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Monday, 20 February 2012

WDYTYA? Live - what's in it for the Irish?

In just four days, the world's largest family history knees up will be underway at Olympia, London.

As you'd expect, WDYTYA? Live features most of the major online databases and general genealogy suppliers – Ancestry, Find My Past, Genes Reunited, Origins, Society of Genealogists, My Heritage – as well as a vast range of resource providers such as archives, libraries, family history societies and specialised institutes and organisations.

There are also a goodly number of exhibitors ready to sell you all manner of genealogical goodies, maps, books, training courses, magazines, software and nostalgia.

This being the show launched on the back of the eponymous TV show, there will also be a few celebrities hanging around. Other negatives are the crowds, the noise and the heat, and the shock of the £22 entrance fee if you haven't bought an advance ticket.

But there's plenty of plus for Irish genealogy researchers. This year the organisers have arranged the Irish exhibitors into a dedicated Irish section (top left of the hall). You'll find the majority of the following exhibitors in that section, but a handful will be on stands in the main run of the hall:
  • Association of Professional Genealogists of Ireland (APGI)
  • Certificate of Irish Heritage
  • Eneclann
  • Find My Past Ireland
  • Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS)
  • National Archives of Ireland
  • North of Ireland Family History Society (NIFHS)
  • Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)
  • Roots Ireland (IFHF)
  • Tourism Ireland
All these exhibitors will be on hand to offer guidance and direction to your Irish genealogy research, whatever stage you're at, but there's also a good offering of relevant workshops across the three days. I won't list them all, but here are the stand out ones, for me, on each day:
  • Friday, 10.30-11.15am: What's online for Ireland? with Paul Gorry, MAPGI
  • Saturday, 11.00-11.45am: Irish land and property records, with Helen Kelly, MAPGI
  • Sunday, 1.00-1.45pm: Early Irish Marriages, with Roz McCutcheon, IGRS.
All the workshops will be held on the first floor Gallery.

If you're going along to the show, it's worthwhile planning your day in advance. You'll find floor plans, a full list of workshops (the Irish-themed ones are identified by a shamrock) and other helpful information on the organiser's website.