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Alexandra Palace, London

17th - 18th APRIL 2020


Lecture Timetable


Drawn from worldwide family history experts, the Family Tree Live lecture programme is packed with topics to inspire and entertain you, whatever your level of family history know-how. Each lecture will last 30 minutes, with up to 5 mins for questions afterwards.

  • Browse the listings below
  • To book your Family Tree Live ticket please click here

Booking now closed, please enquire about availability at the show

One of our lecture halls will be dedicated to teaching you more about using your DNA results, and how DNA can aid your research. Then there are 3 more lecture theatres, from which you can choose the subect(s) that interest you most. 

Family Tree Live lectures will be held in four theatres: The Society of Genealogists’ lecture theatre, The My Heritage lecture theatre, The Federation of Family History Societies lecture theatre, and The FamilyTreeDNA Hub lecture theatre.

Note: There will also be workshops at Family Tree Live. To browse the workshop programme please click here.


DNA Lectures


Friday 26th April
Saturday 27th April


Katherine Borges

To DNA or not to DNA that is the question?

Laura House

DNA for beginners - the three tests


Donna Rutherford

Making the most of your autosomal DNA test

Michelle Leonard

Making the most of your autosomal DNA test


John Cleary

Making the most of your Y-DNA test

Graham Holton

An introduction to Y-DNA SNPs and SNP testing


Mark Jobling, University of Leicester

Y-DNA and citizen science

Tom Booth, Natural History Museum

Cheddar Man and the origins of the British


Julia Bell 

A DNA detective story: The bush baby

Jonny Perl

Introducing DNA painter


Maurice Gleeson

Finding long lost family with DNA

Debbie Kennett

Ethnicity percentages demystified


Panel discussion

The ethics of DNA testing





Friday 26th April Lectures


SoG Theatre
MyHeritage Theatre
FFHS Theatre
10.00 Amelia Bennett Dr Donald W Davis Claire Moores
  What did they do? Seeing the UK Census with new eyes The art of criminal conversation: divorce records, where you can find them and what they can tell you

Occupational sources at the library of the Society of Genealogists and elsewhere. From apprenticeships to patent holders; rope makers to rat catchers – the records relating to our ancestors’ professions, trades and occupations add to the family story. 

Context is key to interpreting records. An exploration of the previously undiscovered Householders' Schedules reveals enumerator eccentricities. Who recorded your ancestors' vitals?

A delve into some original records of marital unrest over the centuries, and the differing experiences of men and women during these sometimes turbulent and emotional times.

10.45 Prof Robert Bickers Dr Bruce Durie Mary Evans

China Families: researching ancestors in China’s foreign communities

Scottish heraldry for the genealogist – what, where and why? Chasing those brickwalls!

Professor Robert Bickers is a writer and historian at Bristol University. 

Heraldry is often dismissed as a mediaeval hangover, and only for the noble and landed. In Scotland, it is for everyone, and a great genealogical resource.

11.30 Dr N Hunt and Dr L Allwork Durie, Barrett, Horowitz Keith Gregson
  Shell shock stories and beyond: trauma and the First World War Panel:The future of family history All at sea – researching master mariners, shipbuilders, ship-owners and shipbrokers

How do historians research the lives of First World War shell shocked soldiers? How do memoirs show evidence of trauma? Discover more at this talk.


Learn how it is possible to understand the life of ancestors in the merchant marine and maritime life by seeing how the ‘system’ worked as sail moved to steam. 

12.15 Marian Burk Wood Panel continued Adrian Stone
  #Genealogy and #familyhistory: How to use social media for genealogy Panel:The future of family history Tracing your Windrush Roots and Beyond

Are you using Twitter, Facebook, blogs and hashtags for genealogy? Lurk and learn or post questions and comments to jumpstart your knowledge and research.


Follow the family tree journey of experienced genealogist Adrian Stone, and learn about the key sources he used to trace more than 6,000 ancestors over 250 years from Bristol, Jamaica, Scotland and ultimately to an African Woman named Ebo Venus who came to Kellits Slave plantation in Jamaica in the late 1700s from Nigeria.

13.00 Ian Waller Daniel Horowitz Peter Christian
  Ellis Island - Isle of Hope from Annie Moore and Afterwards DNA Matching technology – a new frontier in genealogy Online sources for property and taxation

The value of the records of the Ellis Island Immigration Centre and what happened to the immigrants, through the eyes of the first person admitted, Annie Moore.

Hear how MyHeritage integrated its powerful DNA Matching technology into its family history offerings by looking at a selection of exciting case studies.

A look at the wide variety of records available online for ownership or occupation of land or a house.

13.45 Diane Lindsay Graham Holton Michael Tobias
  Telling your family story in column inches Not in ScotlandsPeople so where could they be? Researching your Jewish ancestors

Anecdotes, memories, probabilities and the vanished truth: ways into writing your family stories in easy bites, without sending your disenchanted family to sleep.

A look at other sources of birth, baptism, marriage, death and burial records not found on ScotlandsPeople.

How to trace your Jewish branches in the UK and Europe.  Sources and techniques will be discussed as well as some of the difficulties encountered.

14.30 Else Churchill Eric D Probert Janet Few
  "In this my last will and testament" Adoption in England and Wales Early 20th century family history: some sources for tracing English families

The remarkable probate collections for all of the UK and Ireland held at the Society of Genealogists' library provide an unrivalled one stop resource for anyone wishing to use wills and related documents to enlighten their family tree.

An illustrated explanation with examples of adoption and surviving records together with a discussion on the procedures necessary to identify birth parents and adopted children.

15.15 Audrey Collins Tahitia McCabe Richard Morgan
  Birth, marriage and death records in England and Wales British geographic resources: An Introduction Records of the British in India

Essential facts about birth, marriage and death records; where to find them, what they contain, and how to make the most effective use of them.

Maps and other geographic resources help genealogists understand how and where our ancestors lived. This session introduces these sources, many of which are free online.

The British were in India from 1600 to 1947. During that time they left extensive records many of which are freely available.

16.00 Katy Barbier-Greenland   Susan Snell
  Inheriting the unexpected - dealing with unforeseen family secret discoveries arising from genealogical research   Family History Resources at the Museum of Freemasonry

Genealogical research can uncover unexpected and distressing family secrets. I'll share several family secret discovery stories, reflect upon the impacts and offer insights into sensitive responses.


Discover the resources of the museum, the online catalogue and search service to help you trace your Freemason ancestor.




Saturday 27th April Lectures


SoG Theatre
MyHeritage Theatre
FFHS Theatre
10.00 David Annal Marian Burk Wood Peter Christian
  Counting the people: census returns online Planning a future for your family's past: Do you have a genealogical will? London Maps Online

A census of England and Wales has been taken every 10 years since 1801. The returns for 1841 to 1911 are accessible online but finding our ancestors isn’t always easy. This talk will provide essential search techniques and vital clues to success.

What happens to family photos and research in the future?  Write a genealogical 'will' to keep your collection in safe hands, out of the rubbish.

A look at the many online maps of the capital of use to the family historian because they show named streets and buildings.

10.45 Else Churchill Dr Nick Barratt Dr Gillian Draper
  "I'm stuck" Before I forget - family history in the digital age Researching the history of children's and family lives

Some tips and techniques for solving genealogical conundrums using the resources and collections of  library of the Society of Genealogists, the UK’s largest genealogical  society and library.

The talk investigates the challenges of preserving our memories in the digital age, and explores possible benefits a proactive approach might provide.

The talk has two strands, outlining some well-known and lesser-known online and print sources for history of household, family and children, 16th to mid-20th centuries.  

11.30 Burk Wood, Lindsay, Blanchard Sarah Paterson Lucie Drouin
  Crash course in writing your family story Tracing prisoners of war and internees in the First and Second World Wars Online resources to trace Huguenot ancestors in France

Three experts in 30 minutes. Hold on to your hat! Get top tips from those who know in one crammed session. Catch up with them later in their individual talks.

The talk looks at the prisoner experience (both military and civilian) and suggests ways to find out more about ancestors taken captive in either conflict.

What valuable information for genealogists may be retrieved from primary and secondary sources available online when tracing Huguenot ancestry in France?

12.15 Alec Tritton Ian Waller Julie Goucher
  "Of This Parish": Using church and parish records The Broken Branch Introduction to surname research and one-name studies

The Society of Genealogist collects records of the registers of the Church of England and the papers of the vestry, constables and other officials who administered the parish. This looks at church and parish records in the SoG library and elsewhere.

When someone changes a name this causes a challenge for family historians. Discover the reasons and useful tips on how the name change can be discovered

Looking into the depths of surname research and understanding how that may contribute to your research and enable us to bring surnames alive.

13.00 Sue Swalwell Dr Penny Walters Pam Smith
  Stepping out of the shadows of men - an independent woman in Georgian London Ethical dilemmas in genealogy Restoring a community – the Rillington one-place study

This talk will reveal the story of Mary Swalwell, a woman who left an imprint of her life in the public records of Georgian England.

This popular hobby has led to many people using a huge variety of methods to search for ancestors & relatives, but have we considered the potential ethical dilemmas? 

Utilising family and local history data from a variety of primary and secondary sources to reconstitute a multi-dimensional community from Domesday to present day. 

13.45 Paul Carter Daniel Horowitz Susan Atkins
  Publishing your family history research online - why and how?  Discovering your family history with MyHeritage unique technologies The 1939 Register and NHS numbers

Examines how publicising details and stories from your family history to a global web audience can be a rewarding and productive outlet for your research.

Technology has opened new frontiers for research while maintaining the thrill of the detective hunt. MyHeritage’s technologies are precisely the intersection of technology and genealogy.

14.30 Christine Jackson Gill Blanchard Christine Jolliffe
  Researching the life of a royal servant―from Ag Lab to the Queen’s coachman Tracing a house history Finding George

Learn how a variety of sources and some keen detective work revealed the 'downstairs' career path of a significant servant in Queen Victoria’s household.

Discover how to trace the history of your home or where your ancestors lived. Find out who lived there and when it was built.

This talk is about my 2x great grandfather and his journey from Berkshire to a penal colony in Tasmania. I will look at crime reporting, indent papers, muster rolls, probation and pardons.

15.15 Prof Geoff Timmins Diane Lindsay Jenny Pope
  Local history teaching in schools: supporting active learning approaches William Veasey 1822-1899: Crimea veteran, butler and serial husband Understanding and using manor court records from 17th to 19th centuries

The talk will complement Dr Draper‘s contribution by considering differing types of local history activities that children at primary and secondary levels can undertake.

Using contemporary reminiscences of my ancestor William Veasey, and sources solely from the internet, I trace, prove, discover more and document his extraordinary life and career.

Understanding manor court records takes you beyond parish records and gives you access to a unique view of your ancestors' lives.

16.00 Dr Simon Wills Sharon Hintze Carol Kerry-Green
  Shipwrecked in the First World War Westward Ho! Emigration from the British Isles to North America  Alms houses: Their history, architecture & records

Finding out about ancestors who died at sea in WW1 or became prisoners of war after being attacked at sea.

This fascinating story starts in the 16th century by highlighting migrant groups who made their way to America. After 1783 groups are replaced by families and individuals continuing the ties across the pond. 

A history of almshouses from their beginnings in the 11th century. Using examples of different types and showcasing some of the records that can be found.