Coronavirus Update





Latest status 4 January 2020

With the announcement of the national lockdown, we'd like to advise all our members that the society's premises are now closed temporarily for the duration. As always, we understand that this will be disappointing, but necessary for the safety of our members and staff.

In the meantime, please click the link above to find out all about our services during closure. Our premises may be closed, but you can still ask research questions, attend our online events or contribute to a home volunteering project. There are many ways to participate and contribute to the life of your society and to progress your family history research.

We unfortunately cannot give an indication of when we are likely to reopen for member research, but ask that you keep an eye on this page and our facebook page. for the most up to date information about our status.


Status 16 December 2020

With the announcement of the Tier 3 restrictions in London to commence on Wednesday 16 December, we'd like to advise all our members that the society's premises are now closed temporarily for the duration.

As always, we understand that this will be disappointing, but necessary for the safety of our members and staff.

In the meantime, please click the link above to find out all about our services during the closure which will be available throughout the Christmas-New Year period (except for bank holidays).

Our premises may be closed, but you can still ask research questions, attend our online events or contribute to a home volunteering project. There are many ways to participate and contribute to the life of your society.

We plan to reopen for member research on Tuesday 19 January. This is subject to restrictions, so please check this page before planning your visit to confirm our status and hours of opening.


Status 27 November 2020

London will be under Tier 2 restrictions from 2 December.

The Society will be open for member research on the following days:

11am-4pm Saturday 5 December

11am-4pm Tuesday 8 December

11am-4pm Tuesday 15 December

Members wishing to attend the society on these days will be required to book in advance via our events page.

All the usual safety measures will be in place and our Covid Visitor Guidelines can be found on this page of our news blog.

We look forward to welcoming members back to the Society to access our on-site resources.


Status 2 November 2020

With the announcement of the national lockdown to commence on Thursday 5 November, we'd like to advise all our members that the society's premises will be closed temporarily for the duration of the lockdown.

This Tuesday 3 November will be our last day open to researchers, so if you have made a booking for that date you may still attend to carry out your research.

If you have booked a research session at the library from next week onwards, you'll receive a cancellation notice, and we look forward to the time when we can accommodate your booking after the lockdown is lifted.

We understand that this will be disappointing, but necessary for the safety of our members and staff.

In the meantime, please click the link above to find out all about our services during the closure. Our premises may be closed, but you can still ask research questions, attend our online events or contribute to a home volunteering project. There are many ways to participate and contribute to the life of your society.

As always, please keep an eye on this page for further news of our status.


Status 20 October 2020

We’d like to inform all members that the upgrading of London’s covid status to Tier 2 will not affect our opening hours.

We will still be open to Society members for research from 11am-4pm every Tuesday and on one Saturday per month.

As always, we are keeping measures in place to ensure that researchers can work safely at our premises, and we appreciate our visitors booking in advance and adhering to our guidelines.

Please refer to our status statement from 11 August (below) for our Visitor Guidelines and for details on planning and booking your visit. 

Keep an eye on this page for further updates to our status.


Status 11 August 2020

We are pleased to announce that the Society of Genealogists’ Library is now open to SoG members only on Tuesdays starting 4th August with staggered sessions opening from 11am-4pm and 11.30-4pm

To begin with the number of members in the Library will be limited to a maximum of 20 persons per day and places must be booked in advance prior to visiting. Booking for sessions can be made on our website here

For the time being, it is intended that the Society will open for Library use each Tuesday and Saturdays 5 September, 3 October, 31 October, 28 November. Back office project volunteers only will be welcome in the Library on Mondays. We hope to work up to opening for more days and to more people as we become more confident of providing a safe and workable experience for staff, volunteers and members and as resources allow. During the days when the Society's library is closed to visitors our staff and volunteers will continue the service provisons offered during lockdown. Please see above.

Visits must be booked at least a week in advance and will be made available up to two weeks before the date of the visit on a rolling weekly basis every Saturday morning. Each booking is for one person only on a first come, first served basis – you will not be able to bring anyone with you, unless they book a visit themselves. Please be considerate of others when you book – we may cancel your booking if you exceed our reasonable limit of one booking per week.

We will not permit anyone to enter the building who has not pre-booked a visit, so please do not travel if you have not been able to book as we will not be able to let you in.

When members come into the Library, they will notice some changes. The Society has introduced safety and social hygiene measures to ensure the safety of our staff, members and friends. The toilets and cloakroom will be open so you can wash your hands and all hygiene guidance will be adhered to. Lockers will be open for you to store your belongings and take as little into the library as possible. There will be a cleaner in the building when we are open to make sure all surfaces stay clean and safe. We would ask every visitor to use the sanitisers and wipes provided around the building and to follow social distancing measures and one-way procedures as indicated by signs around the building.

Computers and Microfiche/Microfilm readers have been spaced around the building rather than just in the lower library. When you book a members’ visitor session through the website you can  reserve a reader or computer as appropriate at the same time. 

Films and fiche will be available as normal and we would ask that all books, microforms, CDs etc be returned to the returns trolleys and boxes provided after use so they can be cleaned and or quarantined as appropriate

Our maintenance team is erecting safety screens at reception and enquiry desks. We have marked out the common room safely, but we may have to ask people not to rush in all at once. Unfortunately, we won’t be making the fridge, microwave, vending machine, cups or kettles available so remember to bring a flask or water with you. (But still only in the common room!) The delis and sandwich bars in Goswell Road are open. 

Current  regulations in England require face coverings to be worn in libraries and public reading rooms from 8th August and it is recommend face coverings are worn in these settings now. The regulations strongly encourage wearing a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet. You can remove your face covering in order to eat and drink, if reasonably necessary, and in the Common Room only which is designated for food and drink. You must put a face covering back on once you  have finished eating .

Our staff will be wearing masks for your protection and we would appreciate it if everyone who is able would please wear a face covering in face to face situations within the library, shop and reception (such as when seeking staff assistance) and where social distancing may be limited.

We will ask everyone booking a visit to agree to a new Society of Genealogists’ visitor guidelines below, aimed at encouraging all visitors to do their bit to help us ensure everyone’s safety.

A downloadable PDF of SoG  Coronavirus Visitor Guidelines can be downloaded here

Coronavirus Visitor Guidelines

  • With special measures in place for the foreseeable future, we would ask everyone planning a visit to Society of Genealogists’ Library to help us ensure everyone’s safety by committing to our new visitor guidelines
  • As a visitor to The Society of Genealogists you agree to:
  •  Pre-book your visit at least a week in advance, and not travel to our building without having received confirmation of your booking
  •  Book a maximum of one visit in a week, to allow other researchers the opportunity to book
  •  There will be two staggered session 11am-4pm and 11.30am-4pm. We would ask those booked on the later session NOT to arrive early to ensure safe entry for the earlier session
  •  Please show membership card to reception as you arrive so your visit can be recorded as per the requirements for notifying the NHS Test and Trace Service  - see below
  •  Delay your visit if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms
  •  Follow the government guidance on travelling, especially if using public transport
  •  Observe the safety measures that we have put in place
  •  Practice social distancing while on site and in our building
  •  Wash your hands before and after visiting our Library reading rooms, and regularly throughout your visit
  •  Use the wipes and sanitisers provided to wipe down computer keyboards and other equipment before and after use
  • Wear face coverings within the library, shop and reception and where social distancing may be limited.
  •  Be patient and polite with our staff while you visit
  •  Notify us in advance, where possible, if you are delayed or unable to visit
  •  Accept that our services on site are limited
  •  Acknowledge that we may ask non-compliant visitors to leave
  •  Accept that The Society of Genealogists has taken every reasonable step to create a COVID-19 secure building, and that we rely on the co-operation of visitors to follow the measures we have put in place to protect everyone’s safety.
  •  We will review these arrangements regularly to ensure that they continue to meet government guidance.

 Please note that, in order to help contain clusters or outbreaks of coronavirus, The Society of Genealogists will keep a secure temporary record of your visit for 21 days, after which it will be destroyed. During this time your information may be shared with the NHS test and trace service if necessary.

 Thank you for your continued support, we look forward to seeing you soon.


Status 23rd June 2020

At the date of writing this we still have had no update from the government on when we will be able to open.
We are busy readying the society but some measures needed will not be able to be done until staff recommence working in the building due to logistics of deliveries etc.
When we are officially allowed to open we may need to take a little extra time to prepare.  Be assured we will not open until we have put all the essential safety measures in place.
Plans are still being finalised but it is possible that initially you may need to book to come in to the Society.  The reason for this is due to the restrictions in room we will have.  We will only be able to allow a certain number in the building, on pcs, readers etc. We would not want our members to turn up and find they can’t come in.  If this is necessary we will put the booking system in place before we open.  
Keep an eye on the website for the latest information as we get closer (hopefully) to re-opening.
In the meantime can I thank you all for your support during these difficult times.  Membership has been holding up reasonably and a huge thank you to all who have donated. It really helps the Society.
If you would like to donate visit our donations page.  Donate here

Status 26th May 2020

The latest information from the government indicates we may be one of the last sectors to be allowed to open. This will be at the earliest July.  In the meantime we are working on ways to keep you and our staff and volunteers safe when we do reopen.  We are arranging for protective reception screens, sanitisers, extra cleaning, social distancing measures in the library and other measures.  We will publish guidelines for visiting on the website when we are due to open to assist your visits.

Status 22nd April 2020

The lockdown has been extended until at least the 7th May 2020.  We are working hard to continue your services and a link is available at the top of this page.  We are currently testing online lecture facilities, the volunteers and staff are kindly acting as testers.  As soon as this is in place we will offer as many of our lectures as we are able online.  New education modules are close to being finished to add to your online experiences.   We are also discussing with the TNA how we can make the library access available to you at home.  Ancestry have unfortunately told us their site is unavailable to us remotely and we are still talking to Findmypast.   Our genealogist will continue to blog about our online collections so please do keep an eye on our news page.  Stay Home and Stay Safe.

Status 27th March 2020

The Society has had its deep clean but following government legislation on 21st March we will be closed until the restrictions on social gathering are lifted.  Please use the above link for services available to you.

Status 16th March 2020

Further to last weeks announcement 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, wasn't attending any lectures 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.  

Anyone who does develop any of the symptoms are advised to follow NHS guidelines.  We will not repeat them here because it is a constantly moving situation.

All events attendees will be contacted and given the various options open to them. We will be hoping to reconvene events when we are able to re-open but refunds will also be offered if you cannot attend the rescheduled event.

We will continue to offer the web services and staff will work remotely to service members where possible.   This has happened quicker than we expected but I am hoping tomorrow after I meet with staff to go through the logistics I may be in a position to see if volunteers can man the help line more frequently.

Anyone who misses this notice and arrives tomorrow will be offered external refreshments before having to return home but I will be unable to let anyone in the building.

We appreciate your understanding in these unprecedented times and hope you all stay safe.  We also hope our visitor recovers from this dreadful virus unharmed.

Monitor this web page and our blog to see when we will re-open.  We intend to revisit the decision each fortnight, the first review will be on March 27th.

Kind Regards
June Perrin, Chief Executive

Status 11th March 2020

Here at the Society we are monitoring the Coronavirus (Covid-19) situation carefully regarding our operations and servicing our members and visitors needs.

We have to be extra careful and acknowledge a majority of our visitors fall into the elderly and vulnerable category so vigilance is paramount.  We advise extra care with hand washing and have placed hand sanitizers for use for visitors, staff and volunteers.   Extra wipes have been made available for keyboards, mice and computers.   However this is more difficult with the physical material of books, manuscripts etc.  If you visit you may like to fetch gloves with you.

If you have any flu like symptoms the advice would be not to attend but follow the current government health guidelines.

The society relies heavily on volunteers to service counters (among many other tasks they carry out).  If we reach a point where volunteers do not wish to travel we may have to temporarily close (or indeed if government advice on travel in London changes).  Staff will try and carry on working remotely to service your requirements during this time but please be aware things may be outside of our control during this period.

We hope this terrible situation is contained and all our members remain safe.