Branch Meetings

Branch Meetings

The society operates SIX branches that cover ‘old' Berkshire’ – bringing key resources and information for your family history research — whether or not you have Berkshire ancestors. Meetings are usually held monthly (not August).

Bracknell and Wokingham Branch (at Bracknell)

 Computer Branch (at Woodley)

 Newbury Branch (at Shaw)

 Reading Branch (at Tilehurst)

Vale of the White Horse Branch (at Abingdon)

 Windsor, Slough and Maidenhead Branch (at Windsor)

 Discover what is happening at your nearest branch.

What’s On this month

Come to a meeting, join in and chat with other family historians. You'll meet researchers of all ages – and at all stages — from beginners (everyone was a beginner once!) to the more experienced. Everyone is welcome — you don't have to be a society member to come along (and you can join on the night too, should you wish to).

This society and its Branches are not just about Berkshire. The people you'll meet have research interests that range across the UK, even worldwide. Draw on their experience and advice, you'll be surprised at how much you can learn — wherever your ancestors came from.

Illustrated talks at most meetings feature topics likely to interest all family historians, and are given by experts in their respective fields.

Computer related matters feature prominently at the Computer Branch meetings at Woodley — but other branches usually have several such meetings each year too. That's because today's family historians need to know how best to search for, organise and present information using online means and available programs. The principles of sound family history research have not changed, but intelligent use of a PC or mobile device, and the internet have made a dramatic difference to research techniques.

Society branches often have a monthly newsletter, sometimes in print, sometimes electronic. Society members can borrow from a range of family and local history books from branches with their own libraries. Some branches offer society publications for sale. To summarise, wherever your ancestors came from — Branch meetings will help you in your research.  

Provision of public benefit is a legal requirement for all registered charities. It follows that visitors are always welcome at Branch meetings and events. Where they can afford to do so, visitors are encouraged to donate £3 when attending a meeting. This is a suggested fair contribution towards costs incurred by the charity in arranging local activities for you.


Jeanne Bunting explains how best to search a census


Events and Open Days

Meet society volunteers at outreach events held throughout the year in Berkshire and central southern England. See calendar for details.

The society usually supports regional shows like The Family History Show and some family history fairs, open days and workshops staged by local organisations and nearby county family history societies.

At these events, you can usually buy CDs and other items from the growing range of society publications, including indexes and transcriptions of original Berkshire Parish Registers, an index to Berkshire's probate records and full details, with photographs, of monumental inscriptions.

Other items for family and local historians include historic maps, directories, electoral rolls, calendarised Berkshire overseers’ papersBerkshire coroners’ reports and CDs covering Berkshire and the First World War and Berkshire War Memorials.

If you have ancestors in the historic 'old' county of Berkshire, transcriptions in the three Berkshire Baptisms, Berkshire Marriages, and Berkshire Burials CDs (containing some 2 million names in total) are essential finding aids. These CDs include parish records in North Berkshire and the Vale of the White Horse too.

Go to Shop for details of current memberships, events in Reading and society and other publications — and how to buy them.

An extensive Berkshire Search facility (including the publications mentioned above) is usually available on a PC at most outreach events too.


Drop-in advice sessions

Society volunteers run regular drop-in advice sessions at many of Berkshire’s libraries, including those at Abingdon, Bracknell, Cippenham, Mortimer, Newbury, Thatcham, Wantage and Wokingham

The Events Calendar shows advice sessions taking place this month.

Collect your names. dates and questions, bring them with you, and get some friendly help and advice with your research and in breaking down those brickwalls - wherever your ancestors came from.

The society is expanding its outreach programme in line with its charitable objectives. In coming months, look out for details of more events in other locations across historic Berkshire.

The society also hosts occasional open evenings at Berkshire Record Office in Reading, where you will find almost all of the surviving original records of the 'old' Royal County of Berkshire, including those for the parishes of the Vale of the White Horse, and Abingdon/North Berkshire.

Always check date, time and detail of an event before you travel. Very occasionally, there can be a change of speaker or late alteration in arrangements.

Page last reviewed and revised 3rd December 2018

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  • Bracknell and Wokingham

    The activities of the Bracknell and Wokingham branch

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  • Computer Branch


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  • Newbury

    The society's Newbury branch meets in the Hall of Shaw St Mary on the second Wednesday evening of each month

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  • Reading

    The Reading branch normally meets in Tilehurst on the last Thursday of each month

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  • Vale of the White Horse

    The Vale of the White Horse branch meets in Abingdon on the third Monday of each month.

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  • Windsor, Slough and Maidenhead

    The Windsor, Slough and Maidenhead branch meets in the United Reform Church Hall, William Street, Windsor on the last Tuesday of each month.

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  • Meeting Summaries

    Summaries of many past meetings are available on this website. A handful of examples appear below.

    Many more summaries can be read in the Members' Area.

    Every current member of Berkshire Family History Society can access the Members' Area. Note that before you can do so, you need first to register on this website — it is very quick and easy to do this.

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Additional information