It is with enormous sadness that we announce the death of Bill Huyton, our Chairman Emeritus, aged 73, at Aintree Hospital, on 29 January 2021. A stalwart member of ODFHS for twenty years, Bill went on to enjoy the distinction of being our longest-serving Chairman. Described by one of our members as “one of the leading lights at ODFHS”, a fellow member of the North-West Group of Family Societies also praised him as a “thoughtful and passionate family historian, member and leader”.
Whether attending NWGFHS meetings or helping at public events (from Westhead Carnival and Ormskirk Mediaeval Weekend, to Who Do You Think You Are? Live and the recent Virtual Really Useful Family History Show), Bill was keenly interested in the way our ancestors lived. He was a member of the West Lancashire Heritage Association, and became actively involved with the West Lancashire World War One Anniversary group. When a chance to meet distant cousins from New Zealand came up in 2011, Bill relished the opportunity to further their mutual research.
A study of local census records led Bill to develop a talk on Enumerators’ Walks, and his enduring interest in our ever-growing boat families database inspired another presentation, to showcase its potential to help family, local and social historians alike. Keen to move with the times, he introduced the option to buy our publications in USB format, and as digital downloads. Although ill health influenced his decision to resign as Chairman after exactly 13 years on 25 May 2018, he remained very involved with the Society, becoming a highly organised sales manager. His suggestions for virtual meetings inspired our YouTube talks on Complementary Resources and Dining With Our Ancestors.

Bill devoted much time to his garden in Maghull, nurturing seedling carrots and leeks and once getting cherry tomatoes to ripen in December! Equally at home in the water, he joined Xaverian Diving Club (later renamed Liverpool Scuba Diving Club) at Woolton in November 1996, training many others to a very high standard; one diving associate remembered him as “a great mentor and teacher”. He will be sadly missed by all of his friends at ODFHS, and everyone who knew him in the local history community.

I am pleased to advise details of the relaunch of the London Branch.


Cumbria FHS and Lancashire Family History and Heraldry Society have been operating a London Branch over a number of years and normally offer six meetings a year on a Saturday afternoon. This Branch helps to provide some additional benefit for some London based or near London based members. Interest from the members of this Branch has been falling so it was decided to  relaunch the London Branch with some additional support from the North West and also inviting Members of other North West FH Societies to join them. Members of the NWGFHS’s gave a positive response and there is some commitment for financial support. Members of FHSC therefore are invited to attend these meetings, giving the opportunity to share your NW Family history research.

The first meeting under the new management committee will take place on Saturday 7th March 2020 at Saint Stephens Church, Gloucester Road, and Southwell Gardens, London SW7 4RL commencing at 2.00pm.

The speaker will be Ian Waller FSG FGRA and his subject will be "What Happened to Lucy?"

Before 1927 and legal adoption what happened to the unwanted child? Even after 1927 children were exploited, although supposedly cared for by institutions and well caring organisations. This talk looks at the plight of adoptees, foundlings, orphans and the Empire children (Child Migrants), essentially through the 19th & 20th centuries.

This is a new venue, St Stephens is easy to find on the junction of Gloucester Road and Southwell Gardens, South Kensington SW7 4RL There is a collection plate for admission, a free drink to lubricate the frank and friendly exchange of information and tips and hear relevant talks by guest speakers or our group members. There is another meeting planned for Saturday 2 May 2020.

Can anyone intending to attend the meeting please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to say they are planning to attend so they have some idea of numbers

Details can be found on the LFHHS website on the London branch page and it is planned to link to the NWG website

I have put details on the LFHHS website on the London branch page and will be trying to add a late note to our February journal.

Lancashire Archives Calendar for 2020

Some fascinating talks and events lined up for 2020

  pdfclick to download leaflet (1.06 MB) (12 pages)



Derbyshire U3A conferences at Buxton

Angela and I attended their Conference in September and thoroughly enjoyed it. They have a fabulous line up of speakers including Dr Nick Barratt and Debbie Kennett.

They are hosting a half day conference on Friday 20th March where the topics will consist of what was life was like farming in Tudor times and Commonwealth War Graves records.

Their Full day conference in September Saturday 19th where topics will include One place Names – Janet Few., Putting your ancestors in place. Debbie Kennett on the Joy of Surnames and Dr Nick Barratt on House Histories. One more speaker yet to book.

Full details in the  pdfflyer and booking form click here (739 KB)