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Interest Groups > London, South England and Wales

London, South England and Wales

About the London, South England and Wales Group

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The London, South England and Wales Group  covers all of the southern counties of England (ie those counties which are not included in the North of England SIG)(see map on this page), Plus WALES - added in 2016.

We meet quarterly and keep in contact by e-mail in between meetings. Our goal is to increase our understanding of South England and Wales and its history, to help us with our research - where our ancestors might be found, what they did, how they lived. We have created a series of County Guides as downloadable PDF or DOC documents for each of the English counties we cover (see below). If you are researching in any of these counties we hope you find these guides useful.

We also help each other with queries and problems... we may not be able to solve your problems but we can often come up with ideas to follow up. And we're very sympathetic!

Come along to one of our meetings - you'll be very welcome.

Online resources for Londoners:

In 2009 Ancestry.com released a large number of parish records for London, including images of original baptism and marriage entries, taken from the London Metropolitan Archives. There are four fully searchable databases:

  • Baptisms, marriages and burials (1538-1812)
  • Marriages and Banns (1754-1921)
  • Births and baptisms (1813-1906)
  • Deaths and burials (1813-1980)

For serious London researchers this is a good reason to subscribe to Ancestry, but If you decide not to, book a time on the computer at our May Street Office and have a look! 

Some years ago, for a Lunchtime discussion group, we prepared a one-page guide to online resources for London researchers. It's here if you'd like a copy.

pdfLondon research online - some useful websites61 KB 


Welsh resources

There are extensive parish register records available for most of the Welsh counties at the pay-site www.findmypast.com. If you don't have a subscription, come along to the FHWA research centre (aka the Library) and get on to one of the computers there.

Last Updated on Friday, 29 January 2021 17:14

Contacts & next meeting - LSEW

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LSOE SIG  London South England & Wales Forum

We meet every three months, usually on the third Saturday of March, June, September and December, from 11am to 1pm.  Until further notice, all meetings are held online using Google Meet.  When not online, meetings will be held at FHWA Unit 4/48 May Street, Bayswater.  At each meeting one or two of our members leads a short discussion on a specific topic. As well, we spend time looking at successes, problems and queries. We're a self-help group, aiming to improve our general knowledge about London, the South of England, and all of Wales, as well as solving members' problems. Between 25 and 40 members attend each quarterly meeting.

All FHWA members are welcome to come along to our meetings and join our mailing list. A gold coin donation at the meeting helps to build up funds to purchase additional resources for the library. Maybe we'll see you at one of our meetings soon.


Peter Hamersley            con tel 


Email:                     SIGS Contacts - Convenors - London, South of England and Wales SIG

Next Meeting/s - Have a look at:



Saturday 18 June 2022 11am to 1:30 pm  **ONLINE**

Researching Your London Ancestors

We'll have a look at some of the resources available to help you with your London research


Please book using the "Events" tab for this meeting.



Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 May 2022 13:14

Recent Meetings LSEW

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March 2022

Merchant Navy Crew List 1845-1857 & The Port Rotation Numbers Project

Peter Hamersley gave a presentation introducing us to the Port Rotation Numbers Project which has been created to provide access to crew lists for the period 1845-1857.   

December 2021
17th Century Tokens
Geoff Barber presented a really interesting talk on 17th Century tokens.  Geoff's presentation incuded a look at his own personal collection of these trading tokens, mostly associated with Sussex and Kent.
September 2021
Brick Walls / Help With Your Research
 We held a very informative workshop style session to help members with several research queries. 
June 2021
Old Photos of London
Mal Parr gave us an interesting and entertaining look at old photographs of London.
March 2021
My Ancestor Went to Sea
Peter Hamersley gave a presentation on 19th century UK Merchant Shipping records.  


December 2020 

The Tragic Tale of John Samuel Holloway


Robert Holloway presented a tragic but fascinating family history story based upon his research largely based in 19th Century Kent.  

September 2020
Planning your Family History Trip
Marg Mansfield gave a really useful presentation on how to plan and make the most of your family history trip back to London and the South.
June 2020

London Research & Resources

Peter Hamersley updated us on some of the many resources available for London research complete with case studies and tips and advice.

April 2020

Letters and scribblings from Southwark – a key to the past

Garry Keath gave a fascinating presentation based around family letters from the 19th Century which featured The George Inn and the Borough Market, in Southwark, London.

December 2019
Brick Wall/Help with your Research Session
Mike Murray and Lesley Silvester presented a Brick Wall session and helped several of our members in their quest to break down those elusive barriers we sometimes face. Using expert knowledge and the right resources several good leads were established for the queries put forward. With help also from the floor, we were able to solve some queries and put others on the right track.     
We finished a little early to enjoy our Christmas lunch.  Thanks to everyone who contributed.  

September 2019

 A Brave Royalist Widow in the English Civil War

At the first meeting with our new committee, Peter Hamersley gave a presentation based on his 9x great aunt from the 17thCentury, entitled “Elizabeth Colchester (Hamersley), a brave Royalist Widow in the English Civil War”.  Using timelines the presentation looked at how our ancestors families were affected by the upheaval of the civil war and other events of the 17th Century.  Elizabeth was widowed by the war and had to fight to save her estate from sequestration at the same time as being pregnant and looking after her remaining children.  She went to London and fought the parliament - and won! She was a remarkable woman of her times.    

 June 2019

A Country Vicar

Lesley gave a presentation called 'Nathaniel's Register' about a long-serving 17th cenrtury Vicar of Ludham in Norfolk. Nathaniel Hindle was appointed Vicar in 1675 and served until his death in 1714. Born in Yorkshire and educated in Vambridge, Nathaniel added helpful comments to the entries he made in the Register, giving a rich insight into the social history of the time. Some of Lesley's ancestors' events were recorded by him.

As well we held our AGM and the founding co-convenors of the SIG, Lesley Silvester and Mike Murray, stood down after nearly 14 years at the helm. A new committee was elected consisting of Peter Hamersley and Geoff Barber (Co-convenors), Rachel Roe and Robyn O'Brien (committee members).

Come along to the next meeting and give the new committee your support!

March 2019

Akehurst Wills

Our main presentation was “The Akehurst Wills of East Sussex” given by Geoff Barber.  This was the culmination of over two years of Geoff’s research into records held by various resources such as the East Sussex Record Office, The National Archives, Ancestry, Family Search and the Sussex Family History Group’s Wills Depository Project amongst others.  Geoff demonstrated how he has self-published this work online using the Internet Archive.  Geoff also explained about his research overlapping the subject of One Name Studies.          

December 2018

World War 1 Centenary and Christmas in the Trenches

Cambrai – two families, one battle, no graves

Peter Hamersley presented a moving account about two of his uncles (from both sides of his family) who fought and died in the same battle at Cambrai in 1917. Despite not knowing each other they are memorialised just one panel apart at the Cambrai Memorial

June 2018

Immigration records and passenger lists

Mike went through the different types of passenger lists that you may come across and explained their functions and where you might find them. Mike Keily also gave a first-hand account of passenger-carrying cargo ships in the post-war years; passengers were limited to 12 and there are some lists available.

March 2018

Tithe Maps and Records

After a short AGM where the usual suspects were elected, (and the possibility of a name change for the group was mooted and discarded), Liana gave us a brief run-down of the recent Sydney Congress attended by a couple of dozen folks from WA. 

Geoff Barber then led us through an exploration of Tithe Records in the UK. You can access extensive Tithe records and detailed maps from 1836 using the Genealogist website (available free at the Family History Research Centre - aka the WAGS library).

December 2017

Finding the right man

Peter confessed to an error in one of his research projects and led us through the process of rectifying it...first, what made him think it was wrong (he had nagging doubts), what convinced him to start again, how did he go about finding the right person. Moral – keep checking the evidence; sometimes coincidences are just that!

And Liana gave a talk on her recent visit to Wales where she literally followed in the footsteps of her convict ancestor, including standing in the dock and being locked up in his cell.

September 2017

Wills and Probate

Lesley enlightened us all on this extremely large and sometimes complex topic. In addition to the presentation there was a handout with some explanations and many useful links. We spent some time using the Principal Probate Registry search index and records at https://www.gov.uk/search-will-probate looking for Wills from 1858 to date. We also canvassed for some future presentation ideas and plan the follow ing: Passenger Lists & Migration, Sussex Tithe Maps, Non-Conformist Records, and “Identifying the Right Man”. 

June 2017

Brick Walls Tumble

In a packed session we managed to tackle about eight brick walls brought along by members. Collectively we solved half of them and gave excellent leads to the others.

As well as using the standard websites and various search techniques, we found that a particularly useful feature in this session was being able to access some mother's maiden names in pre-1912 births at the recently improved GRO site.

March 2017

Welsh Naming Patterns

After a short AGM where the usual suspects were re-elected, Mike gave some information about some of the difficulties of doing genealogy in Wales, specifically, the habit of calling Morris Thomas's son Thomas, Thomas Morris. So boys' surnames were based on their father's first names, eg Thomas [son of] Morris. Then Peter Hamersley told us about his successes in reconstructing his Grandfather's fractured family.

December 2016


Member Marian Crew  enlightened us on her research into her Innkeeping ancestors and the various stories she had uncovered.  Marian’s interesting presentation included photographs she had taken herself on recent visits to the London area. 

September 2016

Cornwall - it's easy

Ian Simons gave an interesting talk about the resources that are available for those lucky enough to have Cornish ancestors. We also formally agreed to absorb Wales into our sphere of interest, which made half a dozen members of the group very happy, and the rest mildly interested.

June 2016

Off the Beaten Track

Mike and Lesley had a look at the treasure trove of family history records you can find in old books and other documents through websites like archives.com and familysearch.org

Peter Hamersley explored 'Tracing Living Relatives' -- he used a case study of an unusually named person and led us through freebmd and electoral rolls to build up quite a story on that individual.

And we had our AGM at this meeting. Co-Convenors Mike and Lesley (last time, folks, we won't be nominating next year) and a small committee of Peter Hamersley and Frank Hutchison


March 2016

Our main presentation was given by Frank Hutchison.  It was the story of John Hobden, Janet Hutchison’s direct ancestor, who was transported to Van Diemen’s Land for stealing ten pounds – making him literally a “Ten Pound Pom”!.  Frank presented a lively story that was very well researched and illustrated.  Presentations such as Frank’s are greatly appreciated and always welcome.  Peter then updated members on various records that have been released since the December  meeting.  This was followed by a demonstration entitled “The Power of your State Library Card” where Peter showed members what resources were available for free once a card has been obtained from the State Library at http://slwa.wa.gov.au/ .  In particular we focused on the free resources available from The National Archives (UK) site using the Discovery Catalogue http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ .

To finish, we had a look at how to effectively use the Lost Cousins web site and obtain it’s very informative newsletter on http://www.lostcousins.com .

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 April 2022 21:17


The Counties we cover

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Old PortsmouthWhile the group initially concentrated on the London area, it has extended its reach to include the counties in the southern half of England. The rest of England, i.e. the Northern counties are covered by the North of England Special Interest Group. In 2016, the Group's terriitorial ambitions continued and it quietly absorbed the entire country of Wales. Well, no-one else was interested.

London South England and Wales map

County Guides have been prepared for each of the following English counties as downloadable PDF or DOC documents - the link is shown beside each county name. Check out the ones that interest you.

The English counties of interest to the  group are:

Last Updated on Friday, 31 July 2020 15:21

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