WDYTYA? LIVE to close its doors

By Rosemary Collins, 3 May 2017 - 10:17am

The UK’s largest family history event comes to an end after ten years

This year's WDYTYA? LIVE event attracted over 13,000 visitors

Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE will close its doors after a ten-year run.

Immediate Media, the organisers of the annual event, reached the difficult decision earlier this month due to financial reasons.

The UK’s largest family history show celebrated its tenth anniversary in April this year, when over 13,000 family historians and more than 100 specialist exhibitors attended the three-day event at the Birmingham NEC.

The first WDYTYA? LIVE was launched by Brand Events in May 2007 at the Olympia in London. It incorporated The Society of Genealogists Family History Show and genealogist Nick Barratt acted as a consultant. Immediate Media then took over in 2011.

Marie Davies, director of WDYTYA? LIVE, explained that the event was “running at a considerable loss” at the time of the takeover.

“We have done our best over the years to bring it into profit,” she said. “Unfortunately, the show has continued to make a loss for Immediate Media and we have had to bring it to a close.”

WDYTYA? LIVE has showcased talks from a wide array of speakers and celebrities over the years, alongside hundreds of specialist exhibitors from the world of family history.

Crucially, it has also enabled thousands of amateur researchers to break down their brick walls through one-on-one sessions with some of the UK’s leading genealogists.

Davies added: “We are currently undergoing a period of consultation with our events staff and I would like to thank them for all their hard work in making WDYTYA? LIVE a show to be proud of.

“I would also like to thank all the businesses, archives and societies who have supported us in this venture over the years.

“I’m sure all the family historians who have visited over the past ten years will agree that it was a very special event and we are sorry to see it go.”

Sue Moncur, UK country manager of Ancestry, a regular exhibitor and former sponsor of WDYTYA? LIVE, said the company was sad to hear of the event's closure.

"Ancestry is proud to have been involved with the show since the beginning," she added. "During that time we have enjoyed the opportunity to meet and talk with everyone from long-term genealogists to those simply curious about who they are and where they come from.

"It is the end of an era, but the legacy of the show is that interest in family history in the UK has never been stronger and I am sure it will continue to thrive into the future."

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