Family History Federation celebrating 50 years


23 February 2024
This year sees the Family History Federation celebrate its 50th anniversary - and many of the 150 member societies of the Federation have reached notable milestones too. We share the links below so that you can investigate these fabulous family history organisations!

A quick trip down memory lane!

Scroll back to 1984 - these pages are scanned from the very first issue of Family Tree - two of which pages were devoted to the activities of the Federation and family history societies. See what was going on 4 decades ago on the family history scene! (For larger files of the two pages below, please click here and here).



As part of our own Family Tree 40th anniversary celebrations (yes Family Tree was established in 1984!) we would like to help other genealogy organisations celebrate their noteworthy milestones! Please explore the family history organisations below - with research projects and resources to inspire and help family history research they are a boon to the genealogy community worldwide.

10 years

• The Surname Society

25 years

• Entwistle Family History Association
• The Families in British India Society

30 years

• British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa
• Coventry Family History Society
• Mid-Norfolk Family History Society
• Montgomeryshire Genealogical Society
• Romany & Traveller Family History Society

35 years

• Chesterfield & District Family History Society 

40 years

• Alderson Family History Society
• Botany Bay Family History Society Inc
• Rugby Family History Group

45 years

• Doncaster & District Family History Society
• Gloucestershire Family History Society
• International Society for British Genealogy & Family History
• Isle of Man Family History Society
• North of Ireland Family History Society
• Queensland Family History Society Inc
• Rix Family Alliance
• Shropshire Family History Society

50 years

• Dyfed Family History Society
• Glamorgan Family History Society
• Hampshire Genealogical Society
• Kent Family History Society
• Leicestershire & Rutland Family History Society
• West Surrey Family History Society

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60 years

• Heraldry & Genealogy Society of Canberra Inc
• Manchester & Lancashire Family History Society


Notable Federation projects over the decades

We mentioned at the start that the Family History Federation itself is celebrating an impressive anniversary this year - 50 years, having been established in 1974. Over the decades the Federation has worked in partnership with other organisations to identify valuable collections – and make them more accessible to family historians.

First World War Conscription Appeals Project
Projects include digitisation of the records for more than 8,000 individuals in Middlesex who sought an exemption from conscription in the First World War, and a survey of repositories across England and Wale to ascertain the whereabouts of further similar record collections.
The finding of the survey was published in 2016, a century on from the introduction of conscription in WW1 in 1916. It may be read online at
The survey makes invaluable reading for family historians wishing to learn more about conscription in their area of interest, listing as it does the archival holdings – from local newspaper cuttings related to conscientious objection cases, to registers of cases providing names, occupations, addresses, employer details and the decisions of the tribunals.
The Middlesex Tribunal Collection 1916-1918 (MH47) may searched and browsed at

The National Burial Index
Pooling the energies of volunteers from numerous family history societies, the National Burial Index (NBI) was first published in 2001 with 5.4 million burials noted. Subsequent editions have brought the total number of burials indexed to 18.4 million entries from more than 9,100 locations in 50 counties across England and Wales. The index includes details from parish burial registers, bishops’ transcripts, cemeteries and crematoria, and covers Anglican parish, Roman Catholic, Nonconformist and Quaker burials.
Find out more about the NBI and how to buy it at
12 million of the NBI entries are also available via Findmypast.

The Manorial Documents Register
Searchable by parish or manor name, the online Manorial Documents Register (MDR), accessible via The National Archives’ website is another project in which the Federation has aided, having helped to fund the digitisation of the manorial records for four counties: Wiltshire, Northamptonshire, Northumberland and Kent.

Gloucestershire Solicitors’ Archive
Explore the catalogue entries of four centuries of archives for Yearsley and Wadeson, in a project made possible by the combined efforts of Gloucestershire Archives, Gloucestershire Family History Society and the Federation.

Lancashire Crew Lists’ Project
A similarly exciting collaborative project saw volunteers from Lancashire Family History and Heraldry Society and Lancashire Archives, supported by funding from the Federation, index the names of more than 82,000 seamen in ships registered at the ports of Preston, Fleetwood and Lancaster 1863-1914.

1881 Census

Last but not least, many family history societies and their members worked with FamilySearch to index the 1881 Census - making it the first of the 'UK' censuses to be indexed in entirety (the census returns for England & Wales and Scotland were indexed).

Find out more

Find out more about the Family History Federation at & see the April issue of Family Tree, out 8th March.