Sunday, 14 September 2008

The National Family History Fair at Gateshead - report

Well I'm back from Gateshead, and the National Family History Fair, and I am aching all over, but haven't had so much fun in ages. The event is run by Bob Blatchford, who produces the annual Family and Local History Handbook, and I went down to help him and his team, including his wife Liz and son Charlie, as well as Maurice, Sue, David, Martin and others. We spent Friday setting up inside the stadium, had a great meal that evening, and then got well and truly stuck in for a great day from early on Saturday morning.

Find my Past helping the genealogical masses

Sue Taylor on the enquiry desk

The hall was packed with some of the great and the good, including S&N Genealogy Supplies, FindmyPast, Ancestry, Your Family Tree, ABM Publishing, Family History Monthly, Family History Partnership, and others, and unlike WDYTYA Live, there was also some serious Scottish presence, including the Aberdeen and NE Scotland FHS, Glasgow and West of Scotland FHS, the Scottish Association of Family History Societies, the Scottish Genealogy Society, Scotland's People and the University of Strathclyde.

Sue Barbour, Sheila Edgar and yours truly - we've
just passed our Strathclyde postgraduate courses!

The stall

The show was sponsored by S&N Genealogy Supplies, and the company's MD Nigel Bayley gave two talks, with other speakers also including Ian Hartas, Amanda Bevan, Sarah Paterson, William Roulston, Doreen Hopwood and Kevin Connelly.

Ken Nisbet on the Scottish Genealogy Society stand

As well as catching up with many people I had spoken to at WDYTYA Live, I also spoke to some of the smaller vendors. There's an interesting new website on mining being launched soon, for the north east of England, but which will have some limited overlap with the Borders region of Scotland. Called NEEMARC (North East of England Mining Archive and Resource Centre), and produced by the University of Sutherland, the website is currently under construction at , but may well be a useful parallel for the Scottish Mining Villages website at , so worth keeping an eye on, particularly if you have connections to mining in the north of England. The Family History Partnership are another name to watch out for, publishing new and interesting family history books like demons possesed, with over eighty titles already since their creation last year!

Holding the fort for ABM Publishing's Family
Tree Magazine - editor Helen Tovey

At one point I also spoke to a vendor who sold old postcards, and was shocked to learn that much or her collection had recently been stolen by a rival vendor who had attempted to flog the lot on eBay. Fortunately the buyer had alerted the police and the thief was caught, the goods returned, and the thief is now being prosecuted. But it surprised me to think that there is a criminal underworld in the world of postcards! Fortunately the good guys won the day here...!

Glasgow and West of Scotland FHS - I don't know what the tartan is!

I also managed to meet some new faces - Annabel who has just taken over publicity at Ancestry, Sue Barbour who is working on a theatre archive project with the British Library, the North East War Memorials Trust team, the UKBMD team, many new faces from the SoG and others.

Editor Russell James on the Your Family Tree stand

"I swear this thing also sells coffee...!"
The Scotland's People stall.

Bargains galore at the National Family History Fair

A huge thanks to Bob and the team for allowing me to help out, it was a lot of fun, and I'm already signed up for next year! See ye there!


Scotland's Greatest Story

Professional family history research & genealogical problem solving

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