iwiKiwi

A Kiwi in search of her Irish, English & Scottish tribes

Category: Events (Page 2 of 3)

Who Do You Think You Are? Live : Day One

Last weekend I attended the Who Do You Think You Are? Live exhibition held at the Olympia in London.  It runs for three days, and I went along for the Friday and Saturday.

What struck me on Friday was how CRAZY busy it was in comparison to last year.  I like going on the Friday, because I have this idea it’s a “quiet” day.   Not so!  I  also filled up my time with four talks and the Keynote lecture with Q & A, so by the end of the day I was feeling rather overwhelmed.

WDYTYA? Live 2013

It doesn’t look that busy in this photo, but it was!

The most illuminating presentation I attended was Debbie Kennett’s “A Beginner’s Guide to DNA”.  A fellow IHGS student and I raced into the Olympia to get seats for her 11am session, and were not disappointed.  Debbie gave a clear and concise overview of the three main tests you can take : Y-DNA (males only), mtDNA and Autosomal, and explained how they can be used for genealogical connections.  I found it completely fascinating and now want to get everyone in my extended family tested!

In my Ask the Experts session I scored Dominic Johnson as my expert, and wished I had brought along my palaeography assignments instead of a question about my South African ancestor! Last year I had been inspired by her workshop on palaeography.

In the few spare minutes I had between talks, I managed to get my hands on a Flip Pal mobile scanner and find out all about it, with plans to buy the next day.  I also purchased four books on my ‘Want to Buy’ list (hurray for show specials!):

  • Bruce Durie’s Understanding Documents for Genealogy & Local History, The History Press (2013)
  • Simon Fowler’s Tracing Your Army Ancestors, 2nd ed., Pen & Sword (2013)
  • Celia Heritage’s Tracing Your Ancestors through Death Records, Pen & Sword (2013)
  • Debbie Kennett’s The Surnames Handbook, The History Press (2012)

One of the best parts of the day was chatting to the staff from IHGS, and catching up over dinner with fellow students.

WDYTYA? Live ~ wrap up

Today I enjoyed a lovely lie-in and leisurely breakfast at my hotel, before heading home by train.  I would have loved to have visited WDYTYA? Live for a third day, but had afternoon commitments.  Next year I will clear my calendar for the weekend!

Best decision I made this year was my choice of hotel which was only a five minute walk from Earl’s Court tube station, and on the way to the Olympia.  So this meant I could travel up on Friday morning by train, drop my bag off to the hotel, and then it was only another ten minute walk to the Olympia.  Genius!

I had splashed out on platinum tickets for both Friday and Saturday, which is an expensive way to do it, but it was worth it.  I just wish they had some kind of deal for a three day platinum ticket!  Maybe next year?

I spent a lot of my time in workshops.  Unless there are some special deals that are show-only, I tend to buy books/products online.  (I am still regretting not buying a Flip-pal, though!)  So I think it’s really the talks and presentations that make it worthwhile for me.  This year I got to meet up with a couple of friends as well, which was fantastic, as in the previous two years I’d attended on my own.  It was also lovely to hear talks by people I’ve heard/read about, and to see them in person.

One thing I meant to do last year was join the Suffolk Family History Society, and this year I finally did it! It’s the first FHS that I’ve joined, so I’m hoping for great things to come of it.

It wasn’t until the end of Saturday that I realised there was  free Wi-Fi available – doh!  I had real problems sending tweets out via Vodafone, so stopped trying.  It would have been good if the Wi-Fi had been better publicised (or maybe I should have checked for it at the beginning..?)

I managed to snaffle a FindMyPast polo shirt – score!  Plus track down Else Churchill for a genealogy blogger/tweeter rosette (um… sorry I hassled you straight after your presentation, Else!)  Maybe next year it would be a good idea to have a central point to pick one up (the SOG stand, perhaps), to save us stalking poor Else?

All up, I had a fantastic time at WDYTYA? Live, and am looking forward to next year.  (February 22nd-24th!!)

Day Two WDYTYA? Live

I was looking forward to today as I was meeting up with some of my fellow IHGS students. They are a bit further along in the course than me, and as hoped, I am now all fired up to crack on with my next assignments!

However, on with the event – I got some extra workshop tickets today, and the first talk I attended was Audrey Collins’ on TNA’s new Discovery service. Despite numerous technical glitches, it was an interesting and useful presentation. Looking forward to getting back to my laptop and doing some searches.

Next up was a comparison of parish registers and bishops’ transcripts in Wiltshire from John Hurley. I’m about to tackle these in my next IHGS assignments, so good timing!

Yesterday I spent some time going around the different stands downstairs, but today decided to mainly spend my time at the workshops instead. I bought a ticket for the keynote talk with Laurence Harris (unfortunately forgoing Bruce Durie’s presentation on Heraldry), and was a bit disappointed – not sure what I had expected, though. Perhaps something pitched at a slightly higher level? The Q & A session that followed was great, however.
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Panel participants included Laurence (myHeritage),
D.Joshua Taylor (brightsolid US), Dan Lynch (Google), Lisa Louise Cook (Genealogy Gems), Peter Christian, and Paul Howes (Guild of One Name Studies).

And then for a bit of light relief (and some excellent info), there was Chris Paton on doing Irish research online. Great craic altogether!

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I had an Ask the Expert session booked after this – I got some useful guidance on where to go next in the hunt for my Burkes in Mayo, but I wonder if I might not have come up with it myself given half a spare moment. Always nice to have someone’s undivided attention for 20 whole minutes, though (not something I’m used to with three young kids).

By this time I was in WDYTYA Live overload. Had a quick covetous look at the Flip-pal, and then legged it to the pub.

Day One WDYTYA? Live in technicolour

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Main event hall

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Nick Barratt on Family History and education

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Nick Barratt with Colin McFarlane

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Jayne Shrimpton – dating and researching family snapshots

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Jackie Depelle and her fabulous hat! (Lovely meeting you, Jackie!)

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Dominic Johnson on palaeography

My iPhone doesn’t take great photos and I can’t tell if any of the above are very clear, but am posting them ás is’ for now and fixing them up later when I get home.

Day One WDYTYA? Live

Couldn’t believe how busy the place was today! I arrived just before opening time of 10am and the queue of ticket holders outside seem to go on forever. It was at this point I was very glad I had splashed out and got a fast track platinum ticket, which enabled me to bypass the queues and go straight inside.

I managed to grab some extra workshop tickets upstairs,and then I headed straight for the photo-dating area, where my luck was in! Maureen Taylor dated four photos of mine before there was anyone else waiting in line (top tip: head for the photo dating area first).

The first talk I went to was Larry Lamb sharing his experiences of WDYTYA. His episode was voted as the most moving of the last series, and it was lovely to get his feedback on the whole process.

After that session, I grabbed something to eat and prepared my information for the Ask the Expert session I had coming up next. I spoke to a very helpful man about my military ancestors and found out where to look for further information. A visit to TNA at Kew seems to be in order!

I then had four talks/workshops in a row – all of them illuminating. Nick Barratt (along with Colin McFarlane) spoke about an amazing project they’re working on with school children, integrating family history with the national curriculum. (Can’t check website address right now, but will add as soon as I can!) Jayne Shrimpton showed us family snapshots from the 1880s to the 1940s, giving us ideas on how how to date them and also proving what value they have to our research.

Then it was palaeography with Dominic Johnson – I found this a brilliant presentation, despite numerous technical glitches. She has a real passion for her subject, and I can’t wait to get stuck into this topic for my IHGS assignments. (Famous last words..?)

Last session of the day for me was Discover Scottish Church Records with Chris Paton. Essentially a Quick History of the (surprisingly many) churches in Scotland, with helpful hints on where to research, all delivered with great humour. Lovely way to end the day!

(WordPress on iPhone won’t let me upload photos at the mo, so they’ll have to keep for another day.)

WDYTYA? Live ~ one more sleep to go!

Who Do You Think You Are? Live, the biggest family history event in the English-speaking world, begins tomorrow!

Apparently the District Line between Earl’s Court and Kensington Olympia is on a restricted service on Friday, so if you’re going along tomorrow, check the Transport for London website, for an alternative route. The walk doesn’t look too bad from Earl’s Court, though – about 15 minutes.  Service seems to be running normally during the weekend.

Many of the exhibitors are running competitions and promotions.  One that caught my eye on Twitter was FindMyPast – visit their stand 707 and quote “the transcription has landed” for a free 1911 census polo shirt. First come, first served!

The Society of Genealogists‘ Else Churchill has organised some rosettes for genealogy bloggers and tweeters to wear, so do go up and ask her about this. She’ll be around the SOG workshop areas, mostly likely, or catch her at one of her talks.  If you’re not a blogger or tweeter, look out for the rosettes!  (I’ve jimmied up some business cards to hand out.)

The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies are at stand 69/70, with a great discount on their Correspondence Course if you enrol this weekend.  Check out all their other courses too, and have a chat to the lovely staff.

I’m not sure what I’m more excited about – the actual exhibition, the workshops, meeting up with some fellow IHGS students, or having a weekend away from the kids!

Hopefully I’ll get a chance (and an internet connection) to post tomorrow night.

 

WDYTYA? Live ~ one week to go!

This time next week I will be at WDYTYA? Live in London!  I’m attending on Friday and Saturday, and have booked workshops for both days.  I’m hoping I’ll be able to pick up tickets on the day for another workshop or two.

Ancestry have announced they will be streaming some of their presentations live from their Facebook page.  (You’ll need to have a Facebook account.) Details are on their blog. There are three presentations on Friday and three on Saturday that you will be able to view.

Seven more sleeps to go!

Kent Family History Fair, Maidstone

Popped in to the Kent Family History Fair today as it was just down the road.  Had a browse through some postcards, having been inspired by John Gasson at The Wandering Genealogist, and his postcard collecting.   I lasted about 15 minutes, and didn’t find anything I really wanted to purchase.  I think I’d like to have a little shopping list next time. 

What I did buy was a CD I’d been eyeing up online – the Kent Family History Society‘s Poor-law Records for Mid-Kent, which contains indexes of settlement certificates, bastardy bonds, removal and settlement examinations, etc, chiefly from the Poor Law Union areas of Gravesend & Milton, Hoo, Strood (or North Aylesford), Milton, Hollingbourne, Maidstone, Malling, Tonbridge, Cranbrook and Dartford (for parishes where records are held at Maidstone or Medway).

Happily I found a mention of the ancestor I was looking for! Now that I know the records are there, I can go take a look at the original documents, and also check the parish vestry minutes for the time period, see if there are any other mentions.

The other item I bought was a CD from the bargain box – Pigot’s 1840 Directory for Kent. From a quick look, the villages I’m particularly interested in aren’t mentioned, but hopefully I’ll find some use for it.

In other news, I have a newly-discovered relative visiting me on Friday morning, and I’m meeting up with a fellow IHGS student in Dublin on Saturday. I also hope to get my current batch of assignments as close to completion as possible this week. Just as long as I don’t find anything to distract me…

SOG Centenary Conference, London

I spent the day up in London, attending the Society of Genealogists Centenary Conference, and had an illuminating day!

There were two streams of presentations, so you never know if you’ve picked the right one, but mostly I was very happy with the talks I heard.  First up was Dr Nick Barratt (of WDYTYA? fame) – fantastic speaker and a thought provoking topic – From Memory to Digital Record: Personal Heritage, Family History and Archives in the 21st Century.   Some of the issues he covered were the importance of local archives and how cutbacks are affecting opening hours and the threat of closure in some cases, the work being done in schools to make history personal and getting the kids excited about it, how WDYTYA really got people interested in genealogy (and the unrealistic expectations generated by the programme!), and preserving your own family archive for future generations.  There was a lot more he talked about, but these stood out for me.  One of the questions asked afterwards was:  where can you put family history information online, without having to build your own website?  According to Barratt, there are a couple of companies that are offering a service like this (and I didn’t catch the names).  But it’s still early days on that front – an interesting space to watch, I think.

The next presentation I saw was Dr Bruce Durie on The Future of Geneaology Education. He runs the postgrad Genealogical Studies programme at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.  Awesome speaker!  Fascinating talk  about genealogy both as an academic discipline and a profession.

At this point we had lunch – which was a rather underwhelming and disappointing affair consisting of sandwiches, a few crisps, and sliced fruit.

After lunch were presentations on parish registers, records pre 1700s, and census substitutes 1688-1837.  This last talk was given by Else Churchill, who I’ve heard speak before, and who is so easy to listen to.  I skipped the presentation on blogging and social networking, but hope to read the lecture notes on the SOG website when they’re made available.  (As I seemed to be one of the few attendees under 60, I was a bit concerned about the level the talk would be pitched at, though perhaps I shall be proven wrong!)

The final session was Juliet Nicolson discussing The Perfect Summer: Dancing into the Shadow in 1911, her book of the same name.  The talk was so good I just had to buy a (signed) copy of the book afterwards.

All in all it was an enjoyable day, though it would have been nice to have had some kind of open forum/discussion session, and other opportunities that would encourage discussion amongst fellow attendees.  And slightly better lunch options to keep us going till 6.30pm.

Catching Up

Well, I had meant to write a bit about Percy Luxton, my first cousin twice removed, who has featured now in not one, but two Wordless Wednesday posts.  Alas alack, I have been distracted this week by ITV’s Long Lost Family and BBC’s If Walls Could Talk: The History of the Home, catching up on episodes I had missed.

And tomorrow I am off to the Society of Genealogists’ Centenary Conference in London, and looking forward to some interesting presentations.   Will report back on my experiences there as soon as I can!

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