Federation Of Family History Societies

Welcome to the FFHS website

The Federation of Family History Societies (FFHS) is an educational charity. We support, inform and advise our membership, which consists of family history societies and similar bodies across the world.

To achieve our mission, we:

  • co-ordinate and assist the work of organisations interested in family history, genealogy and heraldry
  • foster co-operation and projects that help researchers
  • represent the interests of family historians, especially in the preservation and availability of archives

You can read more about our activities on our "What We Do" page.

600,000 War Graves records online

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) has added the records of almost 600,000 Second World War casualties to those already freely available on its website.

The digitised records cover British, Irish and Commonwealth casualties, together with records for many other nationals. You  can find details of personal headstone inscriptions, date of death, rank, regiment and even some documents which show the journey of the deceased to their final resting place.

London Plague 1665

Great Plague details revealed

The Great Plague devastated London in 1665 and is one of the best-known events in the history of the 17th century. The official death toll there was 68,596 but, due to under-recording, the true total may have been closer to 100,000, amounting to some 15% of its population.

Recent excavations for the Crossrail project are shedding fresh light on the impact of this tragedy. Contrary to accounts often found in popular histories, it is now clear that many plague victims were provided with "decent Christian burial", including coffins and a traditional east-west orientation, even though the numbers involved were enormous.

Statistics about the number of deaths were collected and still survive for many parishes in and around the City of London. Those relating to deaths from the plague in 1665 have been plotted on an interactive map which shows how each small area was affected on a week-by-week basis. It also gives a fascinating overview of the complicated jigsaw of parishes existing in London at that time. It is a good example of how 21st-century technology can present historical information clearly.

Until 11 September, the Guildhall Library is hosting an exhibition "London’s Dreadful Visitation: The Great Plague, 1665", which takes visitors through a range of plague-related material. Well worth a visit if you are near the City of London during that time. The exhibition is open during normal visiting hours, except for when afternoon talks take place.

Wherever you are, The National Archive's classroom resources on the subject are available to demonstrate how original documents both supply information and help to fathom the context that lies behind them.

Ancient High House, Stafford
Ancient High House, Stafford

Staffordshire Registers Online

A large amount of extra information from the registers of numerous parishes in Staffordshire has recently been launched on the FindMyPast website.

Scanned and indexed images of pages from a variety of parish registers have been added to the existing online collection for the county. The fresh data covers the following events:

  • Baptisms - 483,000
  • Marriages - 267,000
  • Banns - 185,000
  • Burials - 284,000

Many records from other parishes in the area were already in the database, so the total number of entries to be found in the relevant indexes for Staffordshire now add up to more than 4 million. The earliest records included date back to 1538 and the most recent events took place in 1900, but details are not available from all parishes for the whole of that timespan.

Staffordshire is an inland county with borders touching five other counties, so this collection will be of help to researchers whose main focus so far is elsewhere, if their family prove to have migrated into or out of Staffordshire itself.

35,000 pages scanned a week

Evacuees from Bristol arrive at Brent Station near Kingsbridge, Devon, in 1940

In September 1939, the Government compiled a National Register of the entire civilian population of England and Wales. This was to help in issuing ration books and identity cards as well as administering the call-up for the armed forces. The names, address, sex, age occupation, marital condition and any membership of the armed forces were recorded for each individual.

These detailed records of some 40 million people are held by The National Archives and currently being digitised prior to release on the FindMyPast website. For privacy reasons, information about living people will be kept closed for 100 years from their year of birth, or until proof of death has been confirmed. The contents of the Register will be of particular help in future research as the 1931 census records were destroyed and there was no census in 1941, resulting in a 30-year gap after 1921.

You can sign up to to hear about progress of the project.

The 7,000 volumes that contain these records are being conserved and scanned at the rate of 35,000 pages a week. A short video gives a glimpse of behind the scenes activity in the digitisation exercise.

RUL Cover page

Really Useful For You

Family historians across the world are delighted to greet the 2015 edition of our "Really Useful Leaflet" (RUL).

This publication includes a wealth of help for everyone interested in exploring their families' stories. It is one of the best places in existence for readers to find the latest information about the societies and websites that can help with research and in contacting like-minded enthusiasts. Answers are given to many questions about how to make best use of particular sources and this year we have two specially commissioned articles about Navy and Army records.

In its 24 pages, RUL offers a great deal more than appears in most leaflets.

You can download your free copy of RUL now. Paper copies will be available for collection at the many events that the Federation will attend during 2015 and also at the meetings of many of the family history societies.

© 2007-15 The Federation of Family History Societies. All rights reserved

Registered Charity No. 1038721    Company No. 2930189 (England)

Page updated by the webmaster on 14 August 2015

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