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Past Workshops


Below is a table of past workshops which have been run over the past few years at the Society's library at 80 Summerhouse Drive.

If you have been unable to attend one of these past workshops and would like to see it run again (or something similar), then please contact the Workshop Coordinator via the email link provided below. 


Leave a message at the Society library should you attend in person on a Wednesday, Please include your name and contact details with any requests.

Or send a postal request marked for the attention of the Workshop Coordinator to the Society's library postal address below. Please include your name and contact details with any requests.

NWKFHS Society Library
80 Summerhouse Drive
Joydens Wood Estate

Workshop Coordinator

Workshop Coordinator





1939 Register

The Register can be used as a census substitute but, unlike other census', it is not a snapshot in time but an evolving document which continued to be updated for some years after WW2. We will examine what it contains and discuss any problems you may have encountered when using it.

Christine Hills

Basic DNA

An introduction to those who wish to understand the basics of DNA (DeoxyriboNucleic Acid), and how it can help with your Family History research.

David Cufley

Beginners Family History

This workshop aims to assist in the early stages of Family History research. It will cover birth, marriage and death certificates, census, parish registers, wills, directories and websites.

Fran Rogers

Beginners Guide to Researching Soldiers of WW1

This workshop is aimed at those members wishing to research WW1 Soldiers from records on Ancestry & Find My Past.

Fran Rogers

Beginning Your Family History

Don't know where to start? This workshop is the ideal introduction into discovering your ancestors and developing a family tree.

Janet Rose

Below Stairs & Outdoors: Manorial Court Revelations

Finding out about people's origins, movements, misdemeanours, security and relationships.

Jean Stirk

Breaking down the Brickwall

Members of the Library Team may be able to assist you with your brickwall.

Library Team

Creep, Push and Pull

This workshop concerns the reasons people did not move or did move, and how this helps us follow our families' history.Attendees are required to bring two examples, brief details of one family member who did not move, and of another member of the family that did move. [Just their name's, year born, where living, occupation(s), any moves].

Jean Stirk

Dating Old Photographs - Part 1

The workshop will cover the history of photography and the styles that resulted. Hilary will also explore the clothing, accessories and architecture as clues to dating, as well as how to protect and store both old and new photographs safely. The workshop is designed to help you analyse your pictures and where to look for more information. If you have any 19th century or early 20th century photographs you would be happy to bring for people to view, please let Hilary know when you book. The workshop will cover the history of photography and the styles that resulted. Hilary will also explore the clothing, accessories and architecture as clues to dating, as well as how to protect and store both old and new photographs safely. The workshop is designed to help you analyse your pictures and where to look for more information. If you have any 19th century or early 20th century photographs you would be happy to bring for people to view, please let Hilary know when you book.

Hilary Waters

Dating Old Photographs - Part 2

[Please note, this is only open to those who have previously attended a Part 1 (Theory) workshop]

Each participant will bring in their own chosen photograph and conclusion for group discussion. We will have a general discussion on how we feel about the process and results and encourage everyone to recommend books/websites not mentioned in Part 1.

Hilary Waters

Discovering the History of Your Ancestors House

This workshop gives information on the social and building sources of our 18th, 19th and 20th century ancestor's homes. Using case studies, the aim is to put together documents, maps, plans and pictures of the study houses, which others can use for their own research. The workshop will include three flow charts on sources as handouts and each source will be discussed as required by the participants.

David Cufley

Drawing Charts and Trees by Hand as a Research Tool

This workshop will explain how to draw by hand a Family Group Sheet (FGS) chart to understand the time line and relationships of a family. It will discuss the symbols and abbreviations used on charts and diagrams. gaps on charts and re-occurring data may indicate trends that suggests future research needed. The workshop will also look at other types of chart including 'Drop Charts', 'Total Descent Charts', 'Birth Briefs' and 'Mind Maps'.

David Cufley

Early Census (Pre 1841 Census) & Census -like Lists

The aim of the workshop is to see what ancestor information we can glean from national census 1801 to 1831, and from less obvious sources.

Jean Stirk

Excel - mentoring session

Receive help and advice in using the spreadsheet 'Excel' published by Microsoft. 

David Cufley

Errors, Lies and Other Misinformation

A workshop discussing errors in Official Records and Commercial Search Engines and how to try and spot them. Case studies will be used as part of the discussions. Do you believe what your ancestors told officials and their families? Do you believe what other researchers tell you, how good is their research? Are transcriptions accurate and do the indexes reflect the original documents? Mark Twain said “If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed.” You could apply this to family history documents. This workshop will give you the tools to try to avoid researching someone else’s family as yours.

David Cufley

Family Historian - Introduction

A beginners introduction to Family Historian, a popular Family History computer program for the PC (Windows).

Brian Kirk

Family Historian - Further Exploration

This workshop will benefit existing users who wish to further their knowledge and understanding of the computer program Family Historian.

Topics covered include: More about sources and citations; reports - improving readability (fact sentence modification); timelines; witnesses; introduction to queries; diagrams and charts - exploring options and preparation for printing; introduction to icons on diagrams.

Brian Kirk

Family Tree Maker

An overview and getting started with this computer program.

Allan Stapleton

Finding the Missing

Searching for Ancestors in unexpected places such as hospitals, prisons, workhouses, almshouses, asylums, industrial schools and among apprenticeship, Poor Law and Settlement records.

Jean Stirk

Fluctuating Population Numbers

Why are you here and researching your ancestors? A workshop to discuss diseases, wars, and other factors that caused fluctuations in populations that affects your family research. These events and circumstances may alter how you look at your ancestors and try to understand why they survived to produce you. The recording of these events may not be obvious research documents. Understanding context of each of your ancestors lives may explain 'What', 'Where', 'Why' to add to the 'When' and 'Who'.

David Cufley

Home Children Immigration to Canada

Walter Eves

How to use the Discovery Catalogue on the National Archive Website Effectively

This workshop will guide you through in an easy way, whether you are new to Kew or just looking for more help.

Joyce Hoad


Illegitimacy is a frequent stumbling block when researching your family tree. We shall look at the possible reasons for it, the surviving records and how such children were treated, touching on the poor law, workhouses, orphans, fostering and adoption.

Mari Alderman

In the Name of God Amen - Understanding Wills

After parish registers and the census, wills are probably the most important resource for family historians. However, in order to get the most from your wills you will need to understand how, why and for whom they were written. Examples of wills and the documents generated by the probate system will be examined in order to gain a better understanding of what records are available and what they really mean. Attendees are encouraged to bring along their own examples to share with the group.

Christine Hills

Insights into Occupational Records

An explanation of official occupational records and a guide to less obvious sources. We will look at occupations that require studentship, apprenticeship, local & distant exchanges, a village speciality and summer/winter regular movement. Some occupations have many variations and some records are not job specific but relate to the pattern of work in an area that is well recorded, including the people, in local history records.

Jean Stirk

Heredis - Introduction

An introduction to this Family Tree software which can be purchased to run on PCs (Windows) and Apple MACs.

Richard Flynn

Land Tax and the 1910 Survey

Christine Hills

Lay Subsidies, Poll Tax, Hearth Tax etc, 'E179' at TNA

This underused resource will assist in discovering where your ancestors lived and their status before 1537 when parish registers commenced. Later records will confirm whether they lived in the parish, not just having their children baptised there, and their status, very useful when parish registers are not available.

Joyce Hoad

Less Obvious Sources

Reviewing records such as Tithe, Quarter Sessions, Burgess Rolls, Burials in Woollen. Sources that reveal more details about individuals and their lives.

Jean Stirk

Insurance and Friendly Society Records (Types and Sources of Records)

An insight with examples and illustrations into some types, sources and locations of records which may have impacted personally on the lives or occupation of your ancestors.

Cliff Scottow

Mac (Apple) - course for new users

Introduction for new users.

Allan Stapleton

Marriage, Divorce and Bigamy

In the past, given the chance, most people would have got married rather than live in sin. Understanding the marriage laws of England and Wales over the last 400 years will enable you to understand why and thereby help you to find a missing marriage or even discover why your ancestor married the same person twice. Bring your ancestral marriage problems to the workshop and we can try to solve them together.

Christine Hills

Licensed Thames Watermen and Lightermen

How to trace your Licensed River Thames Watermen and Lightermen ancestors. In addition, unknown history of Doggett's Coat and Badge Wager, plus a close up look of an original Doggett's Badge and Watermen's License. 

Rob Cottrell

Living and Working on the Water

This workshop will cover the way of life whether working on streams and rivers in various capacities, the pattern of such a way of life, and the pattern of life when working on ocean liners or ships that work commercially along our various coasts.

Jean Stirk

Latin for Parish Registers

A hands on workshop in reading parish registers in Latin. No previous knowledge of Latin is needed. The session will include a short PowerPoint presentation covering the vocabulary and simple grammar needed. Hand outs will be supplied. Some reading old handwriting will be included to facilitate reading Latin from copies of original registers. Attendees are encouraged to bring along any documents that they are having difficulty reading or translating. A fun and possibly exhausting workshop! 

Mari Alderman

Mapping Your Family Distributions and Movements

A workshop exploring how your research data can be used to create a map of the counties and parishes where your ancestors have lived and worked. By producing a distribution map, you will have a visual image of their movements, which may help you solving some research queries. The workshop will use timelines, spreadsheets and/or databases to create the information that can be used by hand or software i.e. GENMAP to create the map. Hand drawn maps can use any map as background by marking locations and years of the event.

David Cufley

Maps and Plans for Family Historians

Record offices are full of maps and plans which could show where and in what conditions your ancestors lived and worked. Farms and villages which have been obliterated by later urban development can be rediscovered in conjunction with other documents. Maps can provide a window into the past. Using examples and case studies we will examine what is available, why and for whom they were produced and therefore how they can be of use to you in your research.

Christine Hills

MS Word - use with tables, pictures and graphs

David Cufley

On the Move

Why people moved or had to move, including transportation.

Jean Stirk

Our Library

Have you thought about using the Society's library of over 5500 resources? These include books, micofiche, microfilm and images; but do you know where to find them? Come along and see what we have got that just might break down your 'brick wall' or add'life' to your family history. These resources are not just limited to our area, we have material from many other countries and some overseas areas, as well as NW Kent. Remember, Kent (and Surrey) covered much of south London before the 20th century. Bring queries which need answering and we will do our best to find the source that may give you a new insight into your ancestors.

Library Team

Parish Chest (Part 1)

As the unit of local government for several centuries, the parish generated many records other than parish registers and these were originally kept in a 'Parish Chest'. Where these documents survive they could help you identify your more elusive ancestors and even provide the rare personal details which bring these individuals to life. The topic is explored by examining a selection of documents in class, discovering why they were produced and how they can reveal details of your ancestors and the parish in which they lived.

Christine Hills

Parish Chest (Part 2)

Part 2 of this workshop will concentrate on settlement related documents from the Parish Chest and elsewhere which can be essential if a family is to be traced prior to their arrival in a new area.

Christine Hills

Record Keeping for Family Historians

Why you should have a system to keep track of your research data and advice as to a possible solution to your woes.

David Cufley

Researching Commonwealth Ancestors

Were your ancestors Early Settlers, prisoners sent to Australia, or maybe you are looking for a family member who was sent abroad as a 'Home Child' to one of the Commonwealth countries, or family who emigrated to Australia and New Zealand under the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme known as the 10 pound POMS. This workshop will cover all these areas and many more. Using many free databases along with a large number of records on FindMyPast and Ancestry, tracing family can often be quite simple and if you are lucky you may be able to track down living relatives. The countries covered will be Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Pam Goddard

Researching Your WW1 Ancestor and his/her part in the Conflict

Almost every family in the British Isles was touched in some way by the events of the Great War. To many it meant sorrow and suffering on a previously unimaginable scale. To others it brought the fear that someone close to them was in almost constant danger whether in the trenches, at sea or in the air. A century later it is understandable that we would want to look back and discover, if we can, the part that a family member played during those five years of conflict. Attendees are encouraged to bring along any personal items and all the information they may have already have of their military ancestor to share with the group.

Barry Langridge

Scanning Photographs and Documents for insertion into other Programs

This workshop will show how to scan photographs and documents and decide in what format the picture needs to be in to be accepted by the receiving software, such as MS Word, MS Excel, Family Tree Maker etc.

David Cufley

The Genealogical Proof Standard

What do you know about the Genealogical Proof Standard and how do you use it to ensure the integrity of your research?  These are questions that often face family history researchers.  Ellen will guide you through this minefield.

Ellen Shelly

The Poor and the Abandoned

When, where and how the poor and abandoned survived, and how to find them.

Jean Stirk

Thinking Outside the Box, Mind Maps and Other ........

Looking at what resources are available, collating information and using creative thinking to link items together to track down those elusive ancestors.

David Cufley

Treasures to be Found in Old Wills

Wills are a rich source of information about the finances and properties owned by our ancestors and their family ties. They also contain unexpected hints, or at times, explicit information about the relationships within families, the state of mind of the testator in the last weeks or days of their lives, and the things that were of most value to them at that time. A huge number of wills are available online from sites such as ancestry.co.uk to be ordered from the principal registry and also from the familysearch.org dedicated link at the Society of Genealogists. But you have to be able to read them! This workshop will take a look at some wills, the way they are written, how to develop your skills in reading old handwriting and hopefully show why it is worth making the effort!

Ellen Shelly

Static or Peripatetic?

Following ancestors' movements if they moved about; consider reasons for moving to guide you to relevant records; seeking some less obvious records for those who stayed in one place.

Jean Stirk

Parish Chest (Part 2)

[Please note, this is only open to those who have previously attended a Part 1 workshop]

In Part 2 the workshop will concentrate on settlement related documents from the 'Parish Chest' and elsewhere which can be essential if a family is to be traced prior to their arrival in a new area.

Christine Hills

Using Educational Resources for Researching your Ancestor

A workshop looking at the educational resources available which may provide you with additional information about your ancestor.

Janet Rose & Sheila Elisak

Who are the Travellers?

This workshop will cover the background and history of Travellers and then how to identify them and research them in our family trees. Also looking at the different groups including Irish Travellers and Romanies who are separate ethnic groups.

Carol Mellors

Wills, Probate and Administrations

Christine Hills

 Medieval Records 

Medieval Records and other records after 1485 Pt 1

For useful reference books Click HERE

David Cufley