All meetings are held at:

The SOG is in the process of relocating to new premises in central London.


Meetings three times per year (usually March, July and November)

Branch members will continue to hold brief informal meetings online whilst their usual venue in London is temporarily unavailable.
New members are welcome. Anyone who wishes to join the meeting, please email the above address


Branch Meetings via Zoom

Date Subject of Talk Speaker
12th November 2022 – Provisional TBA TBA


Map will be displayed here when venue has been arranged

Reports of Meetings

July 2022

Report of Online Meeting on Saturday 9 July, 2022

Four members enjoyed Paul Richardson’s fascinating and comprehensive talk: “Number 20,103: Finding my Foundling”.

Foundlings were renamed and told nothing of their origins, so Paul’s search had been challenging. In the 1841 census, he located his ancestor as a child, aged seven months, with no apparent connection to others in a Chertsey household. He could find neither her birth registration nor a marriage record for her potential parents. However, a chance reading of an article in a genealogy magazine led him to the records of the Foundling Hospital, held by the London Metropolitan Archives: he learned that the Foundling Hospital often put babies out to wet nurses in the Chertsey area.

We were able to appreciate researchers’ excitement as they explore the original records which hold the key to their searches. Paul found the original petition for admission, made by the child’s great uncle. The document named her mother and the surname of the putative father, and gave some information about the mother’s origins. He also found the baby’s renaming and baptism record, her birth certificate (for “a female child”), the name of her wet nurse (mentioned in the 1841 census), the date she returned from wet nurse to the Hospital, aged four, and details of her apprenticeship.

We learned about the history of the Foundling Hospital which was founded in 1741 by Thomas Coram, himself an interesting figure who worked indefatigably over seventeen years to secure its establishment. When Paul’s ancestor was admitted, a century after the Hospital’s foundation, it had already admitted over twenty thousand “exposed and deserted young children”. Many prominent individuals have been its governors, patrons and physicians. The organisation’s approach, location and name have evolved and changed over time and today, as Coram, it continues to support children and families. Its history is celebrated at London’s Foundling Museum.

The Foundling Hospital’s records are being digitised and will be made available on its website “Coram Story”. These records remain closed for one hundred and ten years, rather than the usual one hundred.

March 2022

Report of London Branch Meeting on 12 March 2022

We met over Zoom and David Butler gave an excellent presentation, entitled “Dirt, Disease and Death in Durham City, 1849”. In common with many urban areas, Durham suffered insanitary conditions which dramatically affected the health and life expectancy of adults and children across the social spectrum. We learned why the problems were intensified in Durham, who was interested in tackling them and how the city came to petition the government for a local enquiry and report into the issues.

David drew extensively from the inspector’s detailed report, and he pinpointed locations on detailed maps, relating the vivid descriptions to current locations. We were transported back to a city of squalid, overcrowded tenements and courtyards, a place with inadequate sanitation, where butchers slaughtered stock in the filthy streets, the air was foul with the stench of blood, sewage and refuse, and rudimentary drains emptied their foul contents onto dwellings downhill.

The inspector recommended the establishment of a local Board of Health which ushered in the development of a system of public health for the city, securing environmental improvements, better health and increased life expectancy.

January 2022

Meeting on line on Saturday 22 January 2022 at 2.30 pm
Three members participated in this brief informal meeting held on Zoom. Apologies for absence were received from four members.

We talked a little about the recent launch of the 1921 Census.

We also spoke briefly about the continuing frustration caused by the lack of information about new premises for the Society of Genealogists.
The next meeting will be held on Saturday 5 March at 2.30pm. This will be the first of our three scheduled meetings for the year. The schedule was sent to members several weeks ago. It is hoped that it may be possible to engage a speaker (by Zoom) for this meeting.

Last updated 14th July 2022