The story of migration from, to and within the British Isles

6th to 8th September 2013

Hinckley Island Hotel, Hinckley, Leicestershire LE10 3JA

The Halsted Trust is delighted to invite family historians to attend its 2nd International Genealogy Conference which this year will feature the theme of British Migration; from, to and within the British Isles. Situated in a comfortable and modern hotel near Hinckley, Leicestershire the conference programme will include two streams of talks and presentations from internationally known genealogists and historians.

English: The World in 1897. "The British ...Families that move are always a challenge for family historians. A lucky few may well have ancestors that can be traced to the same place over several generations but most of us end up with pedigrees that show ancestors moving about. They may travel a few miles into another parish or another county or another country. They may have come from just down the road or from the other side of the world. Finding where an ancestor comes from, or goes to, needs skill and tenacity as well as luck. Are there records showing movement into the parish? Does he give the same place of birth information on each census or is there a unique clue to be gleaned from other people in the household, or perhaps the neighbours? Survival of records relating to migration can be fragmentary – if they survive at all. Passenger lists from the Board of Trade show people on long trips from English Ports beyond European waters but what can we find out about those who popped across the English Channel and formed part of the large expat community in Paris and Boulogne in the early 19th Century? As the British Empire expanded, and later contracted, British migrants are to be found all over the world and not just on areas coloured red in Edwardian atlases. They were entrepreneurs, and engineers, miners and musicians as well as colonial civil servants and soldiers. Not every migrant wanted the adventure and many came back as soon as they could.  Often there is more information to be found in the archives of the country where the ancestor ended up than in the UK. The rich archive of records of convicts transported to Tasmania rightly has World Heritage Status but what can we find out about migrants who came into the British Isles from Europe, The Caribbean, Africa  and many other parts of the globe, but who disappeared in large urban environments?

The Halsted Trust invited our conference speakers to consider how and why Britons migrated from, to or within the British Isles. We wanted to know how genealogists could be equipped to tackle the challenges of tracing the origins of migrant ancestors and understand the reasons for their migration. Poverty, religion, ambition, even love are strong drivers of change and wanderlust. Are there new genealogical sources and resources becoming available and what evidence does archaeology or DNA provide for migration? We wanted to look at the impact of Diasporas on Britain and the impact of the British Diaspora on the world. As we look at migrants to the UK’s former colonies we also look at the growing digital resource of migration sources and passenger lists as well as the vast untapped resources within UK archives showing the clues for the ancestor who just turns up in a parish.

Migrants moulded the British Isles and its history. In the year leading up to this conference the Trust has published articles on the conference website about the places our ancestors went to and came from, along with stories about migrants who prospered and influenced history.

No weekend conference can encompass all aspects of migration but we hope the talks at the conference along with the background articles give a flavour of what can be found about your wandering and often elusive ancestors.

Talks at the conference included :-

  • The Exile of Erin. Researching the Poor Irish in Victorian London
  • Faith, Fish, Farm or Family?: motivations for emigration from North Devon 1830-1900
  • Getting the best from passenger lists
  • American Loyalists, Land Grants and Claims
  • Bright lights, big city: a case study in rural-to-urban migration
  • Bounce back – Migrants who returned home
  • Jewish Immigration into and Trans-Migration through Scotland
  • Irish Emigration to North America: Before, During and After the Famine