Bringing your family history and heritage together

updated Sunday, 15th September 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.


New websites are getting closer  Avid readers of the latest Berkshire Family Historian may already be looking to check them out. Or trying to access them using details on pages 21 /22 of the magazine.

Volunteers are fine tuning the last details before your new websites go live. Here is a sneak preview of what you will be able to see soon.


Existing sites continue to work for a bit longer. Keep watching this space! And look out for the switch when it happens!

More society transcriptions on Findmypast Just added — over 63,000 more marriage records (and another 89,000 baptism transcriptions due to be added soon too)

Current membership year Look out for your new (pink) 2019/20 membership cards sent with September's Berkshire Family Historian — for all who renewed by the mailing date.

Now is a good time to join the society   Find out more (and — it's vital to renew at once if your renewal is one of the few still outstanding) Act now, don't lose your benefits. 

Who Do You Think You Are? Use BBC iPlayer to catch up with episodes you missed


Events at The Centre for Heritage and Family History

To end 2019, the events theme moves to 'Institutions'. Here are two that feature — Reading Abbey and Reading Gaol.

GaolD Framed website

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

Booking OPEN for events to December. These are public events, open to all. Please book in advance to be sure of your place. Highlights:

  • Thursday afternoon talks From October, the theme moves to 'Institutions' Learn from superb speakers, meet old friends and make new ones, and enjoy a cup of tea and a slice of cake.
    • Next talks — Friday, 4th October The Foundling Hospital with Simon Burbidge Thursday, 10th October Reading Abbey with John Painter — Book now
  • CourseBasic Latin for family historians Thursdays in September FULLY BOOKED
  • Workshops  Next Parish Registers on Saturday, 28th September Book now
  • Family History for Beginners — Course starts on Wednesday, 9th October Book now
  • Heritage walks and tours Places sell out very quickly October 27th walk FULLY BOOKED 

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

View the summer quarter's events Opens as a PDF as above.


Branch meetings and local events

Six society branches meet monthly through most of the year in Abingdon, Bracknell, Newbury, Reading, Windsor and Woodley.Branch meetings resumed this month. Visitors are always welcome at local meetings.

This week Heritage Open Days 2019 brings 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. 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 where to research your family historywith volunteers on hand to help and advise you. About The Centre

FREE access to:

FINDMYPAST  — 63,000 more Berkshire marriage transcriptions added (and 89,000 more baptisms on the way very soon too)  Search Berkshire Marriages 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 — 33.8 million digitised newspaper pages from 1700 onwards. Includes c 33,000 editions of eight Berkshire papers (1770-1999) Search newspapers now

ANCESTRYSearch the WORLDWIDE records

The society can help your research — more helpful information here  How to get started

About the society


Members' matters

SEPTEMBER MAGAZINE  Arrived with your pink 2019/20 membership cards.

MORE SAVINGS Current members 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

OVERDUE RENEWALS 'Last chance' renewal forms for some came with September's magazine. Download a 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 returning 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 still 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 Sunday, 15th September 2019

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