Top tips on how to get the best out of a family history workshop


25 February 2020
Make the most of an opportunity to work in a small and focused group of genealogy enthusiasts with Family Tree's five top tips for enjoying your family history workshop.

1. Preparation is key

Try to read around the subject of the workshop, to give yourself the best chance of finding out information that help you with your research. Whilst no one will expect you to know the subject inside out (you’re going to the workshop to learn new skills, after all) knowing a bit about the topic and how it might relate to your ancestors and their lives will stand you in good stead. Which brings us to point 2…

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2. Bring along your ancestors!

Bring along a working copy of your family tree, plus brief notes of what you’d like to find out during the workshop. For example, if you’re struggling to use a particular type of record and this is the subject of the workshop, bring along an example of what you tried to find out (names, dates etc) and this could prove a great case study for the group to work on – and as a bonus you could get your query solved.

3. Prepare to be surprised...

Go along with an open mind and be prepared to learn, not just from the workshop leader but from your fellow participants. It’s easy to get so carried away taking notes that you forget to enjoy the experience of taking part – and of listening to the experiences of the other attendees. The discussions that take place could well lead you down new avenues of research, or point you in the direction of resources you hadn’t considered.

4. Remember, this isn’t a meeting

Whilst meetings are great to taking in information, a workshop is a different experience and its strengths lie in the fact that everyone works together to solve problems and share experiences. You’ll get the very best out of the event if you’re prepared to share your stories – and to learn from everyone else. The workshop leader is there to keep proceedings on track but it’s the attendees who can make a workshop really worthwhile.

5. Your afterwards action plan

Plan to write up your notes as soon as possible after the workshop. As with all note-taking, your memory will be at its best whilst the event is still fresh in your mind. You can add any new resources to your to-do list, visit the websites and archives you learnt about and then add the resulting findings to your family tree. 


The workshops at Family Tree Live are booking up fast, so hurry! Workshops are FREE with your show ticket but you’ll need to be fast! Get your ticket here and then choose your workshops. There are a range of great topics to choose from, including:

  • How to turn your ancestors’ lives into a compelling narrative
  • Find your notable Victorian ancestors
  • Scottish kirk session records
  • Successful GRO detecting