Monday, June 27, 2011

2011 SAFHS Conference Report

Hello All -

As I had mentioned in a previous post, I attended the 2011 SAFHS Conference in Edinburgh on Saturday.  I was mainly there in a more official capacity in that I was helping to man the ASGRA stand most of the afternoon.  However, I did go in the morning to get a chance to see all the vendors and all the goings on beforehand. 

This was my first conference to attend, so I can't really compare it to previous ones.  However, I had been told by some folks that it was a larger crowd than last year.  The vendors were on three floors, and the talks were given on the basement level of the Adam House where the conference was held.  I didn't get a chance to listen to any of the speakers, but no doubt that they would have been interesting, and have heard that many people did enjoy them. 

One of the things about going to a SAFHS Conference is that it is not in the same place every year.  I think last year it was in Livingstone and then this coming year it is to be in Dundee.  The various family history societies host each year's conference.  It is a pretty good idea to do things this way as it doesn't get boring being in the same place time after time.  Also, it gives the hosting society a chance to "show-off" a bit as host.

The thing that I enjoy most is patrolling the vendors for new books to buy.  I wouldn't be a good genealogist if I didn't.  And, this conference didn't fail.  I was able to land my hands on the very hot off the press book by Andrew Nicoll called "Scottish Catholic Family History: A family historian's guide to Catholic Parish Registers and Cemetery Reords for Scotland and the Bishopric of the Forces."  I know it is a long title, but what a great book.  I have had a quick look at it and it is a very excellent book to own.  It not only gives a listing of the parishes and years of their records, but also explains the documents themselves, called "Understanding the Records."  It is not a bad price for it either at £10.00.  For me, and I know of other colleagues that have bought the book during the conference, this book is a definite one to have on the shelf.

Another great thing about the conference is that it is a chance to catch up with friends and colleagues.  Genealogy can be a bit of a solitary experience, but it is events such as this that everyone can have a good talk and a laugh as well as talking about things in the industry.  It is a great chance to meet all sorts of folks.  I think genealogists are perhaps some of the most friendliest people about.  But, I suppose I am biased.

Until Next Time ....

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

SAFHS 2011 Conference This Saturday - Be There or Be Square. . .

Hello All:

It is time once again for the annual SAFHS Conference.  This year the SGS is hosting the event in Edinburgh.  The conference will be held this Saturday, 25th June from 9:30 am - 4:30 pm at Adam
House, 3 Chambers Street, Edinburgh.  It is in downtown Edinburgh so you might think that the parking will be a nightmare.  But, according to the conference website at,  parking can be found at the following locations:

"Where to park for the SAFHS Conference -

Edinburgh Parking is a site that has details of carparks, parking and charges.

The nearest car parks to Adam House, Chambers Street are carpark 3, 9 and carpark 13.

Carpark 3 is in Blackfriars Street which connects the Cowgate to the High street and is one way.

Carpark 9 is in the Travel Lodge Hotel in St Mary's Street but has only 21 spaces.

Carpark 13 is accessed from Viewcraig Gardens just off Holyrood Road and has 297 spaces.

The easiest way to access all three carparks from Chambers Street is to go to the east end of the street and straight across into Infirmary Street and down to the Cowgate.

On street parking restrictions are in operation in Chambers Street Monday - Saturday 08.30 - 18.30.

Parking charges are £2 per hour up to a maximum of 4 hours.

On street parking restrictions will stop at 18.30 on Friday.

The nearest free on street parking on Saturday is located in roads to the east of the Pleasance and to the south of the Meadows."

Of course your best option is, in my opinion, taking the train into Waverley Station in Edinburgh is your best bet.  It is not far of a walk to the conference.  The website should have a map of the location, but you can also use good old Google Maps as well to find how to get the conference facility. 

There will also be offered 3 FREE lunch time talks with Q & A sessions.  Please view the conference website for more details.  As for the main conference itself, the speakers and topics are thus:


08.30 Registration
09.30 Book Stalls Open
09.45 Welcome & Opening Ceremony
10.00 CITY - Richard Hunter - "Edinburgh its Archives and Inhabitants"
11.00 CHURCH - Dr Tristram Clarke - "Scottish Episcopal Church Records".
12.00 Lunch
14.00 CHURCH - Andrew Nicoll - "Roman Catholic Archives"
15.00 CENSUS - Duncan MacNiven, GROS - "The 1911 Census".
16.00 Raffle Draw & Closing Speeches
16.30 Close of Conference & Stalls

As for myself, I will be there, but in a more official capacity.  I will be helping the man the ASGRA stand throughout the day.  Hope to see as many people at the conference as possible.  The ASGRA stand will be on hand to help those who have questions about their research (stuck or just need some advice on where to go next, help from professional researchers, etc.), or just wanting to get started.  We are a nice bunch and won't bite, so don't be shy about coming over to talk.
It looks to be a very interesting day of genealogy, more specifically Scottish genealogy.  There isn't very many Scottish genealogy events held, so usually the SAFHS conferences are one of the bigger ones to attend.  I can't say that it will be anything as big like WDYTYA in London, but the SAFHS conference is Scottish specific and focused, which is a rarity. 
Hope to see as many folks as possible be able to make it on Saturday.  It should be a good day out for anyone.
Until Next Time . . .