Bringing your family history and heritage together

updated Wednesday, 21st August 2019

News and Events...

The society aims to provide you with products, services and an inspirational and exciting programme of events and activities whether you are a member or a visitor.

Latest news

New membership year Started 1st July (runs to 30th June 2020). Members enjoy savings on society publications, on event bookings and on subscriptions to online genealogy services.

It's the right time for you to join the society (and renew — essential — if you have not yet done so)  Find out more

The Trustees thank those many members who renewed promptly. Timely renewal saves volunteer time and reduces society costs. If you haven't renewed yet, renew today — don't lose your benefits. 

Who Do You Think You Are? Episode Six features Paul Merton  BBC 1 9.00 pm 26th August


Events at The Centre for Heritage and Family History

In the last quarter of 2019, the theme moves to 'Institutions'. This photograph neatly captures two of the topics that feature — Reading Abbey and Reading Gaol.

GaolD Framed website

"Reading Gaol" by Spicygreenginger licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Booking is open NOW for events from September to December. Always book in advance to be sure of your place. These are public events, open to all. Highlights:

  • Thursday afternoon talks superb speakers, meet old friends and make new ones, and enjoy a cup of tea and a slice of cake. The current Summer series features 'Shops and Businesses' . From October onwards, the theme moves to 'Institutions'
    • Next talk — Thursday, 22nd August Jack of Newbury with Dr David Peacock  In Tudor times, Jack of Newbury produced cloth on an industrial scale, earning great wealth and high status. Truth and fiction intertwine in the story of this figure who was of national significance. Book now
  • CourseBasic Latin for family historians Thursdays in September FULLY BOOKED
  • Workshops  Next one Parish Registers on Saturday, 28th September Book now
  • Family History for Beginners — Course starts on 9th October Book now
  • Heritage walks and tours Places on tours and walks sell out quickly Book for the October 27th walk 

View all the summer quarter's events Opens as a PDF in new window

View events for the October-December quarter Opens as a PDF in new window


Branch meetings and local events

The society has six branches that meet monthly during most of the year in Abingdon, Bracknell, Newbury, Reading, Windsor and Woodley.

Branch meetings resume from September. Visitors are always welcome at society meetings.

Coming in September Heritage Open Days 2019, and a host of events in Berkshire and across the rest of the country. The society is welcoming visitors to The Centre over six Open Days in September. Full details here


Discover your ancestors at The Centre

The Centre for Heritage and Family History

  Reading Library cleaned resized3 website

Research Zone opening times:

Monday: 11.00 to 16.00 (not Bank Holidays)

Tuesday: 10.30 to 16.00 and 18.45 to 21.00

Saturday: 10.30 to 14.30

and the last Thursday each month from 10.30 to 16.00

The Centre for Heritage and Family History, (2nd Floor, Reading Central Library, Abbey Square, Reading, Berkshire RG1 3BQ)easy to reach and fully set up for talks, events, meetings, courses, workshops.

In the Zone

WHEREVER your ancestors came from, this is the place to research your family historywith volunteers on hand to help and advise you. About The Centre

FREE access to:

FINDMYPAST  Search Berkshire Baptisms now

THE 1939 REGISTERKey 20th century records

THE GENEALOGIST with Charles Booth Poverty Maps of London just added to Map Explorer data you may not find elsewhere  

BRITISH NEWSPAPER ARCHIVE — 33.3 million digitised newspaper pages from 1700 onwards. Includes 32,000+ editions of seven Berkshire papers (1770-1999) Search newspapers now

ANCESTRYSearch the WORLDWIDE records

The society can help your research in so many ways — more helpful information here  How to get started

About the society


Members' matters

MORE SAVINGS Current members (2019/20) now enjoy useful savings in three key areas. Discover more in the Members' Area.

NEW MEMBERS  Looking to uncover the real family history? Find your ancestors — and JOIN THE SOCIETY

MEMBERS YET TO RENEW Renewals for 2019/2020 are now well overdue (unless you took up the extended offer from April 2019 or later).  Download your renewal form or Renew online now

Looking for your Scottish ancestors? Check out the weblists.  And discover the best Irish websites for your research too. Just two of 250 useful items in the Members' Area. Not registered? Do it now

Gift Memberships will be back soon.

Follow  @BerkshireFHS   on TWITTER  and link up with Berkshire Genealogy on FACEBOOK


More News and Resources

Irish Civil Registration additions. You can now search online for births (1864-1918), marriages (1864-1943) and deaths (1878-1968) at Irish Genealogy.

Irish Genealogy News   Claire Santry's blog

National Archives of Ireland — new website design Learn more

DNA testing For more about DNA in family history, visit the ISOGG wiki

New Archive Card launch details awaited. Latest details

Great Migration Parish Map American Ancestors has a new web mapping app showing last known (English and Welsh) parishes of confirmed emigrants to New England from 1620 to 1640. Find the eight people who  in 1638 left Caversham. More details

New York passenger arrivals 1820-1957 Ellis Island website


Publications for Berkshire and elsewhere

County-wide CDs:

Berkshire Baptisms ◊  Content and coverage

NEW 4th Edition Berkshire Marriages ◊  Places and dates

Berkshire Burials ◊  Content and coverage

NEW Kintbury Parish Registers CD  Buy

Members enjoy valuable savings on society publications and when booking their own place for an event

Buy publications (some for other counties too) at The Centre for Heritage and Family History or  visit the online Bookshop

Volunteers are vital

Unpaid volunteers run every aspect of society operations.

New volunteers are always welcome. With The Centre for Heritage and Family History now set up in Reading's Abbey Quarter, it has never been easier to make a real difference by volunteering (whether at The Centre or working from home). There are roles for everyone, whatever your expertise, interests and experience.

Being a volunteer is fun, socially and personally rewarding, and fulfilling. Give a little, gain a lot Come and chat with us - or send an email

updated Wednesday, 21st August 2019

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Unless otherwise stated, all text and images on this website are the copyright of Berkshire Family History Society Trustees and article contributors — and may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system (other than as part of normal web browsing and backup processes), or transmitted by any means without the prior written permission of the rightsholders.

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Reviewed 30th December 2018


Berkshire Family History Society is registered as Charity No. 283010 with the Charity Commission


This service is provided by Berkshire Family History Society and its wholly owned subsidiary Berkshire Family History Enterprises Ltd. The Society is a registered charity in England and Wales (No. 283010) and the Company is registered at Companies House (No 4733795). Berkshire Family History Society is registered under the Data Protection Act (Registration reference Z6777187) with the Information Commissioner's Office

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Revised 24 April 2017

Maps & Place Names

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