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The Birmingham & Midland Society for Genealogy & Heraldry

County societies play a great part in family history research in Britain. They are non-commercial, voluntary associations of people who share the same interest. They are often the focus for a great deal of project work as well as private research, for example, compiling indexes, transcribing records, publishing journals and books, collecting genealogical records, and so on.

As the name suggests, they are organised (mostly) on a county basis. That is, the "historic" counties, most of which remained substantially unchanged for about 1000 years until changes were made by successive central governments over the last 20-30 years. There are exceptions to the county organisation. For instance, there are several rather than one to cover Greater London, and there are four in the massive county of Yorkshire.

Another exception to the rule applies to the counties of Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. These three counties have not three but one society – the Birmingham & Midland Society of Genealogy and Heraldry, better known as the BMSGH. This Society of 5,000 members, world-wide, is the "county family history society" for Cradley and all the Black Country, and membership brings many benefits, rewards and opportunities. The annual membership fee is £12.50 for an individual or £18 for joint membership, and for that you receive the quarterly magazine, The Midland Ancestor. You need do nothing else but sit back and read it!

However, there are many other services provided by the Society:

 monthly meetings at the Birmingham & Midland Institute and also eight branches that also have programmes of meetings and activities. The local branch for Cradley is the Stourbridge & District, which has a a full and varied programme, including meetings on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at Oldswinford Hospital School. The local Secretary, Carol Moore, has some of her surname interests registered with Cradley Links

 correspondence secretaries- when you join the Society you will be assigned to a correspondence secretary who will be responsible for all routine correspondence with you, offer you (on request) general advice and guidance on your searches in our area, and if necessary suggest names of local searchers who will carry out searches for you at reasonable fees

 a web site at www.bmsgh.org

 a members' surnames interests list, updated every quarter in The Midland Ancestor and regularly published on CD-ROM

 a reference library at the Birmingham & Midland Institute, Margaret Street, Birmingham

 searches of compiled Indexes, including Worcestershire Burials (now fully open, most parishes covered) and Worcestershire Marriages (1600-1837, all parishes, plus Roman Catholic, Quaker and other Non-conformists)

 a massive publications list, of which at least the following should be of interest to anyone researching their family in Cradley:

 CRADLEY CHAPEL (fiche) - (Now St Peter's Parish Church) Baptisms 1785-1839, Marriages 1802-1839, Burials 1785-1844, Banns 1801-1838 £1.70 (UK) £2.00 (Overseas)

 CRADLEY Baptist Church (fiche) Registers & Historical Records 1783/1837 £1.70 (UK) £2.00 (Overseas)

 CRADLEY Park Lane Presbyterian Chapel (fiche) Baptisms 1735/1837 inc. a few burials £1.70 (UK) £2.00 (Overseas)

 CRADLEY (fiche) St Peter's Churchyard Monumental Inscriptions £5.20 (UK) £5.50 (Overseas)

 HALESOWEN - 1851 CENSUS (fiche) Vol. 1. PRO. Ref. HO107/2034 includes Cradley, Lutley, Hawne, Hasbury, Cakemore, Ridgeacre, The Hill, Halesowen, Lapal, & Illy £3.20 (UK) £3.50 (Overseas)

NOTE: The 1851 Census transcription is listed on the BMSGH web site bookshop as fiche based, but is also available in book form. The transcription is by Ann Friend, who devoted herself to transcribing the 1851 for the whole of Worcestershire before she died.

A membership application form, together with full details, is available for download from the www.bmsgh.org web site.

The b.m.s.g.h

B.M.S.G.H Publications

B.M.S.G.H Publications