Family History Events 2019

2019 is a busy year for Family History events in the UK as a quick look at the calendar of events, available on will testify. And not everything is on the list! Events range from local society meetings, escorted walks, conferences and study days, larger one day shows and even larger 2 or 3 day events. So if you are planning an event, its a good idea to check the calendar before selecting a date, and its a good idea for organisers to get their event listed too. It is impossible for anyone to attend every event of course but for the family historian, there are plenty of opportunities to pursue their interest each year.

2019 has seen three new events join the calendar, FamilyTreeLive in April held at Alexandra Palace London, THE Genealogy Show held at the NEC Birmingham in June and RootsTech which will be happening in October at ExCeL London. Each event is unique in itself, and having attended RootsTech in Salt Lake City on three occasions, it will be interesting to see how the format translates to the UK. I can’t comment on the FamilyTreeLive event as I was attending a genealogical conference in Edmonton in Alberta Canada where I was a speaker at the same time. I also presented at THE Genealogy Show in Birmingham and will be speaking at RootsTech in London, where I am also be an Ambassador.

In the coming weeks I will be writing more about RootsTech London in my capacity as Ambassador, but at this stage will just say that, in my opinion, anyone with an interest in family history should include RootsTech on their “bucket list” to experience the difference between that event and the types of events we are accustomed to, and by bringing the event to London, the organisers are making the event more accessible for European family historians.

Finally, I want to congratulate the team behind organising THE Genealogy Show. Starting with a conversation on an aeroplane in March on the return from RootsTech 2018, to put on such a high quality event in such a short time, is nothing short of an amazing achievement. The show attracted top flight international speakers, many speaking in the UK for the first time. There was an exhibition area with more than 70 exhibitors and it was good to see a great turn out of many of the country’s Family History Societies. The lecture theatres were enclosed, making it easier for both speakers and audience members alike as the noise from the main hall did not distract. It also meant that only those who had bought a ticket heard the talk, keeping the “cheeky peekers” at bay!

The venue was accessible for attendees with mobility needs, and there were plenty of places for attendees to sit down to rest their feet. The organisers have already announced dates for 2020 – 26 and 27th June, so pop the date in your diary now.


Reflections on RootsTech 2018

A rather belated round up of RoosTech 2018, but the reason will become clear!

Although RootsTech 2018 was my third experience as an attendee, this was the first year I attended as an Ambassador.  I was delighted to be invited to be an Ambassador and receive the benefits awarded to the Ambassadors. These included the opportunity to be able to give a free admission to a lucky attendee, who came along and said hello to me, to receive advance notice of events and press releases in addition to having access to speakers in the Media Hub. The Media Hub provided a dedicated space where I could work, meet my fellow ambassadors, make some new friends and meet face to face some of the people I follow on Twitter.

You may have heard about the App which enabled cousins attending RoosTech to connect. By adding your family tree to the Family Search website, the data was crunched and up came a list of attendees to whom you were related. This was very popular with attendees and many conversations were stimulated between delegates who were able to meet. I do not keep my family tree on FamilySearch but having recently started to work on my DNA results I had managed to identify a link to my great x 3 grandparents. I decided to put a small branch of my tree onto FamilySearch and within a few hours, the App identified 21 cousins attending the event – all 4th cousins of 4th cousin once removed, and I had great pleasure in meeting two of the attendees too.

The whole event went past in a bit of a whirl, talks to attend, people to meet and of course helping the exhibition stand for the University of Dundee, with whom I am currently studying. There were some amazing keynote speakers. I must admit some of the names were unfamiliar to me but I enjoyed them all and one in particular, by Olympic Gold Medallist Scott Hamilton, was particularly moving on many levels. You can see the keynote speakers by following the link

I also made my speaking debut in the USA, being part of a 3 woman panel which included Kirsty Gray of Family Wise Ltd and Dr Patricia Whatley from University of Dundee. Family Wise was a Bronze Sponsor at RootsTech. The talk, or class as they like to describe them at RootsTech, discussed using Parish Chest Records in England and Scottish Poor Law records and Kirk Records of Scotland to trace ancestors. The class stimulated a lively question and answer session and subsequently several people stopped by our respective exhibition areas to continue their questions.

People resident in the UK frequently ask me if RootsTech is worth attending. Yes, it’s a big expense for travel, accommodation and food, but anyone who is serious about their family history really should have RootsTech on their Genealogical Bucket List.

The trouble with an eleven hour flight is when your travelling companion says something along the lines of “we really need to try and have an event to replace WhoDoYouThinkYouAre Live?” and you spend the remainder of the flight starting to plan it….

Do come and see us at

in Birmingham in 2019 and you can follow us on Twitter @THEGenShow2019

A Belated Thursday Rootstech Report Part One

You may have wondered what happened to my promised blogs from RootsTech 2018, well a few “gremlins” got in my way, so here is my summary of my experiences of Thursday.

20180301_084430 (2)

An inspiring talk by Brandon Stanton  kicked off Thursday’s proceedings. In all honesty, I had never heard of this remarkable man or of his blog Humans of New York but his keynote speech was both inspiring and moving and I will be joining his followers on Facebook.

After dropping out of college and a not having any focus or purpose in his life for a period, eventually he returned to education, obtained his degree, found a job. This gave him the status, money and material possessions which many crave.  However, life had an unpleasant surprise in store and like so many others at the time, when the recession struck, he lost his job. Again, the time had come for him to rethink his life.

Having always been a keen photographer, he eventually decided that he wanted to try and do something with his passion and he took his dream and made it a reality. He did not wait for the perfect idea to come along, by a process of trial and error it finally evolved into the successful career he now has.

In itself, that is not such a remarkable story, many people have taken their dream and turned it into reality, but what resonated so strongly for me personally, was how he realised the need for each of us to take time to listen to what other people needed to say. REALLY listen. Not to think about life in terms of me and my own status in life. During my own working life prior to my retirement, I spent almost 30 years working in the voluntary sector. My work involved talking to and listening to, people who were facing some sort of problems or crises in their lives. Often by being able to talk to a complete stranger, the problem became more manageable for that troubled individual and by suggesting what options might be available- the individual concerned was empowered to take back control of their problem.

Listening, really listening to our fellow man, showing concern, makes a real difference.

RootsTech 2018 – Ready for the Off


The genealogy community is gathering in Salt Lake City for the start of RootsTech2018, and I am delighted to be an Ambassador this year. I will be writing more blogs, tweeting and keeping my followers in the UK and around the world with events.

Some statistics from RootsTech:

More than 14,000 advance ticket sales.

380 Computers installed, over 8000 feet of network cable.

182 plug strips.

197 exhibitors, with 50 new companies exhibiting for the first time and 65 companies having exhibited for 4 consecutive years.

There are 300 classes available for delegates and a number of these are being streamed live, as are the Keynote speeches. You can see the schedule by following the link:

Although classes have started already, the first keynote speech is at 4.30 today when Steve Redwood, the CEO of Family Search International will be taking to the stage, and the all new Innovation Showcase will be introduced .

Keep an eye on my Twitter feed @historylady2013 for updates.

And the Winner Is…..

Resized_20171117_144910_9978 (2)


For the past few weeks, I have been receiving entries to my competition to win a 4day RootsTech Pass.  Entrants had to guess the distance I will be travelling in order to get to Salt Lake City in February and today I am pleased to announce the winner is Michael Hunsaker, who guessed the distance would be 5658 miles. The actual distance will be 5675.47 miles. I am looking forward to meeting Michael in person next year and to be able to congratulate him in person.

I am sure he will enjoy both the event and the opportunities a trip to Salt Lake City affords family historians and to look around the fascinating city itself.


20170212_105913_001 (2)

In another exciting development, another RootsTech competition has been announced this week: The RootsTech Photo + Story Competition. Prizes are a Canon Camera, a Canon Pixma wireless printer and two Dell laptops. Entries are encouraged from around the world, so no excuse for not rummaging in your photo albums to find something which tells the story that lies behind the photo.

You can find more details about the competition, the prizes and how to enter here:

Good Luck Everyone.

Ghosts Ghouls Witches Warlocks and things that go bump in the night!

It’s that time of year when all the ghosts, ghouls withches warlocks and things that go “Bump in the Night”  are out and about, perhaps along with a few monsters, bats and spiders thrown into the mix to frighten the neighbours and play Trick Or Treat.

Trick or Treat is a relative new comer to the British customs which surround Halloween. Or more correctly the evening before All Hallows Day. Growing up in the north of England in the shadow of Pendle Hill, I was very familiar with the true story of the Lancashire Witches. Their story has been written about by authors including Harrison Ainsworth and Jeanette Winterton to name just two. A group of predominantly poor women (described as old crones) and men were accused, tortured and tried before being hung at Lancaster Castle. One was tried at York. What was unusual is that a more middle-class woman was also accused and suffered the same fate. It is a truly horrific story which occurred at the time people were very scared of the idea of witchcraft and plots to assassinate the King. No doubt some of it was connected to the threat felt by the ruling classes about the risk of Catholicism once again becoming the official religion. Lancashire was something of a hot bed of recusants.

You can read more about the Lancashire Witches here: Dr Jessica Nelson from The National Archives also writes about the Pendle Witches in this news story from the BBC website

As children we would dress up, making our own costumes and have parties, where we would bob for apples but no tricking or treating. Of course, Halloween comes a few days before November 5th which is celebrated in the UK by bonfires and fireworks. I expect many of those watching firework displays will have forgotten the roots of “Bonfire Night”, which of course, commemorated the failure of the plot by the Catholics to blow up Parliament. In the north, the 5th of November was the night when at least some folk got up to no good, playing practical jokes on the night which was called Mischief Night.

So in keeping with the thoughts of Halloween traditions, I thought I would have a look to see how many Ghosts, Ghouls, Witches, Warlocks, Bats, Spiders and Monsters surnames I could find in some of the on line genealogical websites, and there are quite a few to be found on the sites I checked out: Family Search, Ancestry, FindMyPast and ScotlandsPeople. I even found several Frankensteins. So go and have a look at the genealogical connection of things that “Go Bump in the Night” 😉

RootsTech 2018 Competition Time

RootsTech 2018 Competition Time

As you may be aware, I am a RootsTech 2018 Ambassador and one of the benefits of being an Ambassador is not only that I have free admission to the event, but also that I am able to offer another ticket to one of my followers. So it’s competition time, you can win a 4 day pass to RootsTech 2018, worth $279. The winner will be responsible for all other expenses incurred in attending the event.

The ticket gives access to the following:

  • Over 300 classes
  • Keynote/General sessions
  • RootsTech classes
  • Innovation Showcase
  • Expo hall
  • Evening events


Should the winner already have booked and paid for their ticket , a full refund will be available and instructions will be provided when the winner is notified.

You can visit the RootsTech website to see details of the class schedule at

Scott Hamilton, the Gold medal winning ice skater is one of the Keynote Speakers and you can read more about him here:

So, now to the competition.

Can you guess how far I will have to travel (one way) to get from my home in England to Salt Lake City? I will give you a couple of clues – I am not travelling by a direct flight and I also have to make a train journey between my home and London Heathrow Airport.

You can answer either in miles or kilometres and the person with the nearest correct answer will be the winner. In the event of a tie, the names will be drawn from a hat.

Closing date for entry is 15th November 2017 and the prize must be claimed before 30th November.

Send your entry to

Only one entry each is allowed and my decision is final.