The WDYTYA? 12-Week Family History Challenge: Week 12 – Join the genealogy community!

By Guest, 6 February 2017 - 5:10pm

Congratulations on making it to the end of our 12-Week Challenge! In her final free guide, WDYTYA? TV series genealogist Laura Berry reveals why joining the family history community can help you take your research further

  • Missed last week's guide? Click here to go back to Week 11: Occupation records
  • Download a free family tree chart to print and keep by clicking here

You’ve made it to the final week of our challenge, so if you’ve not quite completed the tree that came with the first part of this series and reached your great great grandparents on all branches, now’s your chance to give it one last push.

There are plenty of places you can turn to for help if you’ve hit a stumbling block or want to learn more about a specific topic. For example, you can register for a free account with the Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine Forum where you can post questions to see if other members know the answer.

Rootschat is another popular forum and old threads can be searched by keyword on both sites, so you might find that people have already discussed a similar problem and found the solution.

Subscribe to the magazine to keep up-to-date with the latest document releases online, and for tips and advice for finding more records in the archives. You can send a research query to the magazine’s team of experts via email, and, if selected, the answer will be published in the Q&A section.

The Society of Genealogists offers a telephone helpline to members and non-members alike, or face-to-face consultations at its library in Central London. The library’s resources cover all regions of the country and further afield.

It also has a huge collection of family trees and notes donated by genealogists, as well as microfilm copies of parish registers and other records, and free on-site access to several commercial websites.

Non-members can buy a day pass for the library, but members get unlimited access and can take advantage of the Society’s Data Online service

The library is a great hub for meeting people and has regular talks and workshops where you can learn skills such as reading old handwriting, or discover more about researching ancestors from a particular era, area or profession.

Attending an event such as Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE will give you the chance to put your brick walls to the experts

Many smaller local societies also put on events and courses, and you don’t have to limit yourself to one membership.

Joining a family history society close to home will give you the benefit of meeting local people with a shared passion, while joining another society in the area where your ancestors lived will connect you with people who are familiar with the places and names associated with your ancestral home.

You can interact in a learning environment from the comfort of your own home by signing up to the online genealogy courses run by Pharos Tutors, who are professional researchers, authors and archive staff.

The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies also offers a correspondence and online course in addition to its day courses based in Canterbury.

There’s an opportunity to meet all of these groups at Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE in Birmingham on 6-8 April 2017 – find out more and book tickets here.

Useful resources

Federation of Family History Societies

Find a family history society that covers the area where your ancestors lived and make use of their resources.

Online Calendar of Genealogy Events and Activities

Find out what events are going on near you in the months ahead.


Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine Forum

Chat to other genealogists online and ask for advice.






Week 12 tasks

  • Take out a subscription to Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine.
  • Join at least one family history society.
  • See if there are any online forum threads for your areas of interest.
  • Post your first online forum message.
  • Find out what courses, events and talks are taking place near you in the coming months.
  • Plan a trip to a genealogy event.
  • Save the date 6-8 April 2017 for Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE!


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