From time to time, the Society receives correspondence that members may find interesting. With that in mind some of the more interesting and newsworthy correspondence will be posted here. Check back occasionally, it will be changing.


  • FFHS Assistance Sought
  • Changes at The National Archives
  • Eaton in Sutton?
  • 1911 Census
  • FFHS Forum

Date: Tue, 5 Jan 2010 16:17:50 +0000
Subject: FFHS-MEMBERS Volunteers needed at WhoDoYouThinkYouAre?LIVE

Are you able to help on the FFHS stand at WDYTYA?LIVE 26th-28th February 2010  

I am seeking volunteers to join the team on the FFHS stand at WDYTYA?LIVE.
The show is on Friday, Saturday & Sunday and is a very enjoyable event.  In return for free entry to the show I am ideally looking for people willing to do 2 x 2hour slots on any one day, however, no offer is likely to be refused! If you are unsure which day/days you would like to attend, why not take a look at the personalities who will be appearing each day?
It might help you decide! You will be kept busy on the stand answering enquiries and giving general advice but there will be plenty of time for you to enjoy the show and perhaps part with some cash! 
Please email me to indicate your willingness to assist and the day/days on which you will be available. I look forward to hearing from you. 
Thank You
Philippa McCray
Federation of Family History Societies
PO Box 8857
LE17 9BJ
Tel: 01455 203133

Date: Mon, 4 Jan 2010 14:37:56 +0000
Subject: FFHS-MEMBERS Administrative Help Required

Administrative Assistance Required by FFHS

Are you able to help or do you know someone who might be interested? 

The FFHS is seeking additional administrative support.
We are looking for a self motivated individual who is able to work from home on a self employed basis.
Key requirements are the ability to act on ones own initiative, to be computer literate with access to a computer with broadband connection (knowledge of Excel & Access would be an advantage but are not essential) and a desire to deliver a high standard of administrative services to our member societies and the general public.  Initially you would be expected to work a minimum of 5 hours per week, however, there may be the opportunity for additional hours.  
To register your interest or for further information, please contact Philippa McCray (contact details above). 

The closing date is February 5th 2010 


In July we drew attention to the proposed changes put forward by TNA.  Following a period of consultation, TNA has now announced its firm plans for change which will begin to take effect from the end of this year.  Details can be found on TNA’s website at

The finalised plans were unveiled at the monthly user forum held yesterday at Kew.  The main proposals remain in place, namely closure to the public on Mondays (from January 2010); the introduction of car park charges (from April 2010); and changes to copying and microform services (to be phased in from the end of 2009).  Some adjustments have been made to the details as a result of comments received during the consultation process.  The presentation given at the user forum can be downloaded at

It will come as no surprise that the changes were not well received by those who have been in the forefront of the criticism aimed at the proposals.  However, it was noticeable that some of the critics seemed to be guilty of the sort of misrepresentation they claimed had been used by TNA.  Either that or they are unable to interpret documents as well as might be expected.

It is to be hoped that lessons will be learnt from this exercise so that future consultation is much more effective.  In the present situation it was much more like paying lip service to consultation after the decisions had been reached.  Natalie Ceeney, chief executive, said that employment law made it difficult to have open discussion in the light of the impact on staff caused by the loss of jobs.  Ideally, stakeholders should be given the opportunity to provide input at the earliest stages of thinking, when there is a realistic possibility of influencing the decision-making process.  Also, the reasoning behind some of the decisions was not well communicated at first.  This caused conflict which could have been avoided if more thought had been given to this.

We understand that there will be an opportunity to demonstrate how well these lessons have been understood in the not-too-distant future.

Roger Lewry

FFHS Archives Liaison
25 September 2009

Dear Sir,

I have two old books, one on surveying and the other calculus, published in 1736 and 1751 respectively, which I am restoring. The surveying book has the ink inscription "William Eaton 1757 Sutton'. The other book's inscription is 'Wm Eaton's Book 1797'. The calligraphy is excellent and the subject matter suggest a well educated person, who was probably in his early 20s when a surveyor and maybe born in the 1720s/30s?

I have found fourteen counties with 25 examples of the parish or place name called Sutton - seven are in Yorkshire!

Does anybody in the Society have this person in their family tree?

Yours faithfully

Rodney Fry

Note: Contact Rodney Fry by email.

1911 Census all of england on line

Date: Tue, 28 Jul 2009 17:56:39 +0100
Subject: FFHS-MEMBERS Free access to 1911 census across England and Wales

Today The National Archives announced arrangements for free access to the 1911 census information at the following locations:

Before planning a trip, visitors are urged to contact the relevant institution to find out when the service will be available.

The full announcement can be seen at

Roger Lewry
FFHS Archives Liaison
28 July 2009


Basic facts about the 1911 census

The 1911 census of England and Wales was taken on the night of Sunday 2 April 1911.  Over 8 million schedules were delivered to householders around the country.

The completed forms provide us with personal details of the 36 million people who were living in England and Wales at the time, offering a fascinating insight into the state of the nation nearly 100 years ago.

The census shows the name, age, sex and marital status of each person, as well as giving details of their occupation, birth place and nationality.  The 1911 census also asks for additional information about married women: how long they have been married and how many children have been born to that marriage.

The 1911 census has been called 'the fertility census' as it lists the total number of children that a woman had given birth to; this information is especially valuable to family historians as it accounts for children no longer living at home as well as those who had died before 1911.

Census returns are a key source for people tracing their family history, as well as those studying local, social and political history.  For family historians, one of the main attractions of the 1911 census is that, for the first time, it is the original householder schedules that have survived so we can see our ancestors' own handwriting, complete with any unsolicited additional comments that they might have made.

Information recorded for each person: 

  • Name and Surname
  • Relationship to head of family
  • Age and Sex
  • Marital condition
  • Profession or Occupation
  • Birthplace
  • Nationality
  • Infirmity (eg deaf, dumb, blind, lunatic, imbecile etc.) Note: this information will not be available to view until the census is officially opened in January 2012. At the request of the Information Commissioner these details have been obscured in the images that are made available prior to that date.

Additionally, details recorded for married women:

  • Years married
  • Children born to present marriage, living or deceased

 Some interesting entries found by the transcription team include:

  •  A mother of five children whose occupation is listed as 'slave to family'
  •  An opinionated household head, evidently affronted by the invasive nature of the census, who writes:
  • 'Put some charge on goods coming from abroad... Could you not find something better to do than ask about children that have been dead over 56 years?'
  •  The return for one household lists the family cat as a domestic servant, giving the feline's nationality as 'Persian'. We hope the enumerator appreciated the joke.
  •  One householder, apparently objecting to the intrusive nature of the census, writes on the return: 'Would you like to know what our income is, what each had for breakfast and how long we expect to live on anything else?'

 We've found a disparaging comment made by the head of a household about a woman in his service. Scrawled on the bottom of the census return is:

  • 'This woman calls herself "about forty" and refuses to say more. She looks 60. She leaves my service tomorrow.'

 I hope that this release will enhance the research experience for those of you who probably thought that they would need to wait another three years for the information.

Best wishes for successful research in 2009

The Federation of Family History Societies (FFHS) FORUM

Welcome to the FFHS Forum

The FFHS Forum was established in 2008 as a benefit of Membership but also with a wider focus on Family Historians and those with similar interests, to bring you into the arena of Family History Societies.  In this respect the FFHS Forum is open for all to use.  You can place a notice of an event, initiate or contribute to an online discussion on an issue, developing trends, access to archives or even place a request for advice.  It is not intended to replace the existing excellent lists that can be found online but to add another dimension for you.  This is a global facility for those who are administering, have interests in or have links with Family History research in the UK.

 Family Historians and FFHS Members, this is your Forum and you can tailor it to your needs.  You do not need to logon to read the postings but to take an active part in the forum you need to register.  You can access a number of public areas:

  • Society Discussion
  • Events
  • The Federation
  • Family History Societies
  • General

In addition, a number of focus group areas have been set up allowing you open access:

  • County Based
  • Non County Based
  • Overseas
  • East Anglian Group
  • North West Group
  • South West Area Group
  • West Midlands area Group
  • Yorkshire Group of Family History Societies

Registering for the FFHS Forum is simple, go to and on the home page, on the left hand side, you will find an ‘FFHS Forum’ button.  One click and you will arrive at the registration page.  Click the ‘Help’ tab and read the notes, these will give you instructions for using the Forum.  Click ‘register’ at the top of the home page, complete the form and read and click the ‘I Agree’ box, then click ‘Register’.  You will then be able to complete your profile and start to use the Forum