A warm welcome and a helping hand to anyone researching their roots in Suffolk, land of the southern folk.


Latest Baptism Index CD

Posted by Webmaster on Wed, 5th Sep 2018

Our latest CD, now available, covers Ipswich Deanery baptisms between the years 1650 and 1753 and as the first of this series in the East of the county it should be a great help to those with family roots there. .

Ipswich Deanery comprises 12 parishes with most having surviving registers for the period. For details of each parish and the available years* covered see Suffolk Parishes or visit our Shop where the CD is now available, price £15.32 + p&p

Our thanks to all our team of helpers, mainly at the Suffolk Record Office Ipswich, whose dedicated work on these often difficult to read early registers is much appreciated

Ringing Remembers

Posted by K Pulford on Mon, 16th Jul 2018

1,400 bell ringers died during the First World War. You can honour their memory 100 years after the end of the war by becoming one of 1.400 new bell ringers and joining others across the nation in ringing on the centenary of the Armistice in November 2018.

Just after the war ended, the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR) wrote to all ringing associations across the country to compile the Rolls of Honour. At the time 1,077 men were reported as lost. During the First World War Centenary the CCCBR has been reviewing this list and has discovered a further 323 bell ringers who died in service. In total 1,400 bell ringers lost their lives.

Bell ringing is a British tradition and the British Isles are home to a distinctive style of bell ringing called ‘change ringing’ which produces a peal of bells, part of our national ‘soundscape’. Most people don’t realise that outside the British Isles change ringing towers are few and far between. While the British Isles has some 5,500 change ringing towers, the rest of the world put together has less than 150.

Bell ringing is woven into the fabric of our society, marking rites of passage in our lives including christenings, weddings and funerals. It often marks and forms part of important local occasions and national celebrations - recently this has included the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the London Olympics and Paralympics and the Lumiere light festival in Durham. Bell ringers have regular competitions, and often come together to ring just for the joy of it. Although bell towers are commonly in churches, you don’t have to go to church to be a bell ringer. Bell ringers are a friendly, inclusive community with people of all faiths and none. With 5,500 bell towers in Britain, there’s at least one near you!


By joining the project you will- Be part of a unique nationwide project to honour the 1,400 bell ringers lost during the First World War- Learn a new skill that is both a sport and an art, social, a mental exercise and good for focus and fitness- Be part of a local community and connect with an ancient British tradition- Have the opportunity to ring with others across the country on I I November, marking the centenary of the Armistice


It’s simple to get involved in Ringing Remembers:
Step 1: Email bells@big-ideas.org.
Step 2: You will be connected to your local bell ringing teacher by the Central Council for Church Bell Ringers. Skilled teachers through the Association of Ringing Teachers (ART) network are available across the UK are ready to teach Ringing Remembers recruits how to ring.
Step 3: Learn to ring! Training usually takes place once a week for one to two hours but some fast track courses are also available. It takes an average of three months to learn to ring, although some people pick it up faster than others.
Step 4: At the end of the project (11 November) all new recruits will receive a badge for participation.


By joining Ringing Remembers you will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to ring a bell on the Armistice Centenary.

When the bells rang out on 11 November 1918 they announced the end of the most catastrophic war the world had yet seen. At that time, bells were at the heart of the community, marking events of great significance and as a means of communication long before modern technology connected us. At the end of the war, many people heard about the Armistice through bell ringing.

Mark the centenary of the end of the war by ringing with your community and others across the nation in November 2018.

Become a bell ringer today by emailing: bells@big-ideas.org

East Coast Heritage Event Day 16 June - East Coast

Posted by Janis Kirby on Sun, 17th Jun 2018

There was a great turn out for the Heritage Fair, organised by the Lowestoft Branch of Suffolk Family History Society - Society Chairman Doug Howlett welcomed Elizabeth Talbot from television's "Flog It" who opened the event, and she gave an excellent speech, which focused on keeping our local history, local. 

We were entertained by the Rogues Shanty Chorus and shown how to repair fishing nets by a group of ex fisherman.  Sarah Doig gave a great talk on Daniel Defoe and our very own Ivan Bunn spoke about John Louth Clemence, architect to Sir Morton Peto.

Lots of people took the opportunity of testing their seamanship skills by using the College Maritime Dept's bridge simulator and trying to steer a ship through Lowestoft pier heads,  and Lowestoft bridge channel (some more successfully than others!).  The  Transport Museum brought along an old London Bus, and two local branches of the WIs showed some of their work and explained they didn't just make jam. 

MP Peter Aldous MP also came along and spent a long time talking to the Lowestoft ex-fisherman and visited most of the displays/stalls.  Lowestoft's deputy Mayor Paul Knight spent a long time viewing the stalls and also tried his hand on the bridge simulator (we don't know how well he did and we won't ask

The computer research room was busy all day and many people took advantage of using SFHS experts help trace their ancestors and we are grateful to those SFHS volunteers who travelled to Lowestoft to help out too

We were quite overwhelmed by the number of people who visited on the day, we estimate around 350 people attended.  There were 33 stalls and societies/organisations represented and as we were competing with Gt Yarmouth Airshow, we were delighted with the turnout from both Societies and visitors. 

We had a great bunch of volunteers and a tremendous amount of support from East Coast College.  Thanks to everyone who made it happen

Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride

Posted by K Pulford on Fri, 1st Jun 2018

Photo Opportunity

A Vintage car and members of the Suffolk Family History Society are helping to launch this year’s Suffolk Churches Ride and Stride at a Southwold Church. (previously known as the Suffolk Historic Churches Sponsored Bike Ride)

At 10.45am on Wednesday 27th June Suffolk Family History Society is taking part in a photo shoot along with Suffolk Historic Churches Trust. This is to launch the SHCT annual fund raising event called Ride and Stride. Which is taking place on the 9th September. The photo call is to take place at St, Edmunds Church, Southwold. If any would like to come along and show your support please just turn up on the day. No riding or striding will be required on the day, just yourselves! There will be press and vintage cars there to. So hopefully a good morning will be had by all.

“We are happy to be taking part in this event, as churches play such an important part in family history”, explained Amanda Straderick from Suffolk Family History Society. ” Many of life's events take place in them: baptisms, marriages and burials. Families often attended Sunday school and other special events. To be able to visit these churches and look round where such events took place is like walking in your ancestor’s footsteps. And long may it continue.”

Cyclists and walkers (and photographers) can get more details from their SHCT Bike Ride Local Organisers by phoning 01787 883884 or https://shct.org.uk/ride-and-stride/

Next Volume of Suffolk Roots Added

Posted by K Pulford on Wed, 11th Apr 2018

Last year we made previous volumes of the society's journal, Suffolk Roots, available on the members' area of the web site. The available editions now run from the first published edition up to 2014. In line with that policy we have now made volume 39 (2013/14)  available on the web site.

The text of the main articles are full searchable and linked to images of the relevant page where you can then scroll through the pages of the whole edition. The contents list of each volume is also available and this can also be clicked to get the relevant article. They can be found under the Members' Menu and Search Roots Journal.

We hope you enjoy looking through the old journals and reading the articles which may still be relevant and of interest. You might even find an article which mentions one of your ancestors.

Funding For New Suffolk Archive Service Approved

Posted by K Pulford on Wed, 11th Apr 2018

Suffolk County Council has announced that the Heritage Lottery Fund has approved a grant of £10.3m to create a flagship heritage centre for Suffolk and transform access to the archives. The total cost of the project is expected to be £20m. The county council has pledged £5m for the building and the university, £1m. 

The Hold will offer a bespoke home for the majority of Suffolk’s unique archival collections, as well as state-of-the-art public facilities and teaching spaces for the University of Suffolk. It will provide exhibition space to show off some of the county's impressive achive items. The fund will also cover an outreach programme which will support activites across the county..

To read more fillow this link to Suffolk Archives web site.

Latest Baptism Index CD

Posted by Webmaster on Tue, 20th Feb 2018

Our latest CD, now available, covers Fordham Deanery baptisms between the years1650 and 1753 and so should be great help to those with early ancestors in this NW corner of the county.

Fordham Deanery covers a large area bordering Cambridgeshire & Norfolk and it’s parishes including Newmarket (2) in the south and Mildenhall and Brandon in the north. For details of each parish and the available years* covered see Suffolk Parishes or visit our Shop where the CD is now available, price £15.32 + p&p

Our thanks to all our team of helpers, mainly at the Suffolk Record Office Bury St Edmunds, whose dedicated work on these often difficult to read early registers is much appreciated.

Putting Flesh on the Bones of our Ancestors

Posted by K Pulford on Tue, 6th Feb 2018

At Suffolk Record Office at Bury St Edmunds, a 5 week course which starts Thurs 22 Feb 2018 10:00 a.m.  Cost £37.50

The Suffolk Record Office is offering this course to help you enhance your enjoyment and understanding of your family history. It is being given by Sarah Doig who is well know to many of our members. There are still places available on the course.

A series of five workshops given by experienced family and local history researcher, Sarah Doig. In each session, Sarah will delve into the wealth of fascinating sources of information which provide details of our ancestors, their lives and the places they inhabited. So, if you are either a newcomer to family history, a more experienced user of archives who wants to learn more, or interested in exploring information about the house or locality you live in, these talks are for you.

Proposed Closure of the Lowestoft Record Office

Posted by K Pulford on Mon, 5th Feb 2018

Many people will have seen or at least have heard of the “round robin” email dated 10 January 2018 sent on behalf of Councillor Tony Goldson, who holds Suffolk County Council “The Heritage Portfolio”, (which includes the Suffolk Record Office),

The email was entitled

“Changes to the Record Office service in the east of the county”

The email addressed to “Dear Stakeholder”
It informed the reader that the SRO services in Lowestoft Office would be “condensed”.     
(A euphemism for providing an unmanned “Access Point”.).
Not surprisingly this email has caused fury and a backlash amongst family and local historians and like minded groups in and around the Lowestoft area.
In the current stringent economic climate we understand and have sympathy with the need of SCC to, as stated in Mr Goldson’s email, “fill the budget gap of £56m by 2021”. 
However the Society owes it to its members to challenge this decision and to exert whatever influence we might have to seek assurances from the SRO that a useful and meaningful presence is maintained in Lowestoft.


D A Howlett

Nursing Family History Workshop

Posted by K Pulford on Wed, 24th Jan 2018

Please see below the email received from Molly Fennelly, Royal College of Nursing Library and Heritage Centre about their Family History Day

I thought you would like to know about our family history day on the 10th of February.  

“Mummy, what did you do in the war?” will feature a mixture of talks and practical sessions focusing on how to research your Great War family history.

“Mummy, what did you do in the war?”

Nursing Family History Workshop

Sat 10th February 2018

10:00 – 17:00


Find out how to research your Great War family history, with a focus on nursing and VAD stories. The day will feature a mixture of talks and practical sessions, from exploring nursing records online to creative writing and family history. Speakers include family history expert Kirsty Gray, nurse and poet Molly Case, and Dick and Lisa Robinson, who will talk about Dick's great aunt, First World War nurse Edith Appleton.

Lunch and tea and coffee is included in the ticket price.

To read more, or book a space, see our Eventbrite page. https://nursingfamilyhistory.eventbrite.co.uk

Tickets are £8, but we would like to offer your members a discounted price of £7 with the code FHS2018.