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The e-newsletter of the Sussex Family History Group

The first sod is cut!

On Friday 7 October the official Turf Cutting Ceremony marked the start of the main building work for The Keep. The contractors have been working since August to prepare the site, laying down the access road and temporary car park and installing site huts and equipment. The ceremony heralded the start of the ground works and the excavation of the foundations for the new building.

Heralding the start to historical resource centre project

The Sussex Family History Group was represented at the ceremony by Colin Excell, who also joined Wendy Walker on site at 8am for a live radio interview with BBC Radio Sussex. The turf cutting took place before over 35 guests and a plethora of photographers. Attendees included the Leaders of East Sussex County Council and Brighton & Hove City Council, the Chief Executive of East Sussex County Council, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Sussex, the Mayor of Brighton & Hove, the Chairman of the Friends of East Sussex Record Office as well as representatives from the project team, staff and the local community.

While the building work is going on further work will be continued on the internal furniture, fixtures, fittings and equipment including those of the SFHG room. The Keep will take 93 weeks to build including the three month testing period for the environmental controls in the repository block, so that the building can be licensed by The National Archives. It is hoped that The Keep - the new historical resource centre for East Sussex and Brighton & Hove - will open to the public later in 2013.

Further details of the progress of the project can be found on the County Council's website at • Wendy Walker, Senior Archivist and Programme Manager, ESRO.

Family history open day

If you have never been to the East Sussex Record Office then here's your chance. Find out about the collections and get a head start on how to use the resources. This is a unique opportunity to do something different, find out about new research resources and see behind the scenes! Children can enjoy making their own archive detective badge and other family friendly activities.

The programme will include tours of the strongroom and conservation workshops. Attending will be the Sussex Family History Group, Hastings & Rother FHS, and Family Roots (Eastbourne & district) FHS.

The Open Day is on Sunday 30 October (10am-4pm). For further details see

New Sussex CDs

Newly available from SFHG Publications are two new CDs of Sussex material extracted and transcribed by Michael Burchall, with introductions to its history and meaning.

Sussex Poor 2 - 1801-1850 continues his earlier CD which included Quarter Sessions records 1661-1800 from all nine Sussex venues and which took him over 30 years to compile. This latest CD is also a fitting complement to the PBN Publications CD concentrating on criminals and victims 1810-1854 originally published on fiche a decade ago.

Burchall's other new CD is Sussex Convicts Transported to Australia 1789-1867 which is extracted from The National Archives original records (HO11) and many subsequent secondary sources. It gives the history of transportation back to 1248. It similarly complements Roger Davey's booklet East Sussex Sentences of Transportation at Quarter Sessions 1790-1854 which lists the Sentences whether they were carried out or not.

More details are on the SFHG website.

New editor urgently required for Sussex Family Historian

The Sussex Family History Group is looking for a new editor for its quarterly journal Sussex Family Historian to commence with the March 2012 issue.

The editor is responsible for the creation of the around 60-page magazine four times a year, including receipt of submissions, choices for publication, copyediting, page layout, proof reading, and transmission of the artwork to the printers.

An in depth knowledge of family history research not necessary. Likewise, previous publishing experience isn't essential. Rather it's a rewarding opportunity for someone with fresh ideas and fresh enthusiasm to take SFH further.

Anyone interested in volunteering for this role should contact the SFHG Chairman (