It is now only five weeks until we all meet up at the Swinfield Gathering on Sunday, 22nd September. It is great that some of you have already told us that you will definitely be there.
If you have not let us know that you are intending to come, there is still time to plan your visit. I have been trying to encourage and persuade as many people as possible to attend so that we will all have the opportunity to meet as many other “Swinfields” as possible. To date, I have no idea how many will be there but I am hopeful that it will be somewhere between 40 and 70.
Many will come from the family's homeland in Leicestershire and Warwickshire. Others have pledged to come from as far away as Kent, Hampshire, Devon and Yorkshire. We even have Sue Regan who is travelling all the way from Australia, to represent “our cousins”, who are descended from those who have emigrated to the other side of the World on several occasions since 1848.
If you have not yet pinned down your immediate relatives, who may decide to be there, now is the time to twist their arms. If they are not there, who knows when they will get another chance like this. Use all your persuasive skills to get them to come along.
So what will you be able to do and see on the day? We will be at the SirJohn Moore Foundation at Top Street, Appleby Magna, Leicestershire DE12 7AH from 12 noon to 6pm. It is a great venue in a lovely setting. You can be there for as long as you want or just drop in at some point in the afternoon with your family to see what is happening. Even if all of your party is not madly interested in the Gathering, bring them along and they can enjoy the grounds or have a picnic. There will be light refreshments for sale in the cafe.
In the meeting room in the main building, you will be able to spend time with the other Swinfields who are present. Some of them, we will know, are your proven relations. You will be able to find yourselves (with our help if necessary) on the displayed family trees, which have been constructed through over 40 years of research into those who share our rare surname. You will be able to consult our databases to learn more about your extended family and ancestors.
We want to compile a photographic record of those who are present which we can then all share. So we need to have as many Swinfields present as possible, aged from 0 to 100! There will even be an opportunity to see what DNA tests have told us about the relationship between the distinct family groups.
Please bring with you any Swinfield photographs. These can be of any members who are no longer with us or your relatives who just cannot be there on the day. Share with us all any old documents which you have in your cupboard or attic. These could be birth, marriage or death certificates, apprenticeships, wills etc. Collect them together and bring them with you. We would love to see them and share your family stories.
This will be a unique chance to meet your cousins and share in the history of the Swinfields. Don't miss it! Bring your relatives with you. The more the better! See you all at Appleby in just five weeks' time.Geoff Swinfield, Di Bouglas & Sandra Bates