14 December 2017
Kate Hurst from Ormskirk and District FHS tells us how the society helps their members learn more about family history.
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 ways in which Ormskirk FHS helps their members to learn more about their family history?
A (Kate Hurst) Ormskirk and District FHS was founded in 1980 and covers part of south-west Lancashire. Our membership is around 170, across the world, and our main contact with members is through our meetings (every month except December) and a journal published three times a year. I’ve been the editor for nearly eight years; I love using my design skills and the articles written by members give tips on unusual resources and creative solutions to family history puzzles!
As a society, we like to get out and meet people, so we try to attend public events; we’ve been to three Mediaeval Weekends in Ormskirk with battle re-enactments (I was the only one brave enough to go in costume!) and people often ask about our variety of data CDs. We’ve also published data that can be accessed at home; when our members spotted family links between local canal boatmen, the research became a database of 3,000 people so we put it onto our second website http://www.boatfamilies.website/ and kept searching! The most recent update took total to 36,000 individuals, all connected to canals!
Several of our members have developed presentations inspired by their research, usually ‘tested’ at ODFHS meetings. The stories are so varied that Bill, our Chairman, asked whether anyone would give their talks to other societies. We now offer more than 20 talks (and one history walk) on different themes that interested groups can book, which is a great way for us to interact with other family history societies.