The Federation of Family History Societies (FFHS) is an educational charity. We support, inform and advise our membership, which consists of family history societies and similar bodies across the world.
To achieve our mission, we:
co-ordinate and assist the work of organisations interested in family history, genealogy and heraldry
foster co-operation and projects that help researchers
represent the interests of family historians, especially in the preservation and availability of archives
You can read more about our activities on our "What We Do" page.
Welcome to Our New Chairman
A highlight of the Federation's recent Annual General Meeting was to welcome our newly elected Chairman.
Steve Benson is well-known to family historians across the country, not least for his many attendances at exhibitions and other events and personal contact with numerous existing and prospective members of family history societies.
We are delighted to have Steve at the helm, in succession to David Holman who is moving on to well-deserved retirement from the Chairmanship.
The picture shows Steve (right) receiving the Chairman's chain of office from our President Nick Barratt (left).
Really Useful For You
Family historians across the world are delighted to greet the 2015 edition of our "Really Useful Leaflet" (RUL).
This publication includes a wealth of help for everyone interested in exploring their families' stories. It is one of the best places in existence for readers to find the latest information about the societies and websites that can help with research and in contacting like-minded enthusiasts. Answers are given to many questions about how to make best use of particular sources and this year we have two specially commissioned articles about Navy and Army records.
In its 24 pages, RUL offers a great deal more than appears in most leaflets.
You can download your free copy of RUL now. Paper copies will be available for collection at the many events that the Federation will attend during 2015 and also at the meetings of many of the family history societies.
RootsTech Clocks Up 20,000
Audiences of as many as 20,000 at a time gathered at Salt Lake City for RootsTech 2015, which took place 12th-14th February. Surely, the largest family history event so far!
With a theme of 'Celebrating Families across the Generations', RootsTech is continuing to capture the attention of family historians across the world, as many of the presentations have been recorded and can be seen online.
We have updated our roll call of websites that can help your research – and do not charge for the privilege.
The 31 key sites are arranged in these categories:
Portals that list large numbers of other relevant sites or point to information drawn from them
Sites about books and maps
Individual sites likely to be particularly useful if you want to research ancestry in the British Isles
As well as a link to the site, each entry includes a summary of what it has to offer family historians.
Some of the selection may be familiar to you. Others are less well-known but still packed with useful information. They may offer unexpected opportunities to discover information and share our stories.
Moving Beyond Certificates
An expensive aspect of family history is the cost of buying birth, marriage and death certificates. Those for England & Wales from July 1837 onwards cost £9.25 each from the General Register Office. The full details that appear on a certificate are not available from the Government in any other way.
Fortunately, that restriction is now likely to change. The Government has accepted an amendment to the Deregulation Bill that is currently going through the House of Lords to allow information shown on birth, marriage and death certificates to be made available in other ways. If all goes to plan:
There will be a consultation period about the relevant issues.
Then, detailed changes will be made about how we can access these records, the formats available and the charges.
Reform will not happen overnight, but we are moving much closer to having this valuable historical information available online, almost certainly at much lower prices than we have to pay at present.
Many thanks to Baroness Scott of Needham Market (pictured) who has worked for some years to promote this vast improvement.
Over 50 family historians battled through the snow to Peterborough in order to attend the Federation’s recent seminar for editors.
It was well worth the effort. Subjects covered included the opportunities presented by social media and various ways to improve and promote journals and newsletters published by our societies. Both during the formal sessions and at the lunch break, many of us exchanged experience and ideas. We had particularly lively discussion about the emerging role of electronic editions of journals as alternatives (but not substitutes) to the traditional printed and posted format.
This interactive and problem-solving event was organised by Steve Manning, our Education Officer. He promised that it is only the first of series of seminars on a variety of topics that the Federation plans to offer during the year ahead.
Participants completed an evaluation questionnaire, with 95% reporting the day as a good experience. If anything, the structured programme was too full, so we intend to allow more time for informal networking next time.
Thank you to all concerned for enabling the Federation and members from so many societies to work together in this way. We look forward to future events in the series.
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