Who Do You Think You Are? Live! Conference to Cease

Sad news. One of my favorite genealogy conferences will not be held again. The Who Do You Think You Are? Live! conference that was held every year is shutting down. This is the conference that was held lately in Birmingham, England, although in earlier years it was held in London.

NOTE: This has nothing to do with the Who Do You Think You Are? television programs that appear to be very successful in a number of countries. Only the 3-day, in-person conference is being terminated.

You can read more in the Who Do You Think You Are? magazine at: http://bit.ly/2pZQe6l

The following announcement was released today by the Society of Genealogists:

Who Do You Think You Are? Live event to cease.

The Society of Genealogists is sorry to learn today from Immediate Media that the long standing show Who Do You Think You Are? Live will no longer take place.

This event has been a milestone in the genealogy community for over 10 years and the Society has been an integral partner to bring its celebrated team of volunteers to Ask the Experts; the successful programme of genealogy talks and the Society of Genealogists’ Family History Show which remained at the heart of the event.

The Society of Genealogists will, of course, continue to work with the genealogical community and, hopefully, will be looking to see if it can once again run its own Family History Show for the benefit of family historians.

We have valued our contribution to the show and look forward to opportunities offered to us in the future.


But why? Did they give any kind of reason?


See the blog post from Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine:
The show was making a loss.


I’m sure I’d seen dates advertised sometime over the last couple of days for the 26-28 April next year. Trouble is I can’t remember where I saw them ….


    I did put the dates in my blog post reporting on WDYTYA Live:


    In an e-mail from the organisers dated 13th April they were asking for feedback to aid with planning for next year and we were told at that time that the dates and venue had been confirmed. Clearly something changed in the interim.


    Thanks Debbie, yes it was your blog I read on Monday, along with the fact the attendance figures overall were higher this year. No doubt unfortunately any new event the SOG organises will be back down in London again, which is a shame for those of us who do not live in the south east.


So sorry to see it go. And just when I was planning to attend next year! Combining a research trip with the event. It’s hard to believe the venue would be unable to see a profit, but I suppose it is so.


Lower attendance and less profitability seems to be the trend for conferences. The genealogy community needs to figure out how to hold virtual conferences that would include speakers and vendors. A similar need was expressed by a poster to the Technology for Genealogy Facebook page recently, when the person asked how he or she could hold a Go To Meeting-type family reunion.


It is sad that we are becoming stay-at-home genealogists. Getting to meet fellow enthusiasts and friends was one of the highlights of this year’s show for me.


Having attended the very first SoG May Fair in the Horticultural Halls in Victoria, London, I am sad the latest incarnation of this show has failed. A reported 13,500 footfall over a three day period certainly doesn’t sound much, though how many more that was compared with attendees at Olympia or even Victoria I don’t know. Don’t think it’s just that there are more records online than of old, but even Family History Societies are finding life a bit difficult. And there appeared to be representatives from some “odd” non-gen organisation at the recent one – Cats Protection and Canine Trust to name just two. Perhaps it had become more about the magazine ads than genealogy. Caravanning and Tourism might be of interest, as might a comfy chair, but it still seems a bit way out to me. Would you go to NEC WDYTYA if you wanted a caravan or a cat?


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