Researching worldwide

Font Size

London, South England and Wales > Recent Meetings LSEW

Recent Meetings LSEW

  • PDF

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.  

1. 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

1.1. 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!

2. March 2019

2.1. 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.          

3. December 2018

3.1. World War 1 Centenary and Christmas in the Trenches

3.2. 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

4. June 2018

4.1. 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.

5. March 2018

5.1. 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).

6. December 2017

6.1. 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.

7. September 2017

7.1. 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”. 

8. June 2017

8.1. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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. 

11. 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.

12. 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


13. 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 .

14. December 2015

Lesley presented her grandfather's WW1 story, called Jake's War. Based largely on the War Diaries of the 8th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, her grandfather's story is just one of millions of stories of the tedium of the War mixed in with days of extreme terror and mayhem. An emotional tale.

As well, we had a look at the recently released 1939 register of Find My past. Followed by the regular end-of-year shared lunch. Thanks everyone for your contributions.

15. September 2015

Mike gave a presentation showing his DNA quest and journey over the last couple of years. This is an area of research that can bring surprising results for those who are willing to participate. Mike presented his findings and informed us of his surprise discovery of ‘lost’ cousins that have arisen since he submitted his DNA samples. It has opened up a new avenue of research for Mike with various possible outcomes, and has left plenty of food for thought!

16. June 2015

We had two distinct sessions this meeting:

  1. SIG member Frank Hutchison gave a talk called "From Leith to London" and shared his research into two of his ancestors who moved from Bonny Scotland to the metropolis of London. A fascinating tale.
  2. Seamen/mariners discussion. We looked at queries to do with merchant seamen, and particularly examnined in detail a query from a FHWA country member, which was quite difficult, but it allowed us to review where the various records might have ended up. Peter Hamersley gave a comprehensive summary of the whereabouts of various maritime records, and also decoded for us the information that can be found on some individual records in the British Merchant Seamen dataset at www.findmypast.co.uk (available free at FHWA
  3. March 2015

We had a short AGM, where the following were elected: Mike Murray and Lesley Silvester (co-convenors), Peter Hamersley, Karen Tregenza and Frank Hutchison (committee).

Mal Parr then showed us a series of historic photos he gleaned from various sources to tweak our nostalgia for things past. Much discussion from the floor.

17. December 2014

Peter Hamersley led us through the history of the Music Halls, accompanied by a few of the songs of the time (Mike and Lesley did the singing, accompanied by many enthusiasts in the audience). And then we had lunch to celebrate another successful year.

18. September 2014

Peter Godfrey, President of the Rockingham FHS, gave a fascinating talk about the ins and outs of his family research in Kent and London...many lessons to be drawn from the quest, such as persistence, stay sceptical till you've got the 'proof', don't believe everything you read, don't jump to conclusions.

Mike and Lesley talked about the recent 'Unlock the Past' cruise they had been on, round the British Isles in July.

19. June 2014

Two talks this meeting. 

Diana Boxall gave us a lovely talk on the culture and customs of her native Suffolk.  Diana created her own display of various Suffolk items ranging from pottery and cloth to books and maps on her beloved home town of Framlingham.

After this Peter Hamersley gave a presentation entitled “Tracing the Identities of the footballers who represented Great Britain at the 1900 Paris Olympics”.   This research covered various counties such as Dorset, Berkshire, Surrey, London, the Channel Islands and France. 

20. March 2014

AGM - Convenors Mike and Lesley were returned and small committee of Peter Hamersley, Ron Caunce and Karen Tregenza was elected.

Mike and Lesley gave a talk on Family History and Folksong, illustrated by some songs. Some of the audience joined in!

21. December 2013

A great talk by Peter Hamersley on Life and Poverty in the 19th Century East End of London.  This featured Charles Booth’s Poverty Maps of London which can be found at http://booth.lse.ac.uk/.  Also referenced was some data from the Medical Office of Health Reports which can be found at http://wellcomelibrary.org/moh/ .  The presentation was well received and was followed by an interesting Q&A session.


22. September 2013

We looked at a lot of new online resources, discussed the progress of the County Guides, looked at some brick walls, and heard a talk from Mike on Ports of departure from the UK.

pdfPorts_of_departure.pdf3.84 MB

23. June 2013

(meeting held 25 May)

Two interesting talks - Lesley Silvester on early Norfolk records and Peter Hamersley on looking outside the box in researching, called 'Step Forward to go back'. We also looked at the online guides for the various counties that have been done so far.

pdfLondon-SOE minutes June 201350.52 KB

24. March 2013

AGM - Convenors Mike and Lesley were returned and small committee of Peter Hamersley, Ron Caunce and Karen Tregenza was elected. Joan Anderson and Julie Martin gave two very informative talks about relatives and research. 

pdfLondon-SOE minutes March 201348.66 KB

25. December 2012

London photographs - Mal Parr presented a fascinating slide-show of London photos taken over the past 100 years or so. In addition, we developed a plan to create a series of guides to family history for each county in our sphere of interest.

pdfLondon - SOE minutes Dec201276.52 KB

26. September 2012

London pubs and publicans - Mike gave a presentation about the history of breweries, pubs and also looked at resources for finding your ancestors who may have been involved in those occupations. Presentation is attached. We also decided at the meeting to expand our horizons and take over the bottom half of England. We renamed the group 'London and the South of England Special Interest Group'.

pdfLondon pubs presentation1.64 MB

27. June 2012

(meeting held 26 May)

History of London University - Evadne Spickett gave us a fascinating insight into London's prestigious educational institute, and also outlined her own experience as a graduate

28. March 2012

(meeting held 25 Feb)

A short AGM was held. Mike Murray and Lesley Silvester were returned as Co-Convenors and a small committee consisting of Peter Hamersley, Joan Chiles and Ron Caunce was formed.

Then Peter Hamersley gave us an excellent talk on Merchant Seamen, concentrating on his research some years ago into his ancestors' maritime history.

29. December 2011

Another brick wall session. We also discussed the idea of a small committee to help run the group and that was agreed to, subject to ratification at the AGM to be held next meeting. Mike gave a preview of his Top Ten Tips for finding lost ancestors that he will be presenting at the Adelaide Congress in March. Five volunteers offered their lost ancstors for study and we had great fun thinking of ways to progress the search. Then we had lunch to finish off the year. 

30. September 2011

We looked at a lot of London material that's appeared online in recent months, and then Marian Crew gave us a delightful talk on London sugar bakers - most of us did not realise that these were industrial workers in hot sugar houses (80 in London in the 1760s) and the tough conditions that these folk worked under.

31. June 2011

32. (meeting held 18 June)

Lesley presented a paper she prepared for the recent genealogy cruise called 'London ancestors - bringing them to life' which emphasised the use of various documents to understand the social history of our forebears.

33. March 2011

We checked out some London maps online, looked at Boyds inhabitants of London, and listened to a great talk by Ron Caunce on London Police. 

34. December 2010

As well as reviewing some great London websites, we discussed the history of Christmas customs and traditions, especially those with a London connection: cards, crackers, trees, food, etc 

35. September 2010

We had a look at the fascinating history of London burials and now understand a bit more about why it's so hard to find your ancestors' burial records. This copy of the presentation contains links to the websites we looked at.

 pdf London burials presentation  655.44 Kb

36. June 2010 (meeting held 22 May)

Another of our regular brick wall sessions. Even if you don't have a candidate for examination by the group, these meetings are a great opportunity to think of various ways to look for elusive ancestors. And we even managed to solve a couple of old problems!

37. March 2010

Lesley gave us some chilling insights to the fate of those caught up in the great plague in London in 1665. Luckily, our ancestors must have survived (or we wouldn't be here). Bills of Mortality and parish records show what happened to those who died.

38. December 2009 (meeting date 28 November)

 Marian Crew gave us a revealing glimpse of life in the  London Hospital over the centuries, ranging from its beginnings to more recent times when she worked there.

39. September 2009

 Lee Ann Atkinson gave us a fascinating insight into the lives and times of the Thames watermen, lightermen and pilots. 

40. June 2009

 We had another Brick Wall session. Six cases were looked at and some notes made of possible approaches, We've summarised them here for posterity.

pdf  London Group Minutes - Jun 09 70.13 Kb 

41. March 2009

Discussion on the Coming of the Railways and their impact on London and its people. Mike presented a brief overview with some nice illustrations and hints on finding your railway ancestors. Email the convenor if you want a copy of the presentation.

42. December 2008

Discussion on Social History, particularly the use of the Booth Maps and workhouse books. Mike and Lesley presented three case histories showing how much material can be found to flesh out the lives of some of our 19th century London ancestors.

43. September 2008

Presentation on London repositories.  Mike and Lesley reported on their recent visits to The National Archives and the London Metropolitan Archives.

44. June 2008

Meeting focused on bashing down some London Brick Walls.  Members brought along their most difficult cases and the meeting tried to help them by offering up suggestions for further research. Before that we reminded members about Batch Number searching the IGI, and some good search tips for the Census records.

45. March 2008

Special on the London Blitz. A panel of four members, all of whom had lived in London during the Second World War, enthralled us with stories. Thanks to Jane Innes,Terry Dean, Malcolm Ginn and Maurice Burns for allowing us to share their memories and their stories.

46. December 2007

Member Ron Caunce gave a well-researched talk on the Spitalfields Weavers which was inspired by research into his Huguenot ancestors.

47. September 2007

We explored some great websites for London researchers at this meeting

48. June 2007

Co-convenor Lesley Silvester gave an illuminating address  on the topic of London Guilds and Apprentices.

49. March 2007

Member Glyn Marillier gave an enlightening talk and presentation on Non-Conformism in London. 

50. December 2006

Member Wendy Brown gave an illuminating talk on Workhouses which provoked good discussion.

51. August 2006

Member Ann Devereaux gave a great talk about Crimes and Prisons, complete with a wonderfully illustrated handout.

52. May 2006 

Member Shirley Guy presented a series of overheads with lots of examples of various Occupations and ran us through a quiz to test our knowledge of obscure occupations of the past. Most of us failed! 

53. February 2006

Member Maurice Burns dressed appropriately (in his Pearly King jacket) and gave a great presentation on the use of Maps to help your London genealogy research.

54. December 2005

Co-convenor Mike Murray presented a slideshow on London Growth and Changes over time, to help us understand the city's rapid growth and the difficulties facing family historians in the teeming, sprawling 19th century London.

55. October 2005

Inaugural Meeting. We worked out what we wanted out of the Group and how to structure meetings and exchange of information, etc. 

Last Updated on Saturday, 28 August 2021 18:35

You are here London, South England and Wales > Recent Meetings LSEW