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Family history group finally finds itself suitable home

By West Briton  |  Posted: February 09, 2012

  • President Lady Mary Holborow, former president Sir Vernon Seccombe and society chairman Ann Hicks at the official opening of the new premises of the Cornwall Family History Society on Lemon Street, Truro.

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AFTER more than a decade of searching for a more appropriate base the Cornwall Family History Society has officially opened its new offices.

Based in the former reception area of the lower Lemon Street surgery in Truro, the charity is easier to access.

It occupied the first floor above offices in Walsingham Place for 17 years, where society members had to climb further stairs to reach the toilets.

Chairman Ann Hicks said: "When people research family history they are usually older and those steps meant many people were not able to access us.

"Already we have had people who couldn't visit us in Walsingham Palace come in, people who we haven't seen for years.

"It's great to see people sitting around the table reading the books and resources and using the computers."

Before cutting the ribbon at the official opening of the centre on Tuesday former president Sir Vernon Seccombe told of his 11 years of "failure" to find a more appropriate building.


"I won't tell you of the saga of the 11 years of my failure, which I outlined in a booklet for the 2007 general meeting," he said.

"So many times I had the cup just at the lip and some blighter snatched it away. It was very frustrating."

He paid tribute to the hardworking sub-committee and members as well as librarian Trudy Martin, who shared his frustrations.

Current president Lady Mary Holborow, former Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall, stepped aside for Sir Vernon to cut the ribbon to officially open the new premises.

"We have known each other for years and it is really nice to have taken over from him," she said.

Mrs Hicks made finding new offices one of her aims for her time at the helm, now having achieved her goal.

She said the move, which took three months, gave members a chance to "have a good sort out" and they also rediscovered items which had been put in storage.

The centre is funded through membership, with annual fees enabling people access to online databases, the expertise of volunteers, other people who are also researching their family histories and the society's quarterly journal.

Members span the globe, with the Cornish sense of identity making the society particularly popular.

Opening hours at the new premises are between 11am and 3pm, Wednesday to Friday, and from 10am to 1pm on the first Saturday of each month. There is also a Thursday evening session from 6.30pm to 9pm.

Volunteers spend their Tuesdays carrying out "economically priced" research.

For more information, visit www.cornwallfhs.com

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