Janice Bailey, of the Blackheath Branch, Wandsworth Stake in London responded to the continuing emphasis being placed by Church leaders on family history work, by organising a Fun Family History Day. Wanting to attract as many members of the public as possible, Janice began by arranging for the event to be advertised in local newspapers. Subsequently, she placed flyers in the local library and community centres and, with the help of the youth of the church, posted them through many letterboxes. Around 32 people attended the event, which was viewed as a great success.
To make the day as useful as possible to those who attended, a variety of different workshops and presentations were included. Whilst help was available to those who were just getting started with researching their own family trees, support was also available for those who have already begun, but who wished to develop their skills. Specialists were brought in from the Family History Centre at the National Archives in Kew, London. They included Elder & Sister Curley, who presented on researching in the British Isles, and using the many tools on the Church’s own Family Search website. Sharon Tomlin gave a presentation on researching Caribbean records, which now includes a range of Caribbean Islands. Elder and Sister Cherrington presented on getting started on FamilySearch that holds an extensive number of records which are made freely available to everyone.
One of the workshops focussed on raising awareness about Indexing and how to do it. Put simply, Family Search Indexing is a facility that makes it possible for historical records, such as births, deaths and marriages, to be searched. The website is free to use and is available online for everyone to find their ancestors. Karen Adams who led this workshop said, “I feel that the indexing of historical records is vital to family history work. So many people have been able to find their ancestors because the names are available on the family search website.” Anyone wishing to join the volunteering effort to index records can obtain further information at familysearch.org/indexing/about.
Commenting on the Fun Family History event, Janice said, “My purpose in organising the event was to give people the opportunity to connect with their ancestors by informing them of the range of resources available and how to use them”. Janice added, “My love of family history work began when, following a detailed search of microfilm records at the National Archives, I found the marriage certificate of my great grandparents who were married in Jamaica. My father had known very little about his grandparents and it was a very special moment when I was able to share that information with him.”