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Living historians turning back time at Family Tree Live!


Living historians are all set to wow crowds with fun-filled costumed displays at Family Tree Live, taking place at London’s stunning Alexandra Palace this spring.

Swords and Spindles living history will be bringing the past to life at the show, which is being held in Ally Pally’s Great Hall on 26 and 27 April 2019, using fascinating artefacts and props so that you can experience how our 16th and 17th century ancestors went about their daily lives.


The costumed living history characters will provide entertaining and informative displays, revealing the kinds of work our past relatives did for a living and at home, and what they ate, drank and wore. Visitors are encouraged to interact with the barber surgeon, the witchfinder, the herbalist and other characters to learn even more.


Janet Few, of Swords and Spindles, plays a character called Mistress Agnes and is a well-known family and social historian. As well as taking part in the living history displays, she will be giving a talk on early 20th century family history at Family Tree Live. Her talk is just one of 125 lectures (sponsored by the Society of Genealogists, MyHeritage and the Family History Federation) and workshops taking place for family history fans over the two days, catering for absolute beginners to those who have been researching their family tree for years.


Janet said: ‘We are really excited by the prospect of bringing the Swords and Spindles Roadshow to Family Tree Live. If you are going to trace your family history, there is nothing more important than developing an understanding of what life would have been like for your ancestors. Once you have had one our makeovers, been treated for constipation, or hung drawn and quartered, life will never be the same again.’


You may also be interested in these:

• Get your Family Tree Live tickets!

Book your lectures

Book your workshops

Book your one-to-one advice sessions


As well as Swords and Spindles, there will be the chance to chat to the Royal College of Nursing about nursing through the ages and handle the medical equipment of yesteryear. Fashion historian Jayne Shrimpton will be giving a talk and analysing visitors’ precious old family photographs on the Friday and military historian Graham Bandy (of Downton Abbey fame) will be on hand both days offering military photo-dating, plus there will be treasure hunts for your budding young family historians.


Family Tree Live has been organised by Family Tree in partnership with the Family History Federation (formerly the Federation of Family History Societies), whose member societies from across the UK will be offering family history advice alongside large exhibitors including FamilySearch, enabling visitors to discover more about their roots.


The show’s FamilyTreeDNA Hub and lecture theatre will also provide all visitors need to know about taking a DNA test, what to do with the results, and much more, while Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA) will be offering free one-to-one family history advice.


• All-inclusive advance tickets cost just £12pp per day (£14 at the door, free entry for under-16s), visit here for full details, lecture and workshop programmes and list of exhibitors.


Swords and Spindles photograph © Jo Rutherford Photography.



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