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Societies and organisations that focus on genealogy and family history can provide valuable information for your genealogical research. While this section specifically discusses English societies, it’s important not to overlook societies in the country your ancestors moved to. Many societies publish journals, transcripts, and compiled genealogies that can be helpful in your research. They also often have ongoing projects to transcribe records and create indexes. By joining one of these societies, you can support their efforts and gain access to their resources. This article will provide a comprehensive list of UK family history society websites.
Family History Federation (brand name of the Federation of Family History Societies)
The Family History Federation serves as the coordinating body for societies in England and elsewhere. It supports and encourages genealogy and family history research amongst its member societies. The Federation used to publish Family History News and Digest, a journal that includes the names and addresses of its member societies. However, it has now been replaced by an electronic Magazine (ezine). You can find current details of member societies and other useful information on the Federation’s website. The contact details for the Family History Federation are:
- General Enquiries Family History Federation
- PO Box 62, Sheringham, Norfolk NR26 9AR
- Phone: +44 (0)1263 824951
- Registered Office 2 Primrose Avenue, Urmston, Manchester M41 OTY
Society of Genealogists
The Society of Genealogists has extensive records from all over England, including the largest collection of transcribed parish registers in the country. Their address is:
- Society of Genealogists
- 14 Charterhouse Buildings
- Goswell Road
- London EC1M 7BA
For an introduction to the library, you can refer to the book “Using the Library of the Society of Genealogists” published by the Society of Genealogists in 1991. The Family Search Library also has several guides to this library, as well as their publications. You can find the publications listed in the Author/Title Search of the Family Search Catalogue.
Local History Societies
There are many local history societies in England that collect and encourage the writing of histories of the people and places in their area of interest. The British Association for Local History (BALH) is an organisation that supports the study of local history throughout Great Britain. They serve as a national body representing local and regional historians and publish the quarterly journal “The Local Historian.” The Association also provides a website (http://www.balh.co.uk) for information and links. The headquarters of the Association are located in Ashbourne, Derbyshire.
Addresses of local history societies can be obtained from the Federation Family History Societies’ (FFHS) website. You can also find them in the books “Directory of British Associations & Associations in Ireland” and “Historical, Archaeological and Kindred Societies in the United Kingdom: A List.”
Key Benefits of Membership in Local Family History Societies
Joining a local family history society in each England county can bring several advantages and benefits to your genealogical research. Some of these benefits include:
- Discovering other distant relatives with whom you can collaborate on family lines.
- Learning about events and local history that directly affected your ancestors.
- Acquiring effective search strategies and critical approaches to employ in your research.
- Accessing and using critical products compiled by societies, such as transcribed or indexed records.
- Purchasing books, CDs, microfiche, or the services of knowledgeable local residents for lookup assistance.
- Sharing and publishing your ancestral surnames of interest for others to view and respond with help and assistance.
- Writing articles on ancestor case studies or research strategies to disseminate learnt research practices.
- Advertising ancestral names or lookup services in society journals.
- Joining meetings, classes, and lectures, and accessing library holdings as a local member.
- Volunteering to assist with enquiries from members abroad.
Locating Records at the Family Search Library
The Family Search Library has copies of records compiled by various societies. You can find these records described in the Author/Title Search of the Family Search Catalogue under the society name. They are also listed in the Locality Search under specific categories such as England – Societies, England [County] – Societies, England – Genealogy, and England [County] – Genealogy. Additionally, some records gathered by societies are listed in the Place Search of the Family Search Catalogue under record types like England [County] – Cemeteries.
Lists and guides that describe societies’ collections can be found under the categories England – Archives and Libraries, England [County] – Archives and Libraries, and England [County], [City, Town, or Parish] – Archives and Libraries.
Joining a family history society in the UK can provide valuable resources and support for your genealogical research. These societies often publish journals, transcripts, and compiled genealogies, and they may have ongoing projects to transcribe records and create indexes. By becoming a member, you can access these resources and collaborate with others who share your interest in family history. Use the list of UK family history society websites provided in this article to find societies that cover the areas relevant to your research.