Who Do You Think You Are? Live – Day 1


Bayley Street near Bedford Square behind the British Museum

I have arrived in London and trying to acclimatise to single digit temperatures after leaving Melbourne early in the week on a 36 degrees day, with local bush fires spotting on the northern rural outskirts.

What a contrast, but I am happily immersing myself in this very historic city, of which you are reminded at every turn.

Today I arrived early at Olympia (Kensington) London after a 10 minute walk from the Underground Station at Barons Court.  Who Do You Think You Are Live is located in the historic section of the building which is 125 years old in 2013.

Described as the World’s biggest family history event, this is the seventh time it has been held and follows the success of the BBC series currently producing its tenth series.

While waiting in snow flurries for the door to open I was soon handed a number of flyers promoting websites and businesses of interest to family history researchers.  While I did do a quick tour of part of the exhibitor stands, I spent most of today attending a number of workshops sponsored by the Society of Genealogists, after checking with the ticket counter to see what seats remained as I could only book two for day one when registering for the event online back in November.

These included:

The National Archives – born overseas but still fighting for the Home: British soldiers from overseas with William Spencer

William examined why soldiers might join the army the army in the first place, including family tradition, a means of employment and volunteering in time of war.  Key sources held at The National Archives including service returns, muster and pay lists, passenger lists and published sources such as newspapers. William also outlined other search routes and pitfalls to be aware of when searching some sites, especially the pay for view.

Tracing Your London Ancestors with Michael Gandy was a full house in the Celebrity theatre. I can understand why too as he is a very confident and dynamic speaker. Michael recommends that  a researcher look for all their UK family in London as they very well could have been there at some stage. Records such as court reports and newspapers are now readily accessible resources to find your ancestors in London.

Family History Before 1837 Registers & other Church Records with Else Churchill. Else of the Society of Genealogists reminded us that prior to civil registration Parish records are a good source of information relating to baptisms, marriages and burials.  She also suggested a number of resources to access parish records including GENUKI 

Tracing your Ancestors through Death records with Celia Heritage.  Celia released her new book at the Show .  She reminded us to examine the details of death certificates (and the fact that we need to be purchasing them in the first place).  Death certificates are a springboard to other information about your ancestor.

War Memorials, Local and Family History with Kate Tiller was an interesting talk on a project which has culminated in a recent publication “Remembrance and community, war memorials and local history”

Wills and How to find then with Gillian Stevens & Chad Hanna was part of the “L” plate or series of lectures for learners and concentrated on what wills and probates are and where to access copies.

Grave Monuments – the Cinderella Family History Resource with Charles Sale outlined Charles passion for preserving gravestones and his volunteer project Gravestonephotos

In addition I attended a workshop offered by Ancestry in their Academy set up describing Parish Records. Some Parish records can be found on their website including Warwickshire, Yorkshire, Lancashire, London and Dorset.  Parish records are crucial local records to access before the census.

It was a pretty full day and I managed to pick up the free goody bag from Who Do You Think  You Are magazine on the way out – although surprised that there is not an actual mag included!

Please remember to follow me on Twitter @Infolass although I do appreciate that live tweeting is not that beneficial to Australian friends so I will also try to schedule additional tweets to bufferfor Aussie day light hours.  You may also like to search the #WDYTYALive hashtag for other tweets at the event.


Exhibitor Stands. Exhibitors range from family history societies to genealogy publishers, online record holders to military archives.


About infolass

Local and Family History Librarian, Yarra Plenty Regional Library, Melbourne, Australia
This entry was posted in London, Margery C Ramsay Scholarship and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Who Do You Think You Are? Live – Day 1

  1. Looking forward to your further instalments …

  2. Shauna Hicks says:

    Thanks Liz for the update. Have a great time and safe trip. I’m jealous!

  3. Edith says:

    “It was a pretty full day…” Liz, it sounds exhausting! Good on you and thanks for all these tips!

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