The History of the Essex Society for Family History

Part 1 - The 1970’s

In 1974 John Rayment, our Founder, first Chairman and late President attended a Genealogical Conference in Canterbury. Much to his horror, so he said, he was talked into forming an Essex Family History Society. A committee was arranged and John was asked to be the Chairman.

The inaugural meeting took place in the Shire hall, Chelmsford, when it was decided that the name of the Society would be The Essex Society for Family History. Dr. Emmison, then County Archivist, agreed to be President and Donald Jarvis, our immediate past President was elected Vice-Chairman.

About eighty people attended the inaugural meeting and from this the Society was formed in September 1974. The first magazine was published in November 1974.

At the beginning, meetings were held in the evenings in the Council Chambers, Basildon and then at the Quaker Meeting House, Rainsford Road, Chelmsford, usually on a Monday or Thursday. On occasions meetings were held in other parts of the County.

During the first four years Sir John Ruggles-Brise was our Patron. Since then the each Lord Bishop of Chelmsford has been our Patron.

In 1977 the first Saturday afternoon meeting was held in Christ Church United Reformed Church, Chelmsford, in one small room. This quickly became too small and eventually we spread over the whole of the ground floor.

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