AGRA Conference September 2016

"Demolishing Brick Walls"
16/17 September 2016 - St John's College, Cambridge

AGRA's first national conference was preceded by a Reception and Dinner in the 16th century College Hall. Attendees enjoyed a 3 course dinner which included Water Pudding (a College signature dish with ice cream, raspberries and an orange tuile biscuit).

Patric Dickinson, Clarenceux King of Arms presented Ian Waller (past AGRA Chairman) with a certificate recording the Council's decision to elect him as an AGRA Fellow

After dinner the President of AGRA, Patric Dickinson, Clarenceux King of Arms presented Ian Waller (past AGRA Chairman) with a certificate recording the Council's decision to elect him as an AGRA Fellow.

Sarah Williams, Editor of "Who Do You Think You Are" magazine then gave an after dinner speech about her personal interest in genealogy, how she became Editor of the magazine and how family historians can have articles published in her magazine.

The attendees then retired to the College Bar for some liquid refreshment and networking. Overnight accommodation was available inside the College.

Next morning the Conference started at 9.30am in the Fisher Building – a modern Conference Centre accessed via the Bridge of Sighs over the River Cam.

The Conference was opened by Sharon Grant (AGRA Chair) and it was chaired by Patric Dickinson.

Sharon Grant, Patric Dickinson and Colin Chapman

The speakers were John Titford ("Barking up the Wrong Tree" - a series of cautionary tales), William Spencer (using 19th and 20th century military service records to overcome stumbling blocks in research), Rebecca Probert (the crime of bigamy), Colin Chapman (using pre-1841 censuses to break down a brick wall) and Helen Osborn (proof in genealogy).

There was also a choice of workshops on DNA (Debbie Kennett), Business Records (Eric Probert) or Problem Solving with a panel of AGRA experts (Ian Waller, Les Mitchinson, Simon Fowler, Antony Marr, & Geoff Swinfield).

John Titford (Barking up the Wrong Tree - a series of cautionary tales)

The Conference closed at 5.00pm and Sharon Grant thanked all those involved in organising the event.

Subsequently many comments were made online including:

"Just a brief email to offer you and the team congratulations on a splendidly-organised AGRA conference. A model for others to follow, I think."

"I would like to record my thanks to the organisers, speakers and other delegates for a thoroughly enjoyable day. I was made to feel most welcome despite not being a "professional" and would recommend any future event to both professional and enthusiast alike."

"Just wanted to say thank you for a really fabulous conference and weekend in Cambridge. It was a real thrill to sit in that beautiful hall on Friday evening and the dinner was absolutely delicious. I enjoyed all the workshops and learned a great deal from them. A really marvellous weekend. Look forward to the next conference!"

"Many thanks to you and all the team for organising such an interesting and enjoyable conference today. The lectures and the workshop I attended were engaging and informative."

The conference organising team

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