August 2015 marks National Family History Month in Australia. Convenor Shauna Hicks details what to expect, and why the month-long celebration needs to be marked in every genealogist’s diary.
For individuals researching their family history, National Family History Month (NFHM) is a great opportunity to participate in events happening in your town, suburb or even your street. In recent years there’s been a variety of online events as well.
For genealogy and family history societies, it’s a time to promote your society to the hundreds of thousands of people across Australia who are researching their genealogy and family history and to help them understand the social context within which their ancestors lived. Reports from previous years indicate that many societies gain new members during August while participating in NFHM activities.
NFHM is an initiative of the Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations (AFFHO). NFHM has been an annual event since August 2006 when it was celebrated during the first week of August. Due to its ever increasing popularity, NFHM was increased to the whole month of August from 2013.
Societies do not need to be a member of AFFHO to participate. Anyone can take part, and you don’t need to organise a special ‘one-off’ event. Participation can be as simple as calling your August monthly meeting a NFHM meeting, or one of your library open days a NFHM open day and entering the event onto the calendar at the NFHM website. Or you can organise a special event such as a book launch, seminar, beginners session or anything else associated with genealogy and family history. Archives and libraries are also welcome to participate in NFHM.
By adding your events to the calendar many more people will see your family history activities and help to make them even more successful. Many archives and libraries are regular hosts of NFHM events in August but it would be wonderful if there were even more.
Individuals can see what’s happening near them by visiting the events page for their state and then checking for their postcode, but also check surrounding postcodes because some events may be worth the travel time. Remember, too, that there are online events that you can do in the comfort of your own home.
NFHM has some great sponsors and in 2015 our major sponsors are AFFHO and Ancestry. The National Archives of Australia is again the launch sponsor. In addition there are numerous prize sponsors who have donated prizes for both societies and individuals, including Inside History magazine!
Genealogy and family history societies with events in the NFHM web calendar are automatically entered into the prize draw. Individuals can enter from 1 August 2015 until 27 August and the prize draw will be on 29 August 2015. Please see the NFHM home page for terms and conditions and the sponsors page for details of all the prizes and sponsors.
To find an event near you, visit the National Family History Month website.