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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Busy September

Apart from the extra traffic that reappears on the roads with the start of a new school term, I like September. The weather is usually better than August (but it's nice to see the autumn and winter collections in the shops too, just in case). It's also the time when new family history classes start up, and when many societies re-start their talks programmes after a summer break.

I also have a book coming out at the end of the month (in my last blog post I did warn you of the shameless self-promotion to come). In fact is is a joint project with my good friend and former colleague, Dave Annal of Lifelines Research. His name comes before mine for a number of reasons; Annal comes before Collins in the alphabet; he is an established author; and he did more than his fair share of the work! It is called 'Birth, marriage and Death Records, a guide for family historians' to be published on 30 September. If you are really keen you can follow the link and pre-order it from the Pen & Sword Books site for the bargain price of £10.39.
Oddly enough, no-one has written a book on this subject before. There are plenty of books on individual topics, such as civil registration or baptism records, and chapters on births, marriages and deaths in general family history books. But while there are numerous books on the census, or wills and probate, no-one has ever put together a whole book exclusively on birth, marriage and death records. We only wish we could have made it twice the length, there is so much wonderful material out there.

But before the book comes out I have two important speaking engagements, both at the Society of Genealogists. The first is a half-day course on Tracing Scottish Ancestors at The National Archives on Saturday 22 September. This is based on a talk that I first delivered three years ago, but which has now been updated and extended. There's a lot of material, so I am looking forward to having a double-length session this time. There is a podcast of the original version that I gave onsite at The National Archives in 2009.

Somerset House, birthplace of civil registration in England and Wales, in the 1830s
On the following Saturday, 29 September, I am back at the Society to deliver the opening sessions at their day conference celebrating 175 Years of Civil Registration. Hats off to the Society of Genealogists for being (as far as I am aware) the only organisation to mark this very significant anniversary. It seems to have passed entirely unnoticed as far as the General Register Office is concerned; they made a big deal of the 150th anniversary in 1987 and even commissioned a book, the excellent 'People Count' by Muriel Nissel. Perhaps they are saving themselves for the bicentenary in 2037.

You can book for both the Scottish Ancestry and 175 Years of Civil Registration on the Society's Events Calendar page. Maybe I'll see you there?


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