ON THE RECORD
Family historians from far and wide enjoy the annual Who Do You Think You Are? Live show at its new home of the NEC in Birmingham
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Thousands of people from across the family history community descended upon the West Midlands last month for the UK’s biggest genealogy event.
Held at the Birmingham NEC across three days, Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2015 saw keen researchers attend a packed programme of workshops, lectures and one-to-one sessions.
Celebrities Reggie Yates, Alistair McGowan and Tamzin Outhwaite also shared their stories live on stage with Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine editor Sarah Williams, while Findmypast served up treats in a WW2-themed café to promote the upcoming release of the 1939 Register, which will provide details of people living in Britain at the outbreak of the Second World War.
Aside from a spin-off event at the Glasgow SECC in August 2014 to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Homecoming, Who Do You Think You Are? Live had previously been held at the London Olympia each February since its inception in 2005.
As well as show regulars, several exhibitors from the local area featured at the event, including the Black Country Living Museum. Rebecca Wilton, who works as a costume demonstrator at the museum, said she had been kept “very busy” by visitors.
“We’ve had quite a lot of queries and spoken to plenty of people who remembered coming to the museum who said they’d like to come again,” she told Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine. “But we’ve also had people offering us artefacts to add to our collections, including trade catalogues and some bits of brass, so that’s been really exciting.”
Feedback submitted to the organisers regarding the change of venue was positive, with many visitors from the Midlands and North of England saying that they had previously been unable to make the trip down to London.
However, moving away from the capital still did not deter family historians from the South. First-time showgoer Guy Boocock, who travelled to the NEC from Southampton, was glad that he got up early to make the trip.
“I found advice at the Military Checkpoint vvery useful, especially for my grandfather who had served with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers,” he said. “I had a whole load of acronyms I did not understand, but [military historian] Dave Seeney was able to tell me that my grandfather was actually in the Pioneers Corps attached to the REME. So it’s sent me on plenty of new avenues to follow.”
The dates for next year’s event – also to be held at the Birmingham NEC – were previously given as 28-30 April 2016, but this has since been changed to 7-9 April 2016.
The research advice has sent me on plenty of new avenues to follow
Dozens of workshops were scheduled across the three days, meaning there were plenty of different ways to plan your visit
Reggie Yates was interviewed on stage by our editor Sarah