27 June 2015 marked the 20th year of the Yorkshire Family History Fair. I last went about ten years ago so I decided it was high time I returned.
I booked my ticket in advance which worked out very cost effective given the “Buy One Get One Free” offer: £4.50 for both my husband and I to attend. Not bad for an event at York Racecourse. I reckon it worked out cheaper than back in 2005 (always a plus point for a Yorkshire lass).
The event did not appear to be as large in terms of exhibitors as when I visited all those years ago. I seem to recall that back then it was spread over more floor space and included some of the big national players. And, in a marked difference from the family exhibition I attended earlier this year, there was none of the big genealogical DNA testing push, such a heavy feature of “Who Do You Think You Are? Live”.
As the title suggests the emphasis of the Yorkshire Family History Fair is very much based around predominantly, but not exclusively, Yorkshire Family History Societies and Yorkshire-based family history organisations. Many of these had individual tables unlike at “Who Do You Think You Are? Live” where there was a Yorkshire Group of FHS’s umbrella table. The various Archives in Yorkshire were also represented, such as East Riding Archives, West Yorkshire Archive Service, Borthwick Institute for Archives and the North Yorkshire Record Office.
But you would be wrong in thinking the Fair was purely limited to County of Yorkshire exhibitors. Family History Societies from across the North of England and as far afield as Huntingdonshire, Clwyd and Aberdeen and North East Scotland were there, as well as nationwide organisations such as The Genealogist and S&N Genealogy Supplies (event sponsors), Society of Genealogists and Guild of One Name Studies.
I was particularly pleased to see Shropshire Family History Society there, given my latest research project. They were so helpful I even ended up signing up as a member!
In common with other similar events there were a series of free talks throughout the day including:
- “Looking For Tommy”– Tracing a Military Ancestor”;
- “Breaking Down Your Brick Walls Using Unique Tools and Data” and
- “Recording, Reporting and Preserving Your Family History”.
I especially enjoyed the former talk and have taken away some new hints and techniques for using The Genealogist’s Military Records Series to further my search into my military ancestors.
The event was well attended. At one point in the afternoon the card machine did not work to take payment for one of my many purchases, presumably down to the numbers of people present, and not my enthusiastic spending spree. Luckily my husband was on hand with cash (and he has forgotten to ask me to pay him back).
It was fantastic to get such in-depth advice and information from all the various exhibitors. I would recommend the event equally for beginners and the more experienced researcher particularly because of the local knowledge and expertise of the many Family History Societies.
And the added bonus was the location at The Knavesmire. On such a beautiful June day, probably one of the nicest this summer, we nipped out for a stroll around and were treated to an impromptu, whistle-stop tour of the immaculately kept, flower-filled racecourse. We even learned they have their own floriculture unit to grow the seeds and seedlings.
Many thanks to all those involved in organising the Fair and those many volunteers working on the various tables. I will definitely not leave it so long before my next return.
 See my blog post entitled “Shropshire, Staffordshire, Shrouds and Shoes”