Who Do You Think You Are? Live! Show at the NEC in Birmingham, England Next Month

One of the largest genealogy events in the world will be held in a few weeks in Birmingham, England. I believe it is the largest genealogy conference in the UK and is the second-largest in the world. (RootsTech in Salt Lake City appears to be the largest.) This show typically attracts about 13,000 family historians and others with an interest in history and in researching their family trees.

You can see my report from last year’s Who Do You Think You Are? Live! event at http://bit.ly/2nFrBXm.

Who Do You Think You are? Live! will be returning to Birmingham’s NEC from Thursday April 6 to Saturday April 8, 2017, and budding genealogists as well as experienced family historians are invited to attend. They will have the chance to discuss their family history research with a range of genealogy experts and industry leaders.

The event will also see more than 130 of the top exhibitors and local family history societies descend on the NEC from all over the world to share their expertise and provide access to their billions of genealogy records.


The National Exhibition Centre (NEC), in Birmingham, England, is an ideal location for an event of this size. First of all, it is huge. I suspect they could simultaneously hold ten or more events the size of Who Do You Think You are? Live! without difficulty. Next, travel to the NEC is very easy. It is located in the middle of the UK’s motorway network, providing easy access by automobile. In fact, 75% of the UK can reach the NEC within a three-hour drive. In addition, travel to the NEC by train is brilliantly easy as the NEC is located less than a ten-minute walk from Birmingham International Railway Station.

Finally, Birmingham’s International Airport is only a short distance away and is even connected by a free and fast air-rail link to Birmingham International Railway Station located at the upper level of of the airport’s Terminal 1. You can get off the airplane and be in the convention center within twenty minutes or so, with no taxi required.

The BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? programme has become hugely popular and inspired many people to dig into their own family histories. The results of that interest may be seen at this annual event.

On Thursday April 6 at the show there will be unseen footage and a chance to meet the team behind the popular Danny Dyer’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? The session will reveal the surprising twists and turns that Danny’s research took, from his working-class roots in London’s East End to a stately home and the heart of the Tudor Court.

The Victorian Slum

The matriarchs from the hit BBC Two series The Victorian Slum sees Mandy Howarth and Heather Potter present at the show on Friday April 7. They moved their families into a poverty stricken Victorian London where their genealogy became a reality. They’ll talk about what life was like in the slum, why they did it, what they learned and what it means to really explore the day-to-day life of your ancestors. They will be joined by local historian Carl Chinn who also appeared in the series.

Sir Tony Robinson will also be attending the show on Friday 7 April, hosting a talk with the Ancestry team. Ancestry sponsors the show.

Sunetra Sarker

On the last day (Saturday) visitors will have the chance to hear about Casualty actress Sunetra Sarker’s Who Do You Think You Are? story and ask her questions about it. In Sunetra’s episode she reconnected with her Bengali heritage and discovered her family connections to the most turbulent episodes in India’s history.

“My experience was a gift of a lifetime. To be submerged in a family history I had never cared to know about opened my eyes to the strength of characters that had been in my family. I look forward to sharing my thoughts with the audience at the live event.”

Else Churchill of the Society of Genealogists offers a presentation.

The Society of Genealogists offers a huge variety of Workshop Programmes. This year will feature four workshop theatres at the show – SoG Theatre 1 sponsored by Ancestry and SoG Theatre 2 in partnership with Family Tree DNA, SoG Theatre 3 and The Education Zone. The schedules for three of those theatres is available at http://www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com/workshop-timetable. You might want to book your workshop tickets in advance for the best value for money as workshops in the three theatres will all be at £3 on the day (£2 in advance). I expect many of the presentations will be sold out in advance, however.

The fourth theatre, called the Education Zone, will host short presentations on a first come first served basis so tickets are not required for this zone.

Erick Knowles of Antiques Roadshow

Visitors will also have an opportunity to have family treasures dated by Antiques Roadshow experts Eric Knowles and Marc Allum. There will be plenty of other experts on hand to help with dating photographs, and a dedicated military area offering advice to those researching ancestors involved in conflict.

As you can see, Who Do You Think You Are? Live offers workshops, speakers and a huge range of experts to create a one-stop shop for the 13,000 family historians who will descend on the show again this year.

You can learn more about this year’s event on the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! web site at: http://www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com. You might also want to read my report and look at the pictures I took at last year’s event at http://bit.ly/2nFrBXm.

A video from the event of two years ago will give you a “flavour” of what it is like to be at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live event and may be found at https://youtu.be/Z76Sa6wHUh0 or in the video player below.

I will be at this year’s event and, for the first time ever, Pam, the editor of this newsletter will be with me. When not walking through the exhibits hall or attending presentations, I will be based in the MyHeritage booth. Please drop by and say, “Hello.” Even if I am not there, you still could say “Hello” to Lawrence Harris and his team of experts from MyHeritage. I think you will find them to be an excellent group to talk with and they are all genealogy experts as well.

See you there?

One Comment

In addition to the workshops listed there are also three days of DNA talks in the DNA workshop sponsored by Family Tree DNA. The DNA workshop schedule can be seen here: http://www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com/workshop-timetable-dna


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