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Ezine masthead image
Welcome to the January 2015 Edition of the FFHS Ezine                                                         No 51

Society Spotlight: Family History Societies

Could you be a Trustee of FFHS?

Workhouse Connections

Dressmaking and Women’s Light Clothing Trade Board

This Month's Book Giveaways

The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising

Trade Union Records

The Modern Records Centre

The National Co-operative Archive

One –Name Studies: Medical and Healthcare Seminar

Creative Crafts Show

Ezine Survey

Book Reviews

Diary Dates

Advertise with us

Competition Winners

Society Spotlight

A Happy New Year to all of our readers!

Perhaps one of your resolutions this year is to either start your family history research or to try and delve a little deeper into your family’s history.  Joining a family history society can be a great way to help with family history research. The Federation of Family History Societies has over 180 member societies, all helping their own members to research their ancestors in England, Wales and Ireland. Some of the reasons for joining a particular family history society are:

  • If the society operates within travelling distance of where you live or work, you can attend its meetings, meet neighbouring people who share your interests and hear speakers on a variety of relevant subjects. Many societies organise courses and other special events that can further extend your opportunities for learning, contributing and socialising.
  • If you join a society that is local to where your ancestors lived, there are distinct advantages even if the area is far from your own home. An “ancestor-local” society is likely to have members who share your interests in particular families and parishes, providing opportunities to co-operate and tap into local knowledge that is not available elsewhere. Moreover, it can be a good way of discovering local publications and projects that may help in your research.
  • Almost without exception, family history societies offer their members a journal (sometimes with an online delivery option) and also access to the Members Only Area on their website. Members are able to communicate wherever they live, access much of the information that is held by their society and submit articles for its publications.
  • Society membership is a personal way for you to link up with the family history community. It can provide opportunities to “make friends of your relations” and to share your discoveries with people who want to hear about them.

The directory on our website will help you to contact any of our member societies by email or by post. There are separate pages for the country or area which a society represents, and these are sub-divided where appropriate by county, state or province.  Discover what is available near your home and near your ancestors’ homes by visiting the list of our member societies on our website.

Could you be a Trustee of FFHS? FFHS Logo
Are you looking for a new challenge? Do you have time to spare? Do you have skills and expertise you are willing to share? If so, could you be a trustee of the FFHS?

The Board is currently seeking additional trustees and welcomes enquiries particularly from individuals with a specific interest in Communications/IT as well as Publicity/Marketing. The FFHS is managed by a small friendly group of trustees from varied backgrounds with part-time paid administrative assistance. The trustees meet five/six times per year, usually in London or Birmingham and in addition are expected to attend two further meetings one of which is the Annual General Meeting. The trustees are ‘working’ trustees and are expected to take an active ‘hands on’ role within the organisation. Trustees are unpaid but reasonable travel and subsistence expenses are paid where appropriate. It is expected that applicants will have an interest in family history. Deadline for expressions of interest and to request further information by Friday 27 February 2015 to:  David Lambert, Company Secretary, legal@ffhs.org.uk or by post to FFHS Registered Office, 2 Primrose Avenue, Urmston, Manchester M41 OTY.

Workhouse Connections - Friday 27 and Saturday 28 February 2015
Ripon Workhouse1 in 10 people have an ancestor who was in a workhouse. Are you one of them? Whether you already know you have a workhouse connection or are just starting on your family history journey a new two day event at Ripon Workhouse Museum can help you explore your relative's experience wherever they were in the country. On Friday 27 and Saturday 28 February 2015 you will be able to hear from notable experts in both family history research and workhouse history including Peter Higginbotham, Peter Park, Dr Andy Gritt, and Professor Steven King. Get advice on your own research in private sessions, discover new resources you might not have thought of using, and discuss the emotional impact of discovering a workhouse connection. There will also be opportunities to socialise with other family history enthusiasts during buffet lunches on both days and a three course dinner on Friday evening.  The cost is £180 for two full days of activities plus refreshments. Special rates are available with local accommodation providers. See the website or contact kathrynbedford@riponmuseums.co.uk for more information.

Dressmaking and Women’s Light Clothing Trade Board (England & Wales)
The Trade Boards Act of 1909 applied initially to four trades which included the Dressmaking and Women's Light Clothing Trade Board (England & Wales). The Act was passed as a result of 'considerable agitation on behalf of workers who were employed under ‘sweated’ conditions, with a view to providing machinery by which their wages might be raised to a more satisfactory level'.  The amendment to The Act in 1918 greatly extended the scope of the Act and by the end of 1920 over 50 new trade boards had been established covering approximately 32 million persons employed in trades as diverse as coffin making and cerement making to those employed in the making of perambulators and invalid carriages! For those wishing to embark on a career in the branch of the trade for which the Dressmaking and Women’s Light Clothing Trade Board (England & Wales) had been established, an application for a certificate as a learner had to be made. The applicant could choose either to apply to learn in a retail bespoke dressmaking branch of the trade or a wholesale manufacturing branch or any branch of the trade other than retail bespoke dressmaking. The application certificate (Part 1) records the name and address of the applicant, the date of application as well as the name and address of the employer and signature of the employer or authorised agent. The applications were sent to the Dressmaking and Women’s Light Clothing Trade Board (England & Wales) which was based in London.

If you have a copy of such a certificate in your family records or a certificate applicable to other trades it may have prompted you to try and find out more about your family member’s employment and their employer. Archives relating to businesses no longer in existence may have been lodged with the County Record Office. If you have come across such a certificate and it has helped you find out more why not let us know by emailing publicity@ffhs.org.uk and we will publish the most interesting response. More information about the Trade Boards is available here.

This Month's Book Giveaways

Britain's Lost High Streets book cover

'Britain’s Lost High Streets' by Sarah Kendall.

After the pre-Christmas online flurry of spending, tempted perhaps by Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it is hard to remember a time when the British High Street formed an integral part of our villages, towns and cities and was where we did most of our shopping! Drawing on a stunning collection of archive images from all over Britain, the dramatic transformations on our high streets from the days of Queen Victoria to the post war years are explored and showcased in this publication from Amberley Publishing.

We have one copy to giveaway.  To enter this draw, send an email with ‘High Street’ in the subject line to competitions@ffhs.org.uk before 13 February 2015.

'Scrapbook' compiled by Robert Opie founder of the Museum of Brands and published by Museum of From the 1920 ScrapbookBrands.

The series of ten Scrapbooks paint a colourful picture of British popular culture and lifestyle since Victorian times. Each large format scrapbook is packed with over a thousand evocative images of everyday. We have one Scrapbook to give away. The lucky winner will be able to choose from the full Scrapbook series which includes 10 books covering the following subjects: Victorian, Edwardian, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, Wartime, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, Royal.

To enter this draw, send an email with ‘Scrapbook’ in the subject line to competitions@ffhs.org.uk before 13 February 2015.

The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising
If you’re looking for some vintage Sunday entertainment and are in London on a Sunday during January or February why not pop into the Museum where board games can be played for free with the standard entry fee? (Museum is open from 11am-5pm.)  The Museum takes you on a nostalgic trip through 150 years of consumer history including branded advertising, fashions, toys and games. The museum cafe sells a selection of retro sweets, snacks and hot drinks including hot Bovril and Pot Noodle! For further details please visit the website.

Trade Union Records
If your ancestor worked in the retail trade they may well have belonged to ‘The National Union of Shop Assistants, Warehousemen and Clerks', which was formed in 1898 by the amalgamation of the National Union of Shop Assistants and the United Shop Assistants' Union. In 1920 it absorbed the National Association of Grocers. In 1947 The Union was merged with the National Union of Distributive and Allied Workers to form the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) which today is one of Britain’s largest trade unions.

The archive of the National Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers and its predecessors remains at the union's headquarters in Manchester. In the main, the archives hold information of national significance rather than the day to day local union activities of members and reps. It is not possible for members of the public to visit and early records have not been digitised, however, letters of enquiry may be sent to: The Administrative Services Office, USDAW, 188 Wilmslow Road, Fallowfield, Manchester M14 6LJ. Telephone enquiries: 0161 249 2400.  When making an enquiry it is essential to give as much information about an individual as possible and there is no guarantee that a record will be found.

The Modern Records Centre
The Modern Records Centre was founded in October 1973 and is housed at the University of Warwick. Its records have proved increasingly useful to family historians around the globe who are tracing the lives and activities of their ancestors. Although the records in its care are not exactly tailor-made sources for the family historian, and those sources that can be used are few in number (the Centre does not generally take in membership records), nevertheless certain collections can yield useful information. The Centre holds an unrivalled collection of British trade union archives, and these in particular have been used to explore more about the working lives of various individuals. If you are looking for an ancestor, refer to the research guide, ‘Are you looking for an ancestor?’ which can be found here.

Findmypast.co.uk have  a collection of over three million British trade union records from the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick, including digitised images of the original record books from nine unions. To find out more about this collection, please visit the website.

The National Co-operative Archive
The National Co-operative Archive holds over 50,000 photographs that show all aspects of the co-operative Dalton in Furness Co-opmovement from old Co-op shops to member activities. Some of the most interesting show people working in the CWS (Co-operative Wholesale Society). The CWS had factories all over the country that manufactured goods to be sold in the Co-op shops. The photographs give a fascinating insight into the types of jobs people used to do from testing eggs to putting bristles on brushes!  If you or any of your ancestors worked for the CWS in one of its factories, you may be interested to see if the archive has any photographs that may be of interest. The Archive is housed within the Co-operative College premises in central Manchester. It is open to the public by appointment only Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm, with the exception of Bank Holidays. For further information about the National Co-operative Archive please visit the website.

One –Name Studies: Medical and Healthcare Seminar
Guild of One-Name studies logoThe Guild of One-Name Studies is holding a seminar in London on Saturday 7 February 2015. The seminar will investigate many aspects of records about medical matters, medical professionals and institutions such as hospitals and asylums. Open to Guild members, family historians or anyone with an interest in the topic. Bookings close on 25 January 2015. For further information please visit the website.

Creative Crafts Show
If you are a keen hobbyist and crafter perhaps you are planning a visit to The Creative Craft Show which isCreative Craft Show logo being held at Five Lakes Crowne Plaza Resort near Colchester
12-14 February, 2015. You'll find all the latest crafts and hobbies and all the materials and supplies you'll ever need; plus there'll be workshops, Make & Takes and free demonstrations to enjoy.

The FFHS will be represented at the show. Representatives from local societies will be happy to assist you with your family history enquiries and tell you about the benefits of belonging to a family history society. Please stop by our stand (E14) and say hello! For show opening times and a list of exhibitors please visit the website.

Ezine Survey
Thank you to all our readers who took the time to complete the survey in the special Christmas Edition Ezine, your opinions are important to us. The lucky winner of the FlipPal mobile scanner was Sue Steel. For a full list of the winners of our Christmas giveaways please visit our website.


The FFHS Ezine has a current readership of approximately 14,000 worldwide. To discuss sponsorship or advertising, please email the Ezine Editor

Book Reviews

To read reviews of recently published books of interest to family historians

visit our Book Review Page

Ezine Competitions and Winners

All competitions are subject to our Terms & Conditions as published on our website

A full list of Ezine competition winners can be seen on the FFHS website

view competition winners

Diary Dates

For a list of events visit our Events Page on our website and GENEVA

The Bracknell Family History Fair, Bracknell, 25 January 2015
The Merseyside & Cheshire Family History Fair, Port Sunlight, 8 March 2015