In past generations the detailed study of family histories was largely pursued by people concerned to be clear about their ‘pedigree’ and related matters such as their entitlement to property or heraldic symbols. As interest in local history began to spread to a wider public, the study of the ancestry of landowning families and their estates became a research exercise by persons not necessarily related - even remotely - to those families. The early editions of ‘The Yorkshire Archaeological Journal’ include articles on such families many of whom made a very significant impact on the social and economic development of our county. Manorial records are also a major component of the Society’s archive collections.
More recent extension of interest in personal family history meant that groups of people came together to share their experience of the intricacies of research. Developments in the use of new information technologies have however led to great changes in how people pursue and share their interest.