First steps to finding your ancestors start here

About to begin its 45th year, Berkshire Family History Society works to meet the needs of those researching their ancestry across the UK and overseas - as well as those looking for former relatives in historic Berkshire

A registered charity, Berkshire Family History Society exists to help you in your research... WHEREVER your ancestors came from. And while you do not need to be a member to benefit, membership does bring added benefits including savings on society purchases and online subscriptions.

The society offers you:

  • a Research Zone in central Reading that is FREE to use and open to everyone

  • FREE ACCESS at The Centre for Heritage and Family History to online resources like Findmypast, The 1939 Register, The Genealogist, the British Newspaper Archive and Ancestry (that's the worldwide edition)

  • FREE ACCESS also at The Centre to a wide range of other material in digital and printed formats

  • A wide-ranging programme of regular events — including talks, courses, workshops, discussion groups, walks and visits

  • regular help and advice sessions in locations across the 'old' Royal County of Berkshire — these are FREE too

  • meetings in Abingdon, Bracknell, Newbury, Reading, Windsor and Woodley — open to everyone

  • an online discussion list for members, with informed answers to research queries and advice from other experienced researchers

  • a Members' Area with some 250 useful items, including data and other information not readily accessible elsewhere

  • key resources — high quality indexes and transcriptions of Berkshire's historic records on CD — including parish registers, probate documents, monumental inscriptions, maps, First World War history and more

  • significant numbers (but not all) of the society's transcriptions can be found on Findmypast

  • an online shop

  • a quarterly members' magazine, the Berkshire Family Historian

  • a chance to join in project work today, recording, transcribing, checking and helping to preserve records of 'old' Berkshire for the benefit of tomorrow's family historians

  • friendly links to the research experience, advice and support of members worldwide

  • rewarding opportunities in all kinds of roles to volunteer and so help others with their family history

Berkshire Family History Society is the one society to cover all of the 'old' Royal County of Berkshire

The society's premises — The Centre for Heritage and Family History — are on the second floor of Reading Central Library.

Explore this website to discover how your family history research can benefit from services, products and the work of the volunteers of Berkshire Family History Society

Entering its 45th year, the society has around 1,500 members worldwide. It is a registered charity (Number 283010) and subject to the provisions of charity law in England and Wales.

 Objects of the society

to advance education of the public in research into family history and genealogy, primarily but not exclusively within the boundaries of the pre-1974 Royal County of Berkshire; and

to work to promote the preservation, transcription, indexing and ready public accessibility of related records and information

An Executive Committee backed by a 170-strong volunteer team run day-to-day operations and activities. All are unpaid.

The personal rewards that come from volunteering are well-documented. Extra hands are always welcome. You too could play a major part in the society's workwherever in the world you may live.

page last reviewed and revised 24th June 2019

Additional information