November 2019 sees the 25th anniversary celebration of the Society, which was formed when a group of like-minded genealogists got together to swap ideas and thoughts. The get-together was in October and very informal, but at the second meeting in November, a Committee was formed and the Society activities started. Judith Riley was elected as the first Chairman, and with an enthusiastic Committee, the group began to attract members from all around Coventry and the surrounding areas. It wasn’t too long before word got around and people who had previously emigrated all over the world were joining.
Four Chairman have been at the helm prior to me. Judith Riley, Geoff Barwick, Jim Crabtree and Tony Doughty, and all have moved the Society to higher levels throughout their terms in office. One name which keeps popping up is that of Frank Bagley. He has done a lot of work for CFHS and has been an ‘Honoury Member’ for a number of years. Many other people and members have also come and gone, but with over 170 members today, the Society is still as strong as ever. This is further shown at every ‘Monthly Meeting’ with an average of 55 people attending each month. We are still enjoying some excellent guest speakers (which we summarise talks in each Journal), and trips out to various places of interest.
The Society has also been active in keeping historical data alive and in the public domain, by transcribing local records and transferring them to searchable files. These records are invaluable to would be genealogists, both old and new, in their search for answers. London Road, St Paul’s, Holy Trinity and more burial records have been completed as well as Apprentice Enrolments and Freeman’s information. There is even some social history in the form of a CD which includes quite a number of ‘Pawnbroker’ transactions.
Books were the main source 25 years ago and ‘CFHS’ published many of these about local areas such as Spon Street, Spon End and Foleshill, and another excellent read about a Midwife’s experiences around the Chapelfields area of the City. All these are still available in our bookshop, although we are now starting to issue them as a readable CD if people prefer.
It is a long time since the Society formed, but there are quite a few members who were there at the first meeting and remember in detail how it all came about. It is an honour for me to now be part of this, which is why the Anniversary needs celebrating. We hope to see as many members as possible at the event in November, where we can mull over the enormous amount of hours we have all spent delving into our ancestor’s pasts. I wonder what they would think?
Chairman, Coventry Family History Society
Coventry Family History Society will be exhibiting in the Old Grammar School during Heritage Open Days in Coventry.