This September Ancestry.co.uk sponsored the Exodus conference (the story of migration from, to and within the British Isles). Polly Rubery attended the event on behalf of Ancestry.co.uk below is an account of her experience…
There were, for the most part, two streams of talks, and I really wished that I could be at both. Fortunately they were mostly filmed and are going to be available to Conference Delegates on the Exodus website, so I am looking forward to catching up on those I could not listen to over the weekend. There are a lot of other very useful articles on the website, so it is worth taking a good look at it as you will be sure to learn something.
All the talks that I attended managed to instruct as well as entertain me and I have come away with some good pointers on how I can follow up in my own research. The time span of the talks covered pre-history until recent days, and thus the venue, standing as it does on one the main Roman roads Watling Street, was a very apt venue. The speakers came from all over the world, and were all so good it is impossible to single out any one of them. But a special mention must go to Craig L Foster for his professionalism in dealing with a microphone which was very temperamental even though straight from the box.
The hotel too played its part – the Rotunda where we took coffee and met for a drinks reception before the banquet reminded me of the sort of decor and scenery seen onboard the Titanic, but thankfully we were not sailing to a watery grave!
The relaxed Brasserie provided us with plenty of space to chat and network over breakfast and lunch; and this was carried on over coffee and tea breaks and in the Exhibition room where too many tempting goodies were on offer – I came home with two second-hand books and one new one!
Then like magic the lecture rooms were transformed into a superb setting for our more formal evening meals, both with an after dinner speaker to continue our theme. Friday night’s speaker started by warning us that her talk was more humorous than instructive, but I ended up with several useful notes to follow up.
The Saturday evening banquet tables sported plenty of wine glasses and bottles of wine supplied by Ancestry.co.uk. We used them to drink toasts to HM Queen Elizabeth II, the sponsors and of course the Halstead Trust who organised it all.
The most poignant image from the whole weekend was the one displayed on the screen before the speaker Dr Janina Ramirez spoke on “The issues of Migration and Intergration in Anglo-Saxon England”. It’s nothing at all to do with the subject matter, but part of her own Polish Family History, reminding us that the reasons for migration are many, but that they often resound down the generations that follow afterwards.
As I drove homewards down The Fosse Way, another major Roman route still very much in use today, I reflected on all the population movements over the years which have brought us all too where we are today. So thank you once again to everyone involved and who made the weekend such a great success.
Authored by Polly Rubery.
Emma Pulman is a Social Media and digital Marketing Executive for Ancestry.co.uk. Based in Ancestry's London office in Hammersmith, Emma regularly tweets and posts on Ancestry's Facebook page.