ABOUT US AND WHAT WE DO ...
We are a group of family history enthusiasts based near the East Suffolk coast, midway between Felixstowe and Lowestoft, covering an area broadly defined by our Map, which includes the towns of Aldeburgh, Leiston, Saxmundham, Framlingham and Orford. However, we are the only family-history group within quite a large part of Suffolk. We celebrated our tenth anniversary in 2018.
You can follow the many links on this page to expand on what is only outlined here.
Since 2014, we have been meeting monthly, usually in Leiston, with a speaker on matters of interest to family historians. Subjects include, but are no means limited to, local and regional social, legal, ecclesiastical, military and industrial history — offering an illuminating background to our ancestors' lives. Usually the speakers are from outside, but we also have a rich source of experience that we tap from within the Group.
We almost always meet on the third Monday of each month (except August and maybe December), but this may vary to accommodate the regular commitments of a particular speaker or the availability of meeting rooms: variations are highlighted on that event's publicity, but we now almost invariably meet at Saxmundham's Fromus Centre at 2:30pm. The entry charge for meetings is just £3.00 for visiting non-members, but only £1.00 for members — tea, coffee and biscuits included. Experienced family history researchers are at most meetings to help with your research. Please see our Events pages for our upcoming dates. Recent events are reported upon in our News blog and members' Newsletter — and often more immediately on Facebook.
We are always on the look-out for speakers for our Monday talks. If you are a historian and are interested in giving us a talk, whether in person or online over Zoom, please contact our Programme Secretary, who is listed on our Contact us page.
Our Events pages also occasionally publicise similar events staged by other local organisations that we believe our members may be interested in attending. Those events' normal public entry charges (if any) of course apply.
"The Group promotes the collection of records related to family history in the Alde Valley (Suffolk) in particular, but also from a wider area for the use of members. The Committee purchases equipment and other resources as they see fit to enable members to access family history records and databases."
To this end, in Leiston we have a Help Centre, in which to store our equipment and research data. It holds a wide variety of records for Suffolk and for other counties — a downloadable Index of Resources is available, so see our Index page. All these resources can be referenced by members (or visitors) on alternate Saturdays — please see our Help Centre page on how to arrange this.
Members receive a free quarterly Newsletter bulging with reports on the Group's recent events; previews of future events, both of the Group and of other genealogy organisations (such as Suffolk Archives, formerly the Suffolk Record Office); information on newly-available archive material and limited-time discount offers at UK and international genealogy websites (such as Ancestry, Family Search and FindMyPast); requests of help, from elsewhere in the UK and abroad, in tracing their ancestors from this area of Suffolk; and other articles of interest. The Newsletter is typically 12 to 16 pages long — and is certainly more than worth the Group's annual membership fee alone! It is emailed (or posted, at a charge) to members; circulated to other local history-interest organisations, media and publicity; and sometimes given away when we feature at other local events. You can view a couple of past numbers of our Newsletter via the «Downloads» page.
Between Newsletters, urgent email updates of local events, genealogy-website offers and information are also from time to time emailed to Members.
However, if you prefer to receive your Newsletter and/or General Meeting Agendas by post, there is a charge of ✉︎£5.00 per year to defray our printing and P&P costs — and these Members miss out on the email updates too.
Our annual Open Day is held in the Garrett Room of the Long Shop Museum in Leiston, in February or March — see our Events pages around the turn of the year for more details. This of course didn't happen in 2021 or 2022, nor in Spring 2023 during a changeover in the Committee. In the meantime, you can …
In addition to the various activities above, we also undertake some field work. Please see our Church Records page for more on what we have done so far.
For solo research, this website also has many links to sites of interest in genealogy, local and social history, and related subjects. Of course, we have no responsibility for the content of those websites.
As a family history group affiliated to the Family History Federation, we can also have your "surnames of interest" posted on their website for potential distant relatives to contact you. Please read more here.
New members are always welcome – please visit our Membership page.
|St Margaret's Leiston war memorial||Note-taking in Benhall churchyard|
|A selection of pictures offered to accompany an article in the "Suffolk Magazine", February 2020|
|Just click on the poster for an expandable view.|
|The website's "old" name has since been withdrawn|
|and replaced by the 'slicker' avsfhg.org.uk|