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Berkshire Family Historian
September 2001

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Berkshire Family Historian
Main Page, September 2001 Contents

Open Day 2001

Sue Matthews and the Vale of White Horse Branch Committee

Society Open Days are a wonderful way of advertising family history as a whole and meeting people with interests in Berkshire families, so we were looking forward to Open Day 2001 with some excitement. As organisers of the Abingdon Open Day this was our bird's-eye-view.

It all happened at Larkmead Sclool on Saturday May 19. More than 400 people signed in, but we know that many couples turned up so the final figure must have exceeded 500. Three came from Australia, one from New Zealand; as well as British visitors from as far away as Leigh on Sea, Poultoi-le-Fylde and Exeter. We hope they all thoroughly enjoyed themselves. One Abingdon visitor who came into the main exhibition hall could hardly believe the buzz around the stalls. 'Are all these people interested in family history?', he asked.

Visitors around the BFHS stall

The morning started with an early rise for our stallholders and a slightly later rise for the organisers. We arrived at the hall at 8am - detailed planning in the months before and on the previous evening guaranteed us an effortless start to the day. Soon the stallholders started arriving, setting up with a reasonable lack of fuss. However, we were rather put out by the lack of good manners by two exhibitors who decided not to come and failed to let us know. There were bookstalls from neighbouring and distant county family history societies, several commercial organisations, a Help Desk and about ten computers, two of them on-line all day, manned by volunteers. We were fortunate in having representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who were able to demonstrate the IGI. The Society Webmaster ensured that we had excellent publicity with a map of the School that was greatly appreciated by many visitors who came from long distances. We also widely published details on many Rootsweb Mailing Lists, together with the Society's web page, newspapers and magazines, radio stations and leaflets put up around the town. 

The Latter Day Saints' display of the IGI

At the end of the day, our Branch had increased its membership and many others joined the Society. We now look forward to the next Open Day in our area.

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Berkshire Family History Society 2001

updated 27th November 2001