Lea Valley U3A

Family History






Leaders: Mary and Laurence Cole

The group aims to assist members to research their own Family History by getting to know the various resources which are available to members of the public.

For several years, we have met as a group approximately once a month to discuss problems with tracing our ancestors and to plan visits to local archives etc. We make use of the expertise and experience within the group, and regularly use the LVU3A projector to link to online sites to help people break through their ‘brick walls’.

Meetings take place on the first Monday morning in each month, (except for August and Bank Holiday Mondays) at the Hoddesdon Methodist Church Hall, Middlefield Rd., Hoddesdon, EN11 9ED. There is normally ample car parking space at the Hall.

To ensure sufficient money is to hand to pay for the hall hire, there is a fixed annual group membership fee, which is currently 15 per person (2019).

Recent News (September 2019)

With a few new members, we were able to keep the subscription at 15 and also book a speaker for our December Christmas meeting. We asked Kim Ghafur to come and speak on “Childhood Memorabilia” He produced a huge collection of toys and books dating from the 1940s to the 1960s, and most of us were able to say “Oh, I remember that” for at least a few items!

For our November meeting we had another “show and tell” session entitled “World War I in my Family” to commemorate 100 years since the end of the war. Some very interesting stories were shared. For our February meeting our “show and tell” this time was on “The Life and Times of an Ancestor” Both meetings showed the vastly different backgrounds from which our ancestors came.

In October we visited the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) and in March a small group of us went to the Bishopsgate Institute, just across from Liverpool Street Station, where were taken on a fascinating tour by Stefan, a most amazing character with a wealth of knowledge at his fingertips and a deep love of his archives. What he doesn’t have on Jack the Ripper (to name but one example) isn’t worth having!

Much of the rest of the year was involved in planning and preparing for the July Groups Showcase, for which we chose as our theme “My Ancestor was ……” Valerie bravely dressed up in period costume to promote our display, and added a definite something to our display!

December Meetings

Since 2012 we have used our December meetings to do something a bit different. We have booked a speaker to talk about a light-hearted aspect of Family or Social History and followed the talk with Christmas refreshments.  People who are not members of the group can purchase of a ticket for the talk.

2012 – Russell Martin talked about his interesting family

2013 – Maggie Radcliffe spoke on “A Lady and Her Spitfire”

2014 -  Tom Doig talked on “Folk Cures and Remedies”, but was happier to deviate into more family-history orientated paths.

2015 – Ian Waller spoke on “Bread, Gruel and Dumplings – Life in the Workhouse”. This was not exactly light-hearted, but very interesting, and helped us appreciate our Christmas food.

2016 - Mike Brown spoke on “Christmas on the Home Front”, 

2017 – We couldn’t afford a speaker this year, but we were entertained by our members each talking about a particular ancestor.

2018 – Kim Ghafur presented “Childhood Memorabilia”. Toys, books and games from the 40s and 50s.

In 2019 Mick Casson, who spoke at the Spotlight meeting in August, will be talking on “Life in the Tower at Christmas”.  This will take place on Monday 2nd December, meeting from 10 am.  

For more information please e-mail us via :- lvu3a@live.co.uk




'Click' word Top above to return to top of this page.