On Friday I registered all the Stead/Steed descendants in and badged them, and we had a talk explaining what was happening and any minor changes to the programme. Then they had plenty of time to wander round looking at all the trees and a wide range of other materials I had brought with me, of relevance to genealogists. Tea and coffee were served, and then we trooped outside the Old Sessions House and had our group photographs taken by the College (they have turned out fine!). What you can't see is the sludge-gulper unblocking the drains in front of us.... After this, a trip to see the computer suite and explain what was available and where to find it.
Bob Young of the Kemp FA (and the Ranger GOON) had brought his vast number of Family Tree Maker CDs with him, which were used extensively throughout the reunion. We also had a number of Family Trees loaded so people could see how the software worked and what can be done with the information. After lunch at the College, we went to the Cathedral where half a group visited the Cathedral Archives for a 3-hour talk, walk around and view the various processes and procedures happening in the archives, and a visit to the glorious Library. After this, Michael had set up a task to identify the date and type of record on 14 microfilms (I didn't do too badly - honest!), with a prize awarded to the highest score. After that, they viewed some Latin documents and helped to understand old handwriting. The other group took the Cathedral tour (pre-booked) which lasted approximately 1 and a half hours. Everyone gathered back at the College for tea, and then there was socialising in the Senior Common Room (with bar) during the evening.
On the Saturday morning the Cathedral and Tours were repeated for groups to be able to do both, and in the afternoon there was free time/computing time and use of the base rooms. In the evening we had our informal Reunion Buffet which was attended by some 65 people, and was a glorious event! I was embarrassed to receive a glorious Caithness paperweight, which my husband, Sam, had been keeping secret from me. Indeed, 2 weeks previously we had gone downtown, and I had chosen it!
On the Sunday we had a day of lectures and visits by Kent FHS, Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies and a local antiquarian book sellers, who all set up stalls and did at least a reasonable trade! Our speakers were Michael Gandy who talked about tracing your Irish Ancestors, followed by Non-conformist sources (we had to stop him talking in the end - but he was BRILLIANT, as always!). After an excellent buffet lunch, we had a most interesting talk by Gillian Rickard on Emigration, followed by Peter Christian of Goldsmith's College who talked about computers and the internet. A most enjoyable day, and well worth the effort! Dinner and socialising afterwards followed again.
On the Monday we had 2 short talks by Dr. Grace Eckley of Colorado, who talked about William Thomas Stead, famous editor and social campaigner, who perished on the Titanic; and Bob Young talked about his early American roots and the problems they faced - both very interesting talks. After tea we were kindly invited to the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies to view their extensive resources and carry out a little research. People came back from there enthusing about the place! After lunch, we rounded up the Reunion with a talk about where do we go from here? The problems facing genealogists for long-term storage of records, be it on paper or computer (It's one of my bug-bears, and no, I won't give it up!). After a cup of tea or coffee, everyone was leaving - and the heavens opened. Wow! Did we have a cloudburst!
The Reunion itself was, therefore, a resounding success and I am already looking at our next Reunion in York....
Several groups of Kemp researchers attending the 1999 International Reunion can be found in the KFA Photo Album