IPA UK launch Family History Special Interest Group

23 Nov 2020


In July 2020, following expressions of interest from several Section UK members who have a wide interest in family history and genealogy, an inaugural online meeting was held. The range of experience of those attending varied between members who have long been involved in such research, to members who are inexperienced and in the early stages of tracing and recording such information. 

It was agreed that a formal structure and purpose for the Group should be identified in accordance with the Section UK Directive on Special Interest Groups (SIG’s).

The Section UK Family History Group was formed. The purpose of the Group is to:

Act as a mutually supportive group of Section UK Genealogists whose aim is to exchange views, knowledge, experience and best practice in the research of Family Ancestry. Where possible, to assist international IPA members in their similar research when it is identified within the boundary of IPA Section UK, thereby building upon friendships and support, a hugely important and increasingly vital part of the International Police Association’.

Entry into the Group is restricted to members of the IPA UK, and at present we have 170 members, a number that is rising.

Regular online meetings are held by the group for everyone to take part in open discussions on their experiences in research and to answer questions that have been forwarded beforehand. There are additional online tutoring sessions designed specifically for absolute beginners new to family history research.  It is anticipated that smaller and more local groups will eventually be formed, so that experienced researchers can mentor the less experienced.

The committee recognise that it is highly likely that research will often cross international boundaries. Therefore, international members would often be undertaking research into the history of their own families, which would reach across into the United Kingdom. The members recognise that there may be instances where international members may seek assistance from the UK Family History Group to clarify certain aspects of their research, to obtain photographic evidence of historical addresses or similar. Within reason, the members have agreed that in the spirit of IPA international friendship, they will endeavour to offer such assistance whenever possible.

It should however be realised that within the United Kingdom, there may often be instances where certain investigations require financial payments to commercial or private organisations to access and recover supportive evidence. In such circumstances, agreement to pay those costs would be required to be made by the member seeking assistance. Importantly, we would anticipate that such members seeking assistance would already be a subscriber within their home country to a commercial family history research facility, such as www.ancestry.com, www.findmypast.com or other similar organisations, and have already commenced such research themselves.

The Section UK Family History SIG would welcome linking with any IPA section who has  also put in place a similar historical research group, including possible online joint meetings and discussions or even international visits when circumstances once again permit such unrestricted travel.  Hopefully, such international links would also result in agreed reciprocal facilities to UK members for research within other countries.

Initial contact can be made through Andy Wright: andy.wright606@btinternet.com

In Friendship,

Denis Hunt, Chairman Family History Special Interest Group IPA UK