12 December 2017
Sue Bond from Devon FHS tells us about working in a society research centre.
In a town near you, there’s likely an enthusiastic band of family historians - your local family history society members. These hardworking volunteers run family history societies to help teach people about family history and work to preserve the historic records of the area for the future. The range of historic projects they are involved in is vast. Read on for an inspiring example…
Q Tell us about the work of Devon FHS? For instance, what is it like to work in the society research centre?
A (Sue Bond) We are one of the larger Family History Societies, with a worldwide membership of just over 3,500, and have a research centre in Exeter – called Tree House. This is open three days a week and staffed by volunteers with many years of family history research experience. We have seven computers with access to the commercial sites as well as our own extensive indexes and a large library of books, maps, microfiches, CDs, the Inland Revenue wills, and microfiche of all the parish registers. Everyone is welcome but there is a small charge for non-members.
Our research service has responded to over 600 requests in the last five years in addition to many smaller queries that we try to answer promptly. When requests come in our ‘Tuesday team’ get to work and then, as research coordinator, I put together a report and the documentation in reply.
One thing we struggle with is that the public often think that, as Devon FHS, we are only interested in Devon! Now, of course, with the wonders of the internet, we are able to offer help and advice wherever families come from
Our website has a lot of practical information: (look at the ‘Links’ tab), and don’t miss our special area for youngsters (the ‘Acorn Club’) www.devonfhs.org.uk