Coronavirus update: Society of Genealogists and ScotlandsPeople close

By Rosemary Collins, 17 March 2020 - 10:30am

Family history research centres and archives are closing and events are being cancelled in a bid to help contain the pandemic

Society of Genealogists coronavirus
Britain's biggest family history society has temporarily closed after a visitor reported symptoms of coronavirus (Credit: Society of Genealogists)

18 March UPDATE

The National Archives is now closed to the public, as is the National Library of Wales and the London Metropolitan Archives. It should be assumed that all family history services and archives are closed and events cancelled until the situation changes.


The Society of Genealogists (SoG) has temporarily closed as the coronavirus crisis worsens.

In a statement June Perrin, SoG’s chief executive, said: “We have had a visitor to the Society who now feels they may have the coronavirus (they have not yet been tested).

“He had no personal contact with anyone and wasn’t doing research so no material should be contaminated.

“However, we regrettably feel the time has come to close the Society until further notice.

“We will carry out a deep clean and then keep the situation monitored but we feel we cannot put you, our valued members and visitors, at risk until the escalation and spread of the virus is bought under control.”

SoG, based in Clerkenwell in London, is Britain’s national family history centre and holds the country’s largest genealogy library.

It will continue to offer access to its online resources, including over 11 million records, and staff will work remotely.

It is temporarily cancelling its programme of lectures and other events and will refund attendees.

As daily life continues to be restricted in a bid to contain the pandemic, with prime minister Boris Johnson urging people to avoid unnecessary travel and crowded places, more key family history organisations announced closure or restrictions.

These include:

• The National Records of Scotland has closed the ScotlandsPeople search room, which offers access to its family history records, as well as the historical and legal search rooms.

• The National Archives of Ireland is closed until 30 March.

• The National Library of Scotland remains open but has postponed all planned events in March.

Berkshire Record Office is closed with immediate effect.

• The Manchester Regional committee of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain has cancelled its Northern Conference on 17 May.

Leeds Museums and Galleries are closed until the end of April.

Dorset History Centre has cancelled its Dorset History Day on 28 March.

• All activities of Sheffield & District FHS have been cancelled.

• All Midland Ancestors activities and events have been cancelled.

Oxfordshire FHS has cancelled planned meetings on 23 and 30 March.

Dumfries and Galloway FHS has closed its Research Centre until further notice.

Fife FHS has closed its archive in Cupar Library.

Aberdeen & North-East Scotland FHS has closed its Research Centre until further notice.

• The North of Ireland FHS has closed its premises and cancelled planned courses.

• The Tay Valley FHS has closed its Research Centre.



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