There's always lots happening at the History Centre including:
- Thursday 14th November 2013 - Resources for Researching World War 1 with Terry Bracher A guide to researching your military ancestors who fought during the Great War and other material. Limited to 30 people
- Thursday 21st November Lunch Time Lecture Games of Inns and Taverns with Michael Marshman - Discover the games your ancestors played while drinking their quarts in the 17th and 18th centuries. Find out how some people lost fortunes while drinking wine in the taverns
- Thursday 21st November 2013 - Reading 16th & 17th Century Handwriting with Steve Hobbs. Discover how to understand the writing and scripts that you will find in early documents. Our palaeography expert will help you make sense of these archives. Limited to 18 people
- Thursday 5th December Lunchtime Lecture: Anecdotes from the Archives with Steve Hobbs - There are fascinating snippets and sometimes scurrilous stories hidden in some of our documents. Steve has spent a lifetime noting these and will share some of them with you.
- Thursday 5th December 2013 - In the Footsteps of Maud Heath with Dr Kay Taylor. Join Kay, author of Dry Shod to Chippenham: a history of Maud Heath's ancient causeway in north Wiltshire. A fascinating story of a 15th century benefactress of our area . Limited to 35 people
- Thursday 9th January 2014 - Angels & Demons: the Making & Message of the Dauntsey Doom by James Plumtree This lecture examines how the Doom was made, what it meant and for the first time, probes its possible connections with its Dauntsey patrons. Limited to 35 people
- Thursday 30th January 2014 - Brunel, Brotherhood and Early Railway Engineering with Mike Stone Find out how Brunel's route for the Great Western Railway changed the face and character of Chippenham. Limited to 35 people Free lecture but you will need a ticket
- Thursday 13th February 2014 -The Forgotten Tudors with Robert Jago This Henry VIII tends to dominate our view of the Tudors; join Robert as he explores some of the lesser known members of the dynasty. Limited to 35 people
- Thursday 27th February 2014 - Sources for Non-Conformist Families with Margaret Moles Non-conformist records are less well known and less used than those of the Church of England. Our expert will guide you through those available for Wiltshire. Limited to 35 people
- Thursday 13th March 2014 - Highlights of Wiltshire's Archaeology with Melanie Pomeroy-Killinger. For its size, Wiltshire probably has the largest number of archaeological sites of any county. Join our County Archaeologist as she explores some of the best. Limited to 35 people
- Thursday 27th March 2014 - Family life in Lacock Abbey and Village in the 18th Century with Ally McConnell. For Find out what life was really like in the big house and its dependent estate village. Limited to 35 people Free lecture but you will need a ticket
- Thursday 10th April 2014 - Looking at Old Photographs with Michael Marshman. Early processes, paper sizes and other points on how to date early photographs and how to look after these valuable records. Followed by Old Photograph Workshop at 3.30. Bring your old photographs for our experts to date and identify to a free session between 3.30 and 5.00
- Thursday 24th April 2014 - Finding a Missing Person: Records of Adoption with Claire Skinner. One of the most difficult areas in family history research. Discover the trail that can lead you back beyond an adopted family member. Limited to 35 people
All Lunchtime Lectures are from 1.15 to 1.45p.m. You can eat your lunch during the lecture, we provide a water cooler and a hot drinks vending machine. Tickets are £1.50 per lecture - pay on the door or buy tickets in advance from the History Centre
All other talks begin at 2.15 pm. Admission £3.50 (concessions £2.50). Spaces are limited so please buy your ticket in advance. Telephone 01249 705500 or visit our Help Desk at the History Centre. (Payment by credit/debit card or cheque available for the purchase of 2 or more tickets).
Finding Your Family History
A Six Week Course on Sources You can Use 4th October – 15th November 2013
£25 for the 6 week course or £5 each for individual workshops. Each workshop takes place on Fridays from 10.00 a.m. to 12.00 noon in the Education Room at the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre. Biscuits and tea or coffee will provided mid morning.
You will be handling documents and other original material in each session and so we ask you to only use pencils for any note taking. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask general questions and mention problems, but we will not be taking questions about individual ancestral research.
- 1st November Education Records – Admission registers for state-funded schools can exist from the 1870s and school log books may contain achievements (or punishments) of an ancestor. Discover these and other sources. Poor Law Records – Most of us have ancestors who needed help under the provisions of the Poor Laws from Elizabethan times. Discover what sources will be useful to you and find that sometimes the poor may have many details of their lives recorded. With Margaret Moles and Terry Bracher
- 8th November Estate and manorial records – A surprising number of us have ancestors who will be mentioned in estate or manorial records, not necessarily as landowners but as tenants and agricultural workers. These records can allow you to take family history back before the 16th century in some cases. With Claire Skinner
- 15th November Wills and probate inventories – Before 1858 people with property worth over £5 often made a will, mentioning relatives, which were proved by church courts including those of local dioceses. An inventory showing their possessions can be an added bonus. Quarter and Petty Sessions records – these records are a rich source for family history, including records of crime and punishment, lists of gamekeepers and licensed victuallers, land tax assessments, and more. With Robert Jago and Steve Hobbs
- The aim of this course is to enable you to become familiar with a range of sources that will be useful in family history research. You will have the opportunity to handle and use documents with professional assistance and gain confidence to use material that you've not previously considered. The course is designed to provide maximum benefit to people taking the whole course, but it will be possible to book individual workshops if space is available. Owing to the fact the archives relate to Wiltshire and Swindon, this course will be of most benefit to those with English or Welsh ancestry.
Booking - The course is limited to 20 places and pre-booking is advised. To book a place on the course please:
Either: telephone Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre on 01249 705500 and you can pay by credit or debit card over the telephone.
Or: make a booking when you visit us and pay by cash, cheque or card.
If you wish to book an individual workshop we will keep your details and contact you before the course start date to let you know if space is available.
The World in Print
28th September 2013 to 3rd January 2014 at Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre.
A mini exhibition of beautiful prints from 17th-19th century, charting the development of the printing process in Britain. Admission Free. Available to view during normal working hours.