Category Archives: Family History Fair

WDYTYA? Live 2017 Preparations: Tickets on Sale 

It’s not even Christmas 2016, but one of my presents will be here early. After my 2016 visit to WDYTYA? Live in Birmingham, where I felt one day was far too short a visit for me, I determined that in 2017 I would spend longer at the exhibition. Tickets are now on sale with an “early bird” discount.

WDYTYA? Live 2016 – photo by Jane Roberts

So now it’s time for me to plan my visit. I’m going for a two-day option. So next to check out hotels. And based on my previous experiences I will pre-book my workshops. I’m getting old so need a seat!

WDYTYA? Live 2016 : So much to do, So little time

The evening after the day before. I’m still recovering after a 220 mile round trip and a jam-packed day at “WDYTYA? Live”.

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The “Ask the Experts” area, busy right from the off

This year I focused on talks as trailed here. I did a mixture of ticketed and free talks. Pre-booking the Society of Genealogists (SoG) Workshops proved a wise choice for me – I think all my chosen ones had sold out before the event. So it meant this year I got a seat instead of loitering on the periphery.

I picked up lots of useful tips from all three SoG talks I attended, including search tips and suggested books. I now have a couple of new research strategies and record sets to check out for my Irish research from “Luck of the Irish”. It was fascinating to follow step by step the methods used in conducting research from one name in Meath, tracing the family back to way beyond pre Civil Registration.

And, following on from “Tracing a 16th and 17th Century Family Tree”, the moment I got home I ordered a copy of “Courts of the Manors of Bandon and Beddington 1489-1552” to help with my Latin to English translation of Manorial records.  Going to a Catholic school and studying Latin for two years is of limited help – and then only for basic words. My “Ecce Romani” Latin is useless for Manorial rolls!

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A Packed “Tracing a 16th and 17th Century Family” Tree Workshop

My husband also attended three workshops. He’s only into Family History at a basic level, but learned lots from the “What they Don’t Tell you about Visiting Archives” and WW1 research talk “Overcoming Trench Walls”. He came away fired with enthusiasm, and insisted there and then on sharing his new-found knowledge!

As a journalist he also attended the “Copyright and Family History” talk. It was interesting to compare his perspective of what is done in reality (and ways round things), to what should be done.  He said this talk would put the fear of God into anyone about doing anything!

As an old-school journalist he was trained in shorthand, so made copious notes. I will be keeping an eye on the SoG website  http://www.sog.org.uk/ because, as in previous years, many (but not all) of the speakers’ handouts or slides presented at the show will be uploaded in due course.

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Final Packed Workshop of the Day – Research Before 1837

I also attended Debbie Kennett’s “Autosomal DNA Pleasures and Pitfalls” talk. A clear explanation of a complex subject, and I now feel better prepared to re-visit my DNA tests. Immediately on my return home I downloaded her talk slides and joined the “DNA help for Genealogy (UK)” Facebook page. So these should help with what is a daunting subject for my scientifically-challenged mind.

One nugget I did take away with me, which hadn’t previously crossed my mind with the Ancestry DNA kit, was the need to factor in my annual Ancestry subscription cost. This is required in order to be able to continue to access the full range of their DNA online result features.

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Debbie Kennett Points out the Pleasures and Pitfalls of Autosomal DNA

One talk which me and my husband attended together was Andrew Robertshaw’s “The Story of the Somme”. As my husband put it, the clearest most concise 20 minute explanation he has ever heard.

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“The Story of the Somme” – one of the highlights of the show for me

As a result of the number of talks I attended, regretfully I didn’t have as much time as I needed to explore the rest of the cornucopia of exhibitors. I did plan out in advance those I wanted to visit but didn’t get round them all. Part of the problem was navigating the stand numbering system – I kept getting hopelessly lost and distracted.

I was particularly disappointed I didn’t make it to the Forces War Records stand to see what the discount was, as I am considering subscribing.

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WW2 Spitfire in the Forces War Records Area

I did manage to get my 25% Ancestry renewal discount. Definitely one bargain not to be missed out on.

I was torn about purchasing some more DNA kits for the family. Ancestry had a great deal, with kits retailing at a massively discounted £59 and Family Tree DNA’s autosomal Family Finder kit at £65. I decided against it. But with luck, judging by the rate they were flying off the shelves, I may get some more matches (hopefully with attached trees).

As ever I spent a small fortune on books, my big weakness. The Pen & Sword stand got the largest chunk of my book cash. Their offer of three books for £30 proved far too tempting and I ended up buying 5 for £40! Only the fact I’ve got the indispensable “Phillimore Atlas of Parish Registers” stopped me from grabbing a £20 bargain at The History Press stand.

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Pen & Sword Haul

I also managed to sign up for a Pharos course (with 20% discount). So I’ll be doing their “Introduction to One-Name Studies” course in May. For good measure I ended up registering a one-name study name with the Guild – heaven knows how much extra work I’ve landed myself there!

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More Goodies – including One-Name Studies Guidance

On the subject of courses, I managed to speak to a number of providers. I’m now pondering about doing the Pharos Advanced course, the Institute of Heraldic & Genealogical Studies (IHGS) correspondence course or a Centre for Archive and Information Studies (CAIS) one. As ever for me the sticking point is fitting genealogy learning around work commitments. I need the flexibility. I also want a course which will potentially lead to formal accreditation with the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA).

And talking, listening and learning is another fantastic thing about “WDYTYA? Live”. It was great to meet so many people who share this passion for family history, including so many #AncestryHour Twitter folk! So faces to Twitter names at last.

Given my interest in WW1 history, I visit Flanders and the Somme annually. So the show provided me opportunity to do some planning for my two visits scheduled for this year.

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Holiday Planning

On a WW1 theme finally, as the show was winding up, Chris and I paid for joint membership of the Western Front Association, something we’ve meant to do for quite some time.

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Plenty for Military Researchers

Yet again I thoroughly enjoyed my day at “WDYTYA? Live”. The talks I attended were excellent. However, given that I felt I missed so much this year in terms of exhibitors, next year I won’t try to cram everything into one day. I will stay for two, possibly the full three, days. That in itself sums up how useful the event is.end of show

Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2016 – Workshops

I’m pushing on with my Family History New Year’s Resolutions, as described on 1 January. Today’s task has been around keeping up with the latest developments and building upon my knowledge.

I booked my ticket to “Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2016” late last year. Today I checked out the Workshop programme. Last year I failed to book these in advance. As a result the ones I wanted to attend were full. Although I was able to hang around the periphery and eavesdrop, it wasn’t quite the same as having a seat. This was my blog post based on my view of the 2015 event.

Irish Catholic Records Workshop in 2015

The programme is more or less finalised, and the workshops available to pre-book. Lots of interesting talks around a full range of topics, from Irish ancestry, copyright and War Records, to brick walls, maps and pre 1837 research. There are the inevitable workshop clashes. But I’ve deliberated and finally made my selection. These are based around a combination of my interests and areas I want to strengthen.

The full programme is here

My choices are:

  • “The Luck of the Irish” – Irish Census and Census Substitutes Might Lead You to Your Family in Ireland Prior to 1864 Registration – Grant Edward Curley (10.15)
  • Research Before 1837: Church Records on and Off Line – Else Churchill (11.15)
  • Writing Your Family History – Gill Blanchard (12.15)
  • What They Don’t Tell You About Archives – Simon Fowler (14.15)
  • Tracing a 16th and 17th Century Family Tree – Celia Heritage (15.15)
  • Copyright and Family History – Margaret Haig (16.15)

 

Update:
I have now received a follow up email from “WDYTYA? Live” informing me that the workshop schedule has changed since I made my booking. The “Writing Your Family History” workshop has moved to Friday’s show, so I will have to miss that one.

And “Research Before 1837” has moved to later in the day on Saturday….and it now clashes with the “Copyright and Family History” one. I’m now agonising over which one to attend. It may be that my husband will find himself attending the latter, tasked with note-taking: as a journalist, but not a family historian, it is the one he will probably get the most from.

I now have a gap at 11.15, so will probably go for Chris Baker’s  “The Fog of War: Breaking Through the Records of Soldiers of 1914-1918″, one of the talks I toyed with when making my original decision. My husband has booked for that one – so I will ask him to consider donating his place to me!

Looking at “The Education Zone” offerings which have now largely been fleshed out since my booking, Andrew Robertshaw’s “The Story of the Somme” appeals. Running between 13.50-14.10 I can probably squeeze that one in (just). But the other one I’m interested in, “Using Findmypast to Unlock Your Irish Family History“, by Brian Donovan clashes with the Archives talk.

The fact there are so many talks I’m interested in is testimony to the continued relevance of the show to family history researchers.

And the event has challenged my timetabling to the max. I only hope I haven’t gone too far with workshop overload….and I can find time to explore the various exhibitors.

I am also hoping that the surgery I’m now scheduled for will be in the week after the show. Otherwise all my planning will be in vain.