We welcome your research

Our library contains books and microforms, compiled family histories, transcripts of genealogical and local history source materials, periodicals and reference works, and digital collections.

Our archives contain original records of interest to family historians as well as collections of genealogical research notes, and manuscripts, pedigrees, personal papers and ephemera, some of which has been digitized for members use.

How to Donate Your Materials


Our Library and Archives are temporarily closed as we relocate to a new building and most of our library and collections are in store so we ask that you wait until our library has re-opened before contacting us with any donation inquiries.

When the library reopens the library welcomes donation of books, multimedia and personal genealogical papers and research according to our acquisition and collections policy – see Appendix A below.

Our team will work with you to identify which materials are appropriate to donate. In some cases we may ask donors to provide a brief inventory for description of items offered or may wish to see the material before an agreement can be reached and the material is physically transferred.



Preparing your research to deposit in the Library


For guidance on how to prepare your research please click here.

Transferring Materials to us

Please contact us before forwarding any material, so that we can discuss the donation process with you and help you identify which materials to donate. You can then ship the records or papers to us or make an appointment to deliver them in person. In exceptional cases, our team may be able to arrange the pick up the materials.

To transfer ownership of the archival materials to the Society of Genealogists , we will ask you to sign a Collection Deposit Agreement. The agreement includes a brief description of the material donated and establishes that the items are yours to give and ownership is transferred to the Society of Genealogists outright. A sample collection agreement is shown as Appendix B below. The donation becomes official once it is reviewed and approved by the Library . We do not generally accept materials on deposit or on loan.

Any donation should be accompanied by a suitable financial contribution to the processing and storage of that donation (see Appendix C below). Occasional exceptions, at the discretion of the Head of Archives & Library Services, are permitted within the Library budgetary constraints.

Leaving us your research in your will

You may prefer to leave your research to us in your will. In this case, copyright is assumed to accompany the gift of the original research. You can either ask your solicitor to put a paragraph to this effect in your will or use the sample codicil shown below as Appendix D.

In either case please discuss this with your family and make it clear what your wishes are. Bequests of books, multimedia and personal genealogical papers and research can be accepted if they accord to our acquisition and collections policy – see Appendix A below and are accompanied by a suitable financial contribution to the processing and storage of that donation (see Appendix C below). Occasional exceptions, at the discretion of the Head of Archives & Library Services, are permitted within the Library budgetary constraints.

Executors dealing with research collections not specifically willed to the Society and not wanted by the family are asked to sign the collection deposit agreement form assigning copyright to the Society.

The Society maintains the right to refuse any donation.

Care of the Collections

Our archival collections are kept in environmentally controlled, secure, closed off site storage areas. Staff members retrieve them for research use in a supervised reading room.

As resources and time permit, Library staff members and volunteers improve research access by arranging collections and describing them in written finding aids, lists and online catalogue records. To preserve them physically, collection materials are transferred to acid-free folders and boxes and sometimes receive more specialized treatment from professionally trained preservation technicians.

Arranging, describing, and preserving collections is expensive, and often depends on grants or private contributions. We would be happy to discuss with you the cost of processing your papers or records, and we encourage you to consider a suitable financial contribution to the processing and storage of that donation (see Appendix C below). Occasional exceptions, at the discretion of the Head of Archives & Library Services, are permitted within the Library budgetary constraints.



Access to Deposited Collections

As a general rule we aim to provide full access to our collections, to members and the public as per the library opening times and within the framework of our library policies and procedures. In some cases, such as medical records or professional client genealogy case files, we will restrict access to specific parts of a collection for a limited period, for legal reasons and to protect privacy. In addition, a collection may sometimes be unavailable to researchers until processing is completed.

Appendix A

Acquisitions Policy for Books, CDs, digital media, micro-media and documents, as agreed by the SoG Board of Trustees January 2021 revision.

A. The purpose is to collect:

i. Family and genealogical information from name rich resources that significantly contribute to genealogical research and relate to families from as wide a community as possible;

ii. Information that provides context to what people did in their lives;

iii. Original records of value and interest to family historians where no alternative repository exists.

B. Priorities to be observed in descending order as follows:

i. compiled family histories and pedigrees

ii. genealogical research notes

iii. vital records, i.e. births, christenings, marriages and marriage licences, deaths and burials.

iv. general, local and background material, e.g. county, local, regimental and business histories

v. will/probate copies, transcriptions and indexes

vi. monumental inscriptions,

vii. directories and lists, e.g. poll books, army lists, school registers, professional directories

viii. pre 1841 census and census substitutes for any period. (NB census records or indexes 1841 onwards are not now purchased)

ix. sources for migrant communities and immigration to and from the United Kingdom

x. textbooks

xi. printed subject and source material for the Society’s subject interest areas of education, religion, armed services, apprenticeships, professions & occupations, state papers (i.e. medieval and early modern legal and other records and finding aids relating to TNA holdings)

xii. heraldry

xiii. peerage and royalty

C. Acquisitions should take account of the following:

i. The Society must actively strive to become the repository of choice for family histories from any source and in any form as above.

ii. All decisions on acquisitions are at the discretion of the Head of Archives & Library Services.

iii. Donations can be made in any kind of media, these are to be accepted by the library, including digital media and internet websites where the owners pass over to the library full details of the website, to include other forms of media not already detailed.

iv. Any donation should be accompanied by a suitable financial contribution to the processing and storage of that donation (see Appendix C). Occasional exceptions, at the discretion of the Head of Archives & Library Services, are permitted within the Library budgetary constraints.

v. The Society maintains the right to refuse any donation.

D. Periodicals

In exchange for the Society’s Genealogists Magazine or by subscription where appropriate, the Society should acquire:

o British and Overseas Genealogical Society and Local History Society journals

o National Genealogical Magazines

o Local Archaeological /Record Society proceedings

o Related Subject Periodicals

o Genealogical/One Name Study Periodicals

o Academic History Journals

Digital subscription is preferable and a concerted review of which journals are available digitally and online and the potential costs and availability of subscription services should be undertaken as a separate project, in accordance with priorities outlined below. Cancellation of any subscriptions should be only be considered when ownership of the electronic version or perpetual access for library users is available, or deemed no longer needed, after analysis and review.

Appendix B

Example Collection Deposit Agreement

The …………………. Collection

Name of depositor:

Address:

Description of content and size………..

We are grateful to you for offering to donate your collection of genealogical research material to its Library. This agreement is to clarify the basis on which we accept it.

It should be on the basis that all property and intellectual rights (including copyright) in the material pass unconditionally to the Society. We also need your assurance that, to the best of your knowledge, no rights in the material belong to any other body or person.

The Society needs to have full power (either itself or in association with any other body or person) to record or reproduce the material in any form whatsoever, including forms not yet invented.

The Society must have full power to transfer any material to other libraries or repositories or to otherwise dispose of any items which are, in the unfettered opinion of the Society, already represented in its collections, adequately recorded elsewhere or otherwise unsuitable for retention by the Society or study by its members and visitors.

Transfer of the collection/Item concurs with the Society of Genealogists current collection acquisition policy and is accompanied by an agreed commensurate financial contribution of ….

Please confirm that the material is being offered to (and accepted by) the Society on the above terms by signing and returning the attached copy of this letter.

Signed by way of agreement and confirmation:

Name (BLOCK CAPITALS):......................................................................................
Signature:...............................................................

Depositor/Depositor’s agent (delete as appropriate)
Date:.......................................................................

Appendix C

Financial Contribution for Donations Chart

The following chart should be used to determine the value of financial contribution required to support a donation of material to the library. Occasional exceptions, at the discretion of the Head of Archives & Library Services, are permitted within the Library budget limitations. Guidance on preparing materials for deposit in the library is available from the library. The Society maintains the right to refuse a donation.

Appendix D

Sample Codicil

I give to the Society of Genealogists of Ground Floor, 1/7 Station Road, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 1HT (a charity incorporated with limited liability) absolutely and free of all taxes and duties payable by reason of my death

a) the sum of ..................................pounds (£......................) or a sum to be agreed with my trustees as suitable financial contribution to the processing and storage of that donation

b) all those of my genealogical and family history books, papers and other like records, including any that may be in electronic or digital form, together with all my property and intellectual rights therein and the right for the said Society (either itself or in association with any other body or person) to record or reproduce the material in any form whatsoever including forms not yet invented whether for archival or commercial purposes and with full power to transfer all or any thereof to other libraries or repositories or to otherwise dispose of any which are in the unfettered opinion of the said Society already represented in its collections, adequately recorded elsewhere or otherwise unsuitable for retention by the said Society or for study by its members

c) the copyright in all my genealogical writings



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