Beginners’ Family History Course – online

In the difficult times we all face due to the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, Berkshire Family History Society is delighted to offer you this online Beginners’ Family History Course, which replaces the previously scheduled face to face Beginners’ Course on the same date. Enjoy this from the comfort and safety of your own home, and wherever you live, whilst still being able to contribute fully to the discussion. Individuals who had already booked for the face to face course will be contacted to advise of the change and to give them the option of having their monies refunded. If you had booked and haven’t heard from the society by 27 March 2020, please check your spam box and then email

This course comprises of six sessions: Tuesdays 14th, 21st and 28th April and 5th, 12th and 19th May. All sessions run from 7pm – 8.15pm.  

The course is aimed at those new to researching family history and includes where to start, how to progress and good research practice. Learn how to work with core records of civil registration, censuses, parish registers and modern wills. Discover the different genealogy websites, the content they offer and their strengths and limitations.

Places are limited, and pre-booking is required, as full joining instructions will be sent to all attendees in advance. Bookings close one day before the event.

To be able to join in this course, you will need a computer (or laptop/tablet) which has built-in or separate speakers and a built-in or separate mic.  Ideally you will also have a webcam fitted on your device or as a separate attachment. Your computer needs to have a browser and be connected to broadband. You will be asked to download a small piece of software the first time you join to enable you to use the online conferencing software. This will be sent to you in advance. Technical help will be given to those who need further assistance, please contact  

To book – scroll down.

Book Event

Non-members £35

For non-members of Berkshire Family History Society including member's guests

Available Tickets: 8
The Non-members ticket is sold out. You can try another ticket or another date.
Members £28

For members of Berkshire Family History Society

Available Tickets: 8
The Members ticket is sold out. You can try another ticket or another date.

Speakers

  • Chad Hanna
    Chad Hanna

    Chad is a highly experienced family historian, having been in and out of Record Offices since the 1970s. He has honed his understanding of family history at conferences in both the UK and the USA. Chad has a one-name study of his mother’s Failes family who arrived in England as the Fenlands were being drained in the late 17th century. He has also made some headway with his father’s Irish ancestry.

    Chad has a particular interest in both probate and electoral records, and also has a deep understanding of records produced by family history societies, having worked professionally for the Federation of Family History Societies for eight years using his skills as a computer professional. He holds a BSc(Eng) in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Imperial College and a City and Guilds Certificate in High Education teaching.

  • Gillian Stevens
    Gillian Stevens

    A veteran family historian, Gillian has worked closely with the Federation of Family History Societies, Findmypast and The National Archives enabling her to build an impressive experience of archives and their accessibility. She is an experienced tutor of beginner family history courses and also runs workshops for more experienced researchers on family history websites and wills and probate, to name but a few.

    Gillian has a degree in Business Studies and a City and Guilds Certificate in Further Education teaching. She has served regular five year terms as a trustee of Berkshire Family History Society since 2007 and chairs the society’s Computer Branch. She also facilitates discussion in an informal monthly natter group and helps researchers who require more technical assistance with their family history research as part of a ‘Tuesday evening team’.

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Berkshire Family History Society works to meet the needs of those researching their ancestry across the UK and overseas – as well as those looking for former relatives in historic Berkshire.  You do not need to be a member to benefit.

The society offers:

  • Research Zone in central Reading that is free to use and open to all

  • Free access at The Centre for Heritage and Family History to online resources like FindMyPast, the 1939 Register, The Genealogist, the British Newspaper Archive and Ancestry (the worldwide edition)

  • Regular free help and advice sessions

  • Meetings in Abingdon, Bracknell, Newbury, Reading, Windsor and Woodley — open to everyone

  • Online discussion list for members  informed answers to research queries and advice from experienced researchers

  • Members’ Area with data and other information not readily accessible elsewhere

  • Indexes and transcriptions of Berkshire’s historic records on CD — parish registers, probate documents, monumental inscriptions, maps, First World War history and more

  • Quarterly magazine, the Berkshire Family Historian, for members

  • a chance to join in project work, recording, transcribing and helping to preserve records

  • Links to the research experience, advice and support of members worldwide

  • Opportunities to volunteer and so help others with their family history