The e-newsletter of the Sussex Family History Group

SFHG Data Archive

Launched earlier this year was the SFHG Data Archive through which we aim to make available much of our transcribed data exclusively for members to access free.

More than 1.4 million records available exclusively for members.

This is very much an ongoing project; data is gradually being uploaded to this online database.

Already there are over 1.4 million records in the Data Archive. In particular there are all the baptisms from the Baptismal Index and names from the Sussex People Index. Also available are some burials and census data.

To view this data use the username and password as used for the Members Only pages on the SFHG website. There is guidance on searching or browsing the data on the website.

If you find the Data Archive useful then why not volunteer to help with transcribing and uploading the data.

We want blood!

Many of you are no doubt involved with various non-profit organizations such as church groups, youth groups, the Women’s Institute, or even other family history societies. Then you’ll be well aware that volunteers are the lifeblood of such bodies.

People volunteer for many reasons, including to help others and the community, to increase their self-esteem, to make new friends, or to develop new skills.

We in the SFHG are, of course, all volunteers. We are seemingly always on the look-out for fresh blood – to replace those stalwarts who have gone before or who are stepping down for a well-earned rest, and also so that the society benefits from a transfusion of new ideas and expertise that members can offer.

Currently we need volunteers for various tasks connected with the SFHG Library: such as cataloguing new accessions, booking the hall for the Saturday sessions, keeping minutes of the library sub-committee, etc. And we are also seeking a new Secretary – see next item.

Please contact the Chairman if you may be able to help with one of these roles. Or our Volunteers Co-ordinator would be delighted for you to complete the volunteers questionnaire on the SFHG website.

Secretarial vacancy

The Executive Committee would like to co-opt a volunteer to work with me for the next few months with a view to taking on the role of Secretary as from next year’s AGM.

Most of the work is by e-mail and is not that time consuming but, due to increasing family commitments, I feel that the time has come for me to step down from this position. I have enjoyed working with and meeting other members of SFHG.

This is an interesting position and would suit anybody able to spare a little time and who wishes to contribute to the ongoing success of the Group. Please contact me, or any committee member, if you might be interested and would like to know more about the role. • Val Orr @

New meeting centres?

When SFHG started there was just one meeting centre in the county, in Brighton. Now we have six. However, despite this, there are several populous areas of the county which could possibly benefit from new meeting centres.

The answer of course is to start a new centre! Naturally, any such new ventures would need to attract sufficient support for them to be viable, as well as volunteers to undertake the key roles.

Two areas that have previously been suggested are Mid-Sussex (Burgess Hill/Haywards Heath), and Newhaven/Peacehaven. If these (or other locations) would be attractive, do please get in touch.

Keep in touch with what’s going on

Mailing lists are a great way to keep in touch with what’s going on in the family history world. They can be a very effective way of asking questions, many people often know the answers and as composing an e-mail is so quick and easy you will almost always receive several helpful responses. Occasionally other listers will turn out to be researching the same names as you – you might even find ‘new’ cousins!

 The Sussex Family History Group has its own mailing list exclusively for members. To subscribe to the mailing list visit:

 Also covering Sussex (plus the surrounding counties of Kent, Surrey, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight) is the Sussex-Plus mailing list. To join this list follow the instructions on:

ESRO Open Weekend

There’s a fun-filled weekend planned for 7 & 8 November. This is East Sussex Record Office’s Open Weekend – with something for all ages.

With the theme ‘Family fun in the past’ the Saturday (10.30am to 3.30pm) is designed for families. Adults and children can enjoy storytelling, trying their hand at being a conservator, a tour behind the scenes, and the opportunity to have a look at some of the treasures in the collections.

The programme for Sunday (10am to 4pm) is more adult oriented. This Open Day gives the chance to find out how to use the East Sussex Record Office to explore local or family history. There will be behind the scenes guided tours of the building, conservation workshops, and advice surgeries with the archivists. Take along your own documents for advice and information. A special feature will be a display of maps from across the county, and other treasures from the collections.

On both days one can see a film of Lewes in its 1930s splendour. Or one can find out about an Artemis Arts project exploring and sharing the legacy of the Phoenix Iron and Steel Works which was central to the working lives of a great many Lewes families during its 154-year history.

Sussex Family History Group – “a special guest” – will be offering guidance and advice on researching family history.

(The SFHG Library will be open 2pm to 5.30pm on that Saturday afternoon as usual.)

Genealogy gizmo giveaway

Manchester and Lancashire FHS has made available a genealogy toolbar which integrates seamlessly with one’s browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari) to provide instant access to family history websites including BMDs, archives, societies, pay-per-view and many more.

The toolbar is completely free to download and use and has been developed by family historians for use by family historians. Users can choose to turn individual menus on and off and can add items from a selection of additional links.

The toolbar can be downloaded from the MLFHS website: