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Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Coming up later this year...

My diary for this year is filling up, so for the benefit of anyone who wants to know what I am up to, here are some of the major events that will be keeping me busy over the next few months.

The big event for February is of course Who Do You Think You Are? - Live and there's a lot of work to be done before then, starting with something new we are trying out at Kew.

Thursday 21 February 'Focus on...' sessions at The National Archives Kew

The Thursday immediately before 'Who do you think you are? - Live' has turned into one of my busiest, as part of the day job. Large numbers of family historians come to London for the show, and extend their visit to take in some research at The National Archives and elsewhere while they are here. Last year we had the biggest turnout ever for a Thursday afternoon talk - it was given by Paul Carter, who always draws a crowd. And if the coach full of loyal regular visitors from Doncaster hadn't been held up in traffic we would have had to turn people away, as the Talks Room was already full to bursting! (They could at least catch the podcast by way of compensation). So this year we are trying something different, with a set of four short 'drop-in' sessions on popular research topics between 10am and noon, repeated between 2pm and 4pm.

Friday 22 February - Sunday 24 February Who Do You Think You Are? - Live

I'm really looking forward to this year's show. For the first time since 2009 The National Archives has an official presence. There won't be a stand, but there will be two talks each day in The National Archives Theatre. In addition to these, six more talks from staff (including me) are part of the main programme, and you will find full details in the full workshop timetable. I have no idea why these sessions are called 'workshops' because all the ones I have given or attended are what I would call talks or lectures (or classes, for Americans). In keeping with this year's migration theme, my talk is called 'There and back again - going away doesn't mean staying away' and is based in part on story from my own family which I wrote about in a blog post a couple of years ago.

For the rest of the time you can find us in a variety of places around the show; I will mostly be on the Findmypast and FamilySearch stands, or at the Society of Genealogists 'Ask the Experts' sessions on Friday and Saturday. You will be able to pick out staff from The National Archives by our distinctive polo shirts - I haven't seen them yet, but I am assured by the marketing department that they will be very tasteful. I'll be there all day on Sunday too, but on my own time, and in civilian clothes, so that I can get round and do all the things I won't have time for on Friday or Saturday.

Thursday 21 - Saturday 23 March Rootstech 2013

Another huge event, and by contrast with WDYTYA Live, I shall be attending in no official capacity whatever, but reverting to my habitual 'loose cannon' status. I attended the first two Rootstech conferences, and I wouldn't miss this one for anything. Although I'm not speaking at Rootstech, I have been asked to give a talk at the Family History Library on 'Lesser-known sources for births, marriages and deaths in the British Isles' on Wednesday 20 March. I'm hoping to get some research done there too both before and after Rootstech. I'm also looking forward to meeting up again with a number of friends that I haven't seen since Rootstech 2012 (and one of them is having a birthday party!).Should be a lot of fun. You can still register at the earlybird rate until 15 February, by following the link at the top of the page.

Saturday 27 April - Discovering the North West in The National Archives

This is another new departure, a day of talks by speakers from The National Archives at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston. I shall be speaking about Civil Registration in 19th Century Lancashire, and my colleague Briony Paxman will be looking at education, but the star of the show will undoubtedly be the afore-mentioned Paul Carter, who starts off the proceedings with '...medical neglect of paupers in the North West 1834-1860' and ends the day with a joint presentation with Briony on criminal records and political reform. The cost of the day is £27 (less for concessions), including lunch. You can see the full programme and book a place through the UCLAN website.

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