2016 has been the year of sad loss. Some personal loss at FWL but more so in the wider public eye. David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Terry Wogan and many more…. it has not been the most auspicious start to the New Year. And on Sunday, the genealogical world was hit although it was not until today that many of us were made aware of the passing of David Hey.
David was a Professor (Emeritus, no less) of Local and Family History at the University of Sheffield. His many publications included The Oxford Guide to Family History and Family Names and Family History (both of which are in my personal library), as well as How Our Ancestors Lived: A History of Life 100 Years Ago, and Journeys in Family History: Exploring Your Past and Finding Your Ancestors (and many more).
I personally had the pleasure of meeting David at (and corresponding with him prior to) a conference I organised back in the mid-‘noughties’. David was a man renowned in the field of family and local history alike – a rarity in today’s age, where many researchers focus solely on family history. He provided wise counsel when The Society for One-Place Studies was founded and, although our communications were not regular, David was someone I always knew I could ‘go-to’ when advice was required.
He was the President (and a great supporter) of the British Association for Local History, and was a highly respected local historian. The news of his passing has been a shock to the local and family history community. He will be sorely missed.
I sincerely hope that this pattern of bad news does not continue further int0 2016. No more please. Enough.