Better late than never, here is my review of the first ever Family Tree Live show held at Alexandra Palace, London in April this year. The show was organised by Family Tree Magazine and sponsored by The Family History Federation, FamilyTreeDNA, My Heritage, Family Search and The Society of Genealogists.
The first thing that struck me was how impressive the venue was and how it suited the theme of the show perfectly. A bit further out than other venues, from central London, it was still perfectly accessible by public transport, plus there was the added bonus of a free shuttle bus between the tube stations and the Exhibition Hall. Having climbed the hill on the first morning, the bus back was very welcome. The history and splendour of the building itself fitted in perfectly with the shows theme.
Onto the show itself. The whole “feel and vibe” to the show was extremely friendly and welcoming. It felt like a family event and had a real community spirit about it, which was a real credit to the organisers. They managed to convey the warm and friendly feel of the Magazine and brought that feeling to the show itself.
The two days were extremely busy, but it had the feeling of not being rushed when you were talking at the various stands. I have been to some family history shows and felt “rushed” when trying to talk to the various stand holders.
It was a real added bonus that all of the exhibitors were in some way connected to family history. Far too many shows are guilty of accepting exhibitors to fill spaces and generate revenue, which have no direct bearing to “our hobby” of family history, this made a really refreshing change.
Also included with the extremely reasonable entrance price (£10 per day if you were a Magazine subscriber), were the lectures and workshops, this made the entrance fee and both days amazing value for money. Added to that, the quality of speakers and workshops were outstanding. Most were packed out and offered a vast array of choice, from DNA research, to a whole range of family history based topics suitable for the beginner, intermediary or supposed expert. I managed to attend a large number over the two days and can’t speak highly enough about the quality of the lectures and workshops.
A large number of family history societies were present, which was good to see and I was able to stop and chat to a number and they all appeared to be busy both days. The DNA stands were also extremely busy and it was great to get the chance to speak to DNA legends Jonny Perl and Michelle Leonard and came away with lots of new DNA work to explore.
I was lucky to meet up with lots of friends old and new, at the various #AncestryHour #TweetUp #MeetUps. The wonderful idea of The Village Green and the seated area, made it a great place to catch up and meet friends.
I managed to speak to a lot of different people over the two days, exhibitors, lecturers and attendees and overall everybody spoke very highly of the whole event, which was a testament to the events organisers. Putting a show together of this magnitude is no mean feet, so a massive thank you to the organisers and all those in the background that run their socks off to make these events happen.
Overall the whole show ran very smoothly and had a really great feel to the two days, considering this was the first ever Family Tree Live it was a great debut performance. Everybody is already talking about Next year’s show, which is a true reflection of how successful the whole event was.
My lasting memory was how “visual” everything was…………but that’s the subject of another blog, so watch this space!
Special thanks to Family Tree Magazine, Else Churchill from Society of Genealogist’s, Author Nathan Goodwin, Speakers Marian Burk Wood and Katy Barbier-Greenland and Mike from Old Railway Accidents, for providing some excellent photographs for the blog.
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