name changes.