Tickets now available!
Merlin Genealogy Solutions is delighted to announce a Family History Study Day on Thursday 26 March 2020 at Ashtead Peace Memorial Hall, Ashtead, Surrey, KT21 2BE from 10am to 4pm with registration from 9:30am.
Tickets cost £14 and will be issued on a first come first serve basis, as we have a limited number of places. Tickets do need to be purchased in advance, as tickets will not be available on the day. It is recommended to book early to avoid disappointment.
Our family history day provides the opportunity to hear from four speakers and to talk to other people who are or would like to research their family history. Our speakers for the day and the title of their talks are below. Further information about our speakers may be found at the end of this page in italics.
- Dr Judy Hill – Victorian Life Upstairs and Downstairs
- Ruth Mathewson from Kindred Ancestry – Irish Ancestry.
- Julian Pooley from Surrey History Centre – Who do you think they were? Discovering the lives and experiences of our ancestors
- Margaret Griffiths from Surrey History Centre – A Burden on the Parish – Sources for the History of Poor Relief in Surrey
Light refreshments will be provided but participants should bring a packed lunch or make their own lunch arrangements.
There are two pay and display car parks close to the venue, both offer parking for the disabled. The hall is also accessible by bus and train.
Tickets, programme and general information for the day will be posted to you once a booking has been confirmed.
More ways to book tickets
The quickest and easiest way to purchase your tickets is through Eventbrite – click here for full details
Alternatively, you can download a copy of the booking form here and return this to us by post.
Speaker Biographies & Talks
Dr Judy Hill
Victorian Life Upstairs and Downstairs. This talk looks at the Victorian period when English society was divided into those who had servants and those who did not. At the end of the 19th century one and a half million people were employed as servants. What were the reasons for such large scale employment of domestic servants? How were they recruited and trained? What were their duties and in what conditions did they work? These are some of the questions that will be answered. The talk will also draw on contemporary sources and will look at some Victorian households in detail to give a clear picture of how the Victorian household operated. There will also be a discussion on the sources available to the family historian that are extremely valuable when tracing ancestors who were in service.
Judy for her PhD researched poverty and unrest in Surrey 1815-1834. She taught history in the University of Surrey and has lectured in Europe and Canada. She has contributed articles to academic history journals and has contributed to a collection of published essays on Cholera and Conflict in the nineteenth century a FACHRS publication. Now a freelance lecturer and researcher who lectures widely in the United Kingdom to various societies, university groups and has run courses at the Institute of Genealogists. Recently Judy was involved in a research project into the life of Julia Margaret Cameron the eminent Victorian photographer in both Sri Lanka and the Isle of Wight.
Ruth Mathewson from Kindred Ancestry
Irish Ancestry. Irish research is often portrayed as difficult but in fact there are some great freely available resources to get you started on finding out more about your Irish kin. Ruth Mathewson from Kindred Ancestry will introduce you to what essential records have survived, where to find them and what to look out for when searching within them.
Ruth Mathewson, Kindred Ancestry, is an experienced professional genealogist with a particular interest in Scottish and Irish research. If you are interested in the latter, she has published extensive advice, links and unique finding aids via her free Irish resources website, www.irish-geneaography.com
Julian Pooley from Surrey History Centre
Who do you think they were? Discovering the lives and experiences of our ancestors. This talk discusses the amazing variety of sources that can be used to build up a picture of the past lives and experiences of our ancestors. Early illustrations, poor law papers, sessions rolls, records of institutions, personal letters and diaries can all tell us a great deal about what it was like to live in Surrey in the past. They vividly show the impact upon family life of illness and poverty and bear witness to the experiences of petty criminals, the insane or the vulnerable. These precious details help to bring family and local history to life.
Julian Pooley is an archivist and Manager of Surrey History Centre in Woking. He has worked for Surrey County Council since 1989, before which he worked in Modern Records for the Greater London Council. Throughout the 1990s he rescued many of the records of Surrey’s former mental hospitals as they rapidly closed down with the change from institutional care to ‘Care in the Community’. This talk uses records held by Surrey History Centre to trace the history of the care of the mentally ill and mentally handicapped in Surrey from the late eighteenth century, exploring the records of private madhouses, county asylums, charitable institutions and the ‘Epsom Cluster’ of Horton, Long Grove, The Manor, St Ebba’s and West Park. It uses medical records and case papers to examine changes in treatments and shows how these records can be used by family historians. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and Honorary Visiting Fellow at the Centre for English Local History at the University of Leicester.
Margaret Griffiths from Surrey History Centre
Margaret is currently senior archivist at Surrey History Centre, having worked there since 1998. I have previously held archivist posts at the Institution of Electrical Engineers and at the City of Westminster. She manages a small team of archivists responsible for the acquisition, accessioning and, most of all, the cataloguing of new and backlog archive deposits. She is also very much involved in advising researchers on Surrey History Centre’s very varied collections, both in our public searchroom and remotely.
Poor law records are of especial interest to Margaret: She feels they are a much under-used resource and reveal so much ‘hidden’ history of ordinary people. The personal accounts of how relief was sought and dispensed provide a wonderful glimpse of the problems faced both by the impoverished individuals on the receiving end and the harassed officials who had the unenviable task of administering the poor law system.
The aim of her talk the ‘Burden on the Parish’ is to give some idea of the range of sources that survive for the history of poor relief in Surrey. She will briefly chart the course of national poor law legislation and then examine the ways that parish officials administered this across the county.
Documents described will include settlement examinations, settlement certificates, removal orders and records relating to pre-1834 workhouses. Following the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, we will take a look at the records produced by the Boards of Guardians and others and also see what conditions were like within the new Union Workhouses.