GENUKI stands at fairs

This isn't a glossy page, just a list of events at which I (Malcolm Austen) have been notified of a GENUKI stand being organised.

Please do watch GENEVA for events near you that you might be able hitch a free ride at 8-)

If you can offer some time to help at one of the events already listed, please contact the person listed as organiser, not me (unless I'm the organiser!).

Organisers: jump to the foot of this page for some publicity material you might be able to make use of.

Future stands

(as notified, please keep me informed!)

FHF = one of Alec Quarterman's Family History Fairs
OFHS = Oxfordshire FHS
OD = Open Day

Date Event Place Organising Assisting

Past stands

Reports on past events
2001-10-06 Oxon FHS OD Didcot Malcolm Austen Part of 'computer corner'

After much Uncertainty and disorganisation, we ended up with 6 computers in our side room. Of course they weren't all dsplaying GENUKI but the two with live telephone connections were seen to display it at regular intervals.

A steady stream of visitors came through (about 500 visited the event but we weren't counting in our side room), many were raw beginners at one or both of family history and the internet and were readily impressed with what was available both on GENUKI and via links from GENUKI.

Coupling my feelings from this event with Tim's comments below I could readily accept that attending smaller fairs, if possible mixed in with other computer displays, is more productive that attending large fairs where the audience will mostly already know about us.

2001-09-29 FH Day Grimsby Central Library Fiona Poulton - any offers?
I've not heard whether this went ahead.
2001-09-08   Llandudno Vic Roberts Phil Stringer
No report received yet.
2001-09-02 FHF Maidstone Tim Arguile Kevin Cole

Perhaps it was the dull, drizzly weather, perhaps it was because it was still the school holidays, perhaps it was just Maidstone. Whatever the reason the family history fair at Maidstone was not a great success. The number of visitors to the fair was reasonable during the morning but by 1.30 had tailed off and never recovered. By 2.30 there was hardly a punter to be seen. I doubt if we gave away more than 20 - 30 bookmarks. Kevin Cole and I attended with two PC's and a laptop one of which was running a Powerpoint slide show, "An Introduction to GENUKI," while we demonstrated the site on the others. If anybody would like a copy of this then please get in touch. Unfortunately Kevin had not received the CD with the mirror of the site from Phil so we were restricted to those pages which we had downloaded on to our machines. Most enquirers were interested in Kent, Sussex and London and we were further limited by the paucity of pages for these counties.

If I had had to travel any distance to this fair I would have been very disappointed. If it is staged at the same time next year I would not consider it worth attending.

Tim Arguile

2001-06-16 Wilts FHS OD Warminster David Hawgood -

I (David Hawgood) put together a static display of GENUKI Wiltshire pages. As the open day was in a hall adjacent to Safeways, we had a sprinkling of people who just wandered in and weren't aware of any of the organised family history information, so I talked through parish registers, IGI, transcripts and indexes, 1881 census, etc. I described the structure of GENUKI to quite a few experienced family historians. The most valuable part of this day was meeting people from Wiltshire FHS and other indexers - I met people I had corresponded with for 20 years. There were also ten other family history societies and local history societies represented, and I also talked to a local antiquarian bookseller. Being present and talking to their Heritage Officer also raised our profile with Wiltshire County Council.

David Hawgood

2001-05-19 Berks FHS OD Abingdon Malcolm Austen -

Worth doing to wave the flag but it would have been nice to have someone to relieve me occasionally. Still, it only took me 5 minutes to get home to a cup of tea.

As was commented at the SoG fair, these local events get a higher proportion of people who are only just starting out. I actually had a good mix of people who had no knowledge of GENUKI and those who knew some or even a lot. I think there should be at least a dozen or so extra people accessing our pages as a result. Being in a corner of the 'computer room', I didn't do the roaring trade that my neighbours did (1851 BRK census and Reading LDS with Family Search CDs) but I had a steady stream with the exception of three or four quiet spells. Fortunately I had a robust radiator nearby to chain my laptop to so I was able to wander of for a few minutes 8-)

We should be waving the flag at these local events. It only needs two people and a laptop ... but I've done my quota until the Oxfordshire Open Day in October now.

Malcolm Austen.

2001-05-06 SoG Fair RHA Halls, Westminster Malcolm Austen Kevin Cole
Rob Thompson
David Hawgood
Peter Christian
Martin Edwards
No report as yet but here are some pictures.
2001-04-08 FHF Stockport, CHS Phil Stringer David Hawgood
Vic Roberts

Vic Roberts, and David Hawgood volunteered to help me (Phil) run our stand at the Stockport Fair, and I'd also persuaded Judith Sellars from the M&L FHS computer branch committee to help as well. The Fair was held in the Town Hall which was well known to many of the attendees as the North West Fair was held there for a number of years until we outgrew the space available.

Although we hadn't been told beforehand where out table would be, it didn't take long to find out and we had one deliberately against the outside wall, as that is where the only power points are to be found. Vic provided the Clwyd FHS cloth to go on the table, and I brought a laptop, a VGA splitter and two screens. Thankfully the M&L FHS loaned us a couple of boxes to raise the screens as that made them much easier to see, and increasing the browser font size was useful as well. We had copies of all the GENUKI pages on a CD I can now produce for these events which has relative file links to enable navigation between our sites without a network connection.

In order to clearly identify us all as being the GENUKI stand I had a few A4 posters with logo and URL laminated in plastic, and we each had badges with our names and the logo on them. So passers by could hopefully clearly see who we were.

The fair opened at 10 am, and as it was the first sunny day for some time there were plenty of attendees. Many were looking to see what we were selling, and we did have a few copies of David's book on show. So we soon found out the nearest stall actually selling it (North Cheshire across the aisle) and we redirected them there (they had to find more stock at one stage!).

I think some of the attendees found our approach different, asking anybody who came past if they had found us on the internet, and there was still a proportion of internet users who had never come across us. It was always satisfying to show them information which they said they couldn't find. We gave out bookmarks to all those who didn't know the URL and the supply I had just lasted the day. I don't know how many I brought but a stock of 100 is what I'll take to future events.

We did get a number of queries about Irish research, and the minimal nature of a lot of our Irish counties and we could have done with an expert in that area. However when it came to Welsh queries, Vic was our expert and although Vic isn't a Welsh speaker the place names tripped off his tongue very well which was very impressive.

In conclusion it was a very successful day, and both the attendees and we learnt from it. So if you are a county maintainer who hasn't helped run a stall please try and help run one as it can be done now with minimal equipment, just your time. And talking to the users helps give you ideas about what to concentrate on when deciding what information to provide on your pages.

Phil Stringer.

2001-02-25 FHF Grays, ESS Kevin Cole Tim Arguile

The day started off with a thin layer of snow to make you want to stay at home. The stand was manned with Tim Arguile and myself Kevin Cole, we had two computers and my laptop, once the doors opened at 10.00. There was a steady flow of people for about 4 hours, with a lot of intrest on our GENUKI stand, lots of people saying how good the site was and lot of people saying they had not found the site before, but took away a bookmark, and said they would be having a good look. There was about 980 people through the doors and we gave out about 70 bookmarks, and I think we must have spoken to most of the people through the door. A very good day but we saw no other maintainers and it was a bit hard on the feet.

Kevin Cole.

Kevin Cole and I flew the flag at the Family History Fair at Thurrock today and agreed that we would do the same at Maidstone on September 2nd if there is a stand available. I would however reiterate your comments of a few weeks ago. We were rushed off our feet between 10.00 and 1.30 and the help of a third person for even a small part of the time would have been greatly appreciated.

Tim Arguile.

2001-02-18 FHF Kidlington, OXF Malcolm Austen David Hawgood

David Hawgood joined me (Malcolm) in the mists of Oxfordshire for this fair. I have photos of the entrance to the hall and car park on the Oxfordshire FHS web site but they would not have helped anyone on this day, a plain white image would have been more representative.

The day, not surprisingly given the weather, got off to a slow start but by 11am we were getting a steady stream of people to talk to and that lasted pretty much up to 4pm after which things went very quiet again. The people who stopped to talk to us were a typical mixture. Some already knew the site well, some knew of it but had not delved in very deeply. Some were even heard to comment that they found it difficult to find things although they generally seemed to accept that was a measure of how much there is there.

As David observed, it was good to also have plenty of passers who did not know about GENUKI and who could be introduced to it.

I had an interesting conversation with a passer who was puzzled/confused by why we should be willing to make all this available for nothing. (My reply was 'Because we're mugs!') Quite separately, when I wandered round the other stalls, the 'Gensearch' man was evidently puzzled as to how we managed the inevitable costs of all this web hosting. The idea that people should pool resources (large and small) into the formation of large, distributed system seemed quite a novelty.

On a technical level I was very pleased with my new laptop setup. I will create up a page to describe how I set it up to provide near seamless operation among the sites I had on my hard disk - just in case anyone else wants to copy the setup. (Now available in mirror.html.)

I didn't spot any other supporters at this fair, but then it was much smaller (only about a third of the size) that the Bracknell fair.

Malcolm Austen.

2001-01-28 FHF Bracknell, BRK Malcolm Austen Iain Kerr

Iain Kerr and myself manned the stand 10-5 and got a good deal of interest from those passing. Some knew of GENUKI, many didn't or had heard of it but never ventured in. Many left with a declared intention of trying it.

A couple of passers were evidently confused by our not having anything to sell 8-)

Two other 'supporters' I spotted were Barney Tyrwhitt-Drake and Chad Hanna who were both busy running other stands.

Malcolm Austen.

2000-11-19 FHF Norwich Mike Bristow Pat Newby

Pat Newby and I took advantage of the free stand offered by the Family History Fair organisers and put up a display about GENUKI at the one held in Norwich last month.

We just kept it to a static exhibit (ie. no computer+CD). Most of our local Norfolk pages were available in folders for people to browse in.

Free bookmarks with the web addresses were provided and were appreciated by the public.

Mike Bristow.

2000-10-21 OFHS OD Kidlington, OXF Malcolm Austen Wendy Archer
Les Binns
Neil Bradshaw
Dave Hastings
Colin Hinson
Alex McGahey
Jill Muir
Barney Tyrwhitt-Drake
This wasn't just a GENUKI stand, I have been involved in running a computer corner (actually a substantial side room) at the Oxon FHS Open Day for about 3 years now. Each has been assisted by Colin Hinson bringing not just a PC with GENUKI (and more) mirror but also one or two data projectors to increase the visibility.

This year we had 6 or 7 computers running with pretty much something for everyone. As last year the 1881 census was popular and at one point could be seen on at least 4 screens! I should add that this was all in addition to the Oxon FHS search services whose computers were running next door in the bar.

Something over 400 people came to the event and I guess that at least half of them came to see what was going on in the 'computer room'.

Thanks everyone who helped, Malcolm Austen.

2000-09-24 SoG FHE NEC Malcolm Austen Kevin Cole
Martin Edwards
David Hawgood
Colin Hinson (& family)
Dave Huddart
Rosemary Lockie
Phil Stringer

(photographs) The Guide Book entry described us as follows:-

"Our organisation provides a free non-commercial Internet information service at for U.K. and Ireland Genealogy. We have many maintainers contributing to a linked overall structure of over 20,000 web pages - including diary of events, addresses, descriptions, transcripts and much more."

And at the end of a hectic day, when for me the time had gone all too quickly, it was agreed that GENUKI's first foray into the world of Family History Fairs had been an unqualified success.

GENUKI was represented by Malcolm Austen, Kevin Cole, Colin Hinson, David Hawgood, Dave Huddart and Phil Stringer, all of whom had agreed beforehand to be there, with myself (Rosemary Lockie), and Colin's wife Pauline turning up on the day to sport a sticky label with GENUKI logo. Martin Edwards was also able to join us from time to time, although he was more fully engaged on the Cambridge FHS stand.

SoG had been kind enough to give us a stand free of charge which would otherwise have been empty. It had being booked by the Oxfordshire FHS for the Saturday only, and Malcolm being on the Oxon FHS committee spotted the opening for GENUKI to fill. From then on, he did an admirable job in designing the setup, handling the administration, and organising the rest of us to take part. Thanks, Malcolm, for making it all so worthwhile.

We had three tables, with Oxford FHS very kindly lending their dark blue tablecloths, holding 5 PC systems, with a GENUKI mirror on Colin's machine, and GENUKI contents available on CD as well, networking, and a printer. We also had the benefit of two projector screens, which I found especially effective.

Whilst we did seem to suffer in comparison with some of the stands in not having anything to sell(!), we did nevertheless stay busy all day, receiving plenty of enquiries. Questions ranged from finding a Thomas ALLISON in Northumberland (from a lady who was desperate to prove she had some Border Reevers in her ancestry!) to the location of an Iron Foundry in Glossopdale (Derbyshire). We also had a supply of "bookmarks" - featuring the GENUKI logo, and the URL - to give away, thoughtfully provided by Malcolm.

I understand that for a Family History Fair, attendance was quite low - with only 3,500 people visiting for Saturday and Sunday combined, with the bulk of the visitors being on the Saturday. On Sunday, the weather, or the venue, or both may have contributed to fewer people turning up. There was heavy rain in the morning, and after missing the turning off the M42 for the NEC myself, and then getting hopelessly lost inside the site, I admit I was very tempted to go back home! I am, however, extremely glad I didn't, and it was a pleasure to meet so many of the other maintainers.

In terms of absolute figures, Malcolm's assessment, having being there both days, was of around 1,500 visitors on the Sunday. He started off with 700 GENUKI bookmarks, and had 550 left at the end of the day, so something like 10% of attendees left with our bookmark, with of course many more who didn't need telling what the URL is!

Fired by our success, we are now considering the opportunities for a GENUKI presence at other Family History Fairs. Plans are already underway, with Malcolm volunteering to approach Alec Quarterman (of Family History Fairs), to discuss the possibility of a single table free of charge at future FHS Fairs, with whoever of the GENUKI maintainers are local, and willing to run it. Volunteer-Maintainers should expect to provide an own PC, but a reasonably current GENUKI mirror on CD can be provided so neither a mirror on hard disk, nor a telephone line will be essential. Otherwise, all you need is yourself, and if Sunday's experience is anything to go by, it will be great fun.

In the meantime, the next event will be the Oxfordshire Open Day, on 21st October, where Malcolm will be demonstrating the 1881 Census "CD-less", and browsing "telephone line-less"; and Colin will be flying the GENUKI flag with a PC and projectors. So if any of you happen to be in the Oxford area then, do call in and lend a hand.

Rosemary Lockie.

Publicity material

Look also at Phil's collection of publicity material at

Here is a single bookmark as a 22k .gif file (right click to save):

It is also available as a 67k Paint Shop Pro file and I have created a 456k .pdf file which places 7 bookmarks onto a single A4 sheet of paper.