Annual Conference & AGM

The 2024 Conference and AGM will be held on Saturday 11th May and will be held at
University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9RH.

There are to be three speakers on subjects; Y DNA,
The Little History of Sussex and Medieval Manuscripts & the History of Writing.

Bookings are now open. Click on the link below.


How about a Staycation?

If you are travelling to the Conference from outside Sussex, you may like to extend your visit. You could explore where your ancestors lived, as well as spending time in the East and West Sussex Record Offices. And, of course, there is the SFHG Library.

Speaker details

Martin McDowell

What about the title 'Why Y-DNA?'
This talk will explain the benefits of Y-DNA and how it can be used to help you with your family history.

Martin McDowell is the education officer of the North of Ireland Family History Society. He is a consultant working with a charity helping people to find birth family and a member of the executive committee of the Family History Federation.



Martin McDowell is the Education and Development Officer for the North of Ireland Family History Society and a member of its Council of Trustees. With traditional research opportunities in Ireland more limited than in England (due to the destruction of many genealogical records in the early 1900s), Martin turned to DNA and successfully used it to break through his existing brick walls. He has been promoting DNA testing for a number of years by increasing awareness through a series of talks and lectures. He teaches courses and workshops on various aspects of DNA, provides one-to-ones and also manages a busy local DNA interest group. He encourages the creation of other DNA interest groups and is also an administrator of the highly successful North of Ireland DNA Project.

Kevin Newman

Kevin Newman is a Sussex-born teacher, tour guide and author of over 15 local books and novels as well as author of 'Clock Towers of England'.  He has co-written GCSE History textbooks and resources.  He contributes and has contributed to a number of publications, including 'Sussex Life' and 'Sussex Living' and is most widely known for his 'Sussex/ South East Miscellany' history columns in 'Sussex and Surrey 'Pages' magazines across both counties.

'The Little History of Sussex' is his first hardback history book and his first book published by The History Press, which came out in December 2023.  It aims to pack a whole lot of history into a relatively small book at just 183 pages.

It covers at a pace the county's history from prehistory to the present and differs from earlier history books of the county by aiming to also engage younger readers than those who usually read history books.  It does this by assuming not all fans of history are old enough to remember 'Thatcher, Toto and Trumpton' and continues to explore the quirkier and lighter-hearted side of the county's recent past. Source material is varied but also uses newspaper archives into the 21st century, especially from the county's 'Argus' newspaper.

It provides reminders of our earliest ancestors, our past role as a battleground for Vikings and Normans and as gateway for the latter.  It moves on through our rural past, our fishing heritage, our time as playground for princely playboys and as destination for holidaymakers up to the modern Sussex of today.  Overall, it covers the county's history in a swift, engaging and lively sweep for those who like their history fresh, funny and full of intrigue.

David Wright

From inscriptions to print - a history of writing and the survival of texts.
An illustrated journey from Roman capitals to the age of print. Ancient texts were subject to the vagaries of scribal ignorance, illegibility, fashion and deliberatedestruction. Initially written on long and cumbersome papyrus rolls, they were transferred to the modern book format in the fourth century. The copying process wasslow and fraught with many diffi culties, and it is chiefl y thanks to the educational reforms of Charlemagne that so much survives today. This revolution onparchment - the world's most enduring writing material - ensured the survival of many of civilisation's greatest literary masterpieces as well as producing artisticmasterpieces of the highest complexity and beauty in the form of illuminated manuscripts. The fourteenth-century Humanists searched diligently for lost texts andgave the world their new Italic script. In the 1450s the cultural revolution of moveable type ushered in a new age of information transmission, but how reliable werethe manuscripts now being committed to print for the fi rst time and then discarded? Now was born the age of textual criticism which occupied some of the mostacute scholarly minds the world has seen.The advent of steel pens in the later 1700s offered some relief to weary scribes, but even in the 21st century the passagefrom the author's manuscript (typescript?) to the printed edition is often far from straightforward - the world will always require diligent proofreaders.

The 2023 AGM

Clare Hall Perrymount Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 3DN

pop in for a visit

The Keep
Woollards Way, Brighton, BN1 9BP
10am - 4pm
10am - 4pm
10am - 1pm
10am - 4pm



Jean Spilsted
10 Fairford Close, Haywards Heath
West Sussex, RH16 3EF

Find Out More