New name, new future

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14 December 2017
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Jackie Cotterill talks about the future for the previously named Birmingham and Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry

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 A bold move recently saw your society change its name to Midlands Ancestors. What other plans do you have in store?

A (Jackie Cotterill) Revamping the look of the society (previously called the Birmingham and Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry) and the website has been under consideration for some time. We needed a new and more imaginative image, suitable for the 21st century, and, having asked for name suggestions from our members, Midland Ancestors was the most popular.

Despite the changes, projects remain central to our purpose, however. The project with Warwickshire County Record Office is going well, with 80 parishes now completed. Our North Staffs Group is working on photographing and indexing monumental inscriptions from churchyards across Staffordshire. They are also indexing the burial registers of Cheadle Cemetery 1896-2006, which has 8,000 graves and there are 19 books, 17 of which have been completed. 

We do host the StaffsBMD and WMBMD on behalf of UKBMD: via this initiative, local registrars give access to their BMD indexes to be recorded. All the registers in Staffordshire have now been scanned and once checked will be placed on the website. These indexes are particularly useful in the case of marriages because they actually tell you where the marriage took place.

The range of records we cover is fascinating. Personally, I am indexing the Worcester Marriage Bonds, 1701-1730.  So far there are 9,300 entries and I have only got to 1727. We have over 30 projects either ongoing or waiting to be started. Our main stumbling block is lack of volunteers so if you would like to help, please visit their website or email bookshop@midanc.uk 

To find out more about family history societies, buy the Christmas issue of Family Tree, in the shops now, priced £5.99 and bagged with the Family History Handbook. The Handbook is packed with behind-the-scenes interviews with key family history society members and a directory of family history societies worldwide. Now SOLD OUT from the Family Tree website but still available from your newsagents or download the digital version here!