Keeping It Local

The August Bank Holiday in England and Wales is one of those strange weekends when the holiday is still going strong but School is looming on the horizon. A popular weekend for Heritage Events no matter what the weather. European Heritage Week (heritageweek.ie) is the ideal place for Heritage Societies to showcase themselves and hopefully to gain a few new members.

Local History and Family History interests have been identified as a ‘Grey Moneyspinner’ so we do currently make some rather strange partnerships. In both England and Ireland the main Expos are attached to The Over 50’s Event. I should imagine it to be a rather surreal experience for the Younger Historians but it can be handy for a number of discount vouchers.

Cork Genealogical Society is a regular at The Adult Learning Expo in The City Hall and other local expos. We encourage passers-by to think about recording their family stories for the coming generation (and hopefully to gain a few new members) If you are lucky, you may have people who stay to tell you the reasons why they don’t want to trace their tree. These are great stories told with relish and they are the very ones that the coming generations would enjoy.

Your Local Society may be themed as a Geographical, Historical or Genealogical Society but is usually a blend of the three. This is ideal for Family Historians. Our Ancestors didn’t live in a bubble and we get a broader picture of their life, their work and reasons for leaving the area. The subscription is usually a nominal amount to cover the Society expenses and your regular bulletin.

As a volunteer-led organic organisation, the Local Society is idiosyncratic and reflects the area and the people it serves. Often there will be academic links which have mutual benefit for both the Institution and The Society.

There are Local Societies which cover counties, towns and even streets. Larger societies often have branch groups in other areas and countries so you can make connections with your Society when you live away from the area.

If you’ve moved into a new area, your Local Society is ideal for meeting the neighbours and getting to know the place. Members of the Society will also be researching other locations for their family and will be picking your brains too.

If your family originates elsewhere, it is very useful to join the Local Society for that area too. Even though you won’t make many meetings, the members will be able to advise on researching families and places.

Where to find your Society. The definitive list is on The Federation of Family History Societies for all of Britain and Ireland with further links to international Societies. Check out a similar list for Local History Societies .

Many of them have embraced Social Media and you can find them on Twitter and Facebook. However, many do not have an internet presence so their nearest Library will have information and contact details. But the best place of all to find your Local Society could be in a Community Hall near you.