News Release

Cambridge Family History Open Day a Success!


Over 180 people attended the Cambridge LDS Meeting House on Saturday 19th November for a Family History Centre Open Day.

A Speaking Programme in the Cultural Hall was organised by Margaret Curley of the Cambridge Ward. Speakers included David J. Cottrell, Area Family History Advisor for the London Temple District; Peter Bailey, founding member and current Chairman of the Families in British India Society; Mary Casteleyn, Vice President of The Irish Genealogical Research Society; Else Churchill, Genealogist at the Society of Genealogists with over twenty years of experience as a professional genealogical librarian; Caroline Norton, a founder member and past Chairman of Huntingdonshire Family History Services, and Trustee/Committee member of Cambridgeshire Family History Service and Dr. Nick Barratt, historian, author, researcher, BBC TV and radio presenter and current President of the Federation of Family History Societies who spoke on the topic Family History and The Media.

Displays in classrooms and foyers included: Cambridgeshire Archives; Cherry Hinton Community Archives and Local History Society; Cambridgeshire Family History Society; Society of Genealogists; Irish Genealogical Research Society; Families in British India Society; Family Search; and Identification of Old Photographs by Tom Doig, teacher, lecturer, author and historian on the Victorian Era. Many of the displays were accompanied by experts to answer visitor’s questions.

Family History Staff members Haidee Clarke, and her father Steve Clarke, ran an indexing marathon when members of the Ipswich Stake indexed 1620 names during the day and talked to visitors about the Family Search indexing programme.

The Family History Centre was open for tours with staff members Muriel and Derek Lavender and Yolande Palmer of Cambridge Ward assisting patrons with research and appointments.

People were assisted with their family history in a variety of ways and it seems that the spirit of Elijah was abundant in supporting this great work.

Gloria Watson, of the Ipswich Ward, had thought she would not be able to attend the event but after finding being filled with excitement about finding her Great Great Grandfather on the preceding night, followed by a phone call from a friend offering a lift to the event, she knew the Lord wanted her to be there. Gloria took lots of queries with her and left with a wealth of knowledge she never before had, even after many years of researching.

Gloria had arrived early eager to speak with Mary Casteleyn about her Irish ancestry. She described Mary as “very patient, gracious and a good listener… I had so many questions for her, as the queue built up behind me, and she answered every one with so much knowledge and detail. She could tell my ancestors origins by their surnames and taught me a lot about their migration and movement. Mary’s presentation was full of valuable information about heritage websites and resources... I left feeling enthused to continue my research!” Gloria also shared how grateful she was for the presenters and researchers, particularly Sister Yvonne Menzies, who patiently sat with Gloria for 45 minutes assisting her in finding areas within her family research paperwork where progress could be made.

Sister Elizette Moreira of the Bury ward said “It was a great day!.” Sister Alison Pentreath, Ipswich Ward's Family History Centre Director, said: “I gained a great deal... My understanding grew massively. It was very professional and there was a large amount of knowledge available!”

Elder Dave and Sister Marilyn Marchant, currently serving as Family History Support Missionaries and Directors of the Cambridge Family History Centre, said: “We were very pleased the day went so well. Members and non-members alike enjoyed the day.”

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