Sunday, 9 September 2012

National Family History Fair 2012 - report

I finally got back home from the National Family History Fair in Newcastle at a couple of minutes before midnight last night (Saturday), after three trains and two pints of the relaxing stuff! This year I gave one of the three talks at the event, and introduced the other speakers, and so was unable to gain much by way of new developments, though a few did find their way in my direction!

I arrived at the hotel on Friday evening and caught up with a few people before the main event itself, including FindmyPast's Amy Sell, in her first event for a good few months. In recent months the FindmyPast websites in Australasia, Ireland and the USA have changed format, to offer a new worldwide based subscription that allows access to the holdings of all four worldwide sites (each of which carries unique local content to their respective areas). I asked if this was still on the cards for the UK version of the site, and was told that they are intending to place worldwide content on the UK platform, but not necessarily in the same way as has been done on the other three sites. The search method for the other three platforms for the worldwide content is more difficult to use in terms of the techniques needed, essentially involving finding millions of records at he top and then using filters to narrow down to the record of interest. It seems there's a bit of a rethink on that for the UK end, so watch this space.

Elsewhere, I caught up with the wonderful folks at FIBIS (, who have kindly given me a copy of a new research guide for review, which I will write up upon my return from Canada next week. The book is the second guide, and is entitled British Ships in Indian Waters: Their owners, crew and passengers, by Richard Morgan, and it looks a cracker!

Another snippet of news from the talks is that the National Archives at Kew will soon have some additional content on crime and punishment towards the end of the year. I also learned that TNA has royalty residing in its gardens, in the form of 'Herod the heron'!

After helping to take entrance and talks tickets money at the door I later had the pleasure to introduce and hear the talks of both Dr William Roulston of the Ulster Historical Foundation, and Gerry Toop of the National Archives, with two very well attended lectures. At 2.30 I then had to take the plunge myself with my own introductory talk on Scottish resources. This was one of the more fun talks I've given in a while, and I think those who attended all three talks had a great time.

Thanks again to Bob and Liz Blatchford, as well as to Paul and Maurice for a great evening meal on Friday - Bob and Liz will be in Dublin again at Back to Our Past in October ( with the next Irish Family and Local History Handbook. Bob was a happy bunny on Friday with a proof copy of the book  having just arrived, so keep an eye out for the new edition when it is launched! Thanks also to Sheena Tait for drinkies on Friday evening and to Laurence Harris of My Heritage for a quick bite to eat after the show on Saturday - it was useful to get an update on how the company is developing, including plans for its new records and trees integration search facility, coming soon. It was also great to catch up with Ian and Sharon Hartas, Guy Etchells, Chris Halliday, Steve McLeish, Ali MacDonald and Graham Holton, as well as Fiona Mitford and other Tweeters, and also one other lady whose blood truly was royal, in that her ancestor founded the Bruichladdich distillery on Islay!

A few snaps from the talks to end with...!

William Roulston discusses Irish resources

Gerry Toop takes us through the TNA website

My own unfortunate victims! (Thanks to all who attended!)


Scottish Research Online - 5 weeks online Pharos course, £45.99, taught by Chris Paton from 26 SEP 2012 - see
New book: It's Perthshire 1866 - there's been a murder... (from June 12th 2012)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for the report. It's great to read, and hear what's happening in the genealogy scene even on the other side of the world.