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Anthony J. Camp - MY BIOGRAPHY

Interested in genealogy as a child Anthony Camp was encouraged by the late Sir Anthony Wagner (subsequently Garter King of Arms) to become a research assistant at the Society of Genealogists in 1957 and in 1961 he organised its fiftieth anniversary exhibition 'The ancestry of the common man'. Having taken an Honours Degree in Ancient and Medieval History he was appointed Director of Research at the Society at the age of twenty-five in 1962 and then Director (and Company Secretary) in 1979.

His popular introduction to genealogy, Tracing Your Ancestors (1964), was followed by Everyone Has Roots (1978) and innumerable articles on the subject. He oversaw the first weekend course in genealogy in 1965. An early interest in probate records led to his compilation of Wills and their Whereabouts (1963, 1974) and to his Index to Wills proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury 1750-1800 (6 vols. 1976-92); the administrations for the same period (some 2,330 pages in 8 volumes) he typed in retirement. Popular booklets have included My ancestor was a migrant (1987), My ancestors came with the Conqueror (1988) and First Steps in Family History (1993).

The growth in membership of the Society of Genealogists, which rose from 1,500 to 14,000 in the period in which he worked there, and its ability to purchase freehold premises in 1968 and then to move to larger premises in 1984, owed much to his work. He oversaw the development of regular publishing and of a bookshop at the Society. His popular 'Diary of a Genealogist' appeared in Family Tree Magazine from 1984 to 1998.

He lectured widely in the British Isles and overseas, speaking at the early Conferences in the States initiated by the National Genealogical Society (from 1981), at the Australasian Congress, Canberra (1986), at the Sesquicentennial Conference, Auckland (1990) and at the First Irish Genealogical Conference, Dublin (1991), and he has accompanied ten study tours to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City (1989-2006). He initiated the highly successful series of national Family History Fairs in London in 1993.

He was involved in innumerable committees and campaigns to preserve and gain access to records (notably in connection with the passing of the Parochial Registers and Records Measure in 1978, against fees in county record offices, with amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill and with the campaign for access to the historical records of the General Register Office) and was the Convener of the British Genealogical Record Users Committee 1979-1997.

Concerned for the improvement of technique and scholarship in genealogy and for its uses in biographical and historical studies he took a leading part in the foundation of the Association of Genealogists and Record Agents in 1968 (he was a Vice-President 1980-2011 and was elected a Fellow 2011) and was from 1987 to 2001 External Assessor for the University of London courses in Genealogy and the History of the Family organised by its Department of Extra-Mural Studies. He was a Trustee of the Marc Fitch Fund (1991-2003), a founder member of the Friends of the National Archives, is an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Genealogists (1982, the first elected), a Freeman of the City of London (1984), has the Award of Merit of the National Genealogical Society (1984), is a Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association (1989), an Honorary Member of the Society of Australian Genealogists (1997), was President of the Federation of Family History Societies 1998-2000 and President of the Hertfordshire Family History Society 1982-2019, and was awarded the Membership of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services to the Society of Genealogists in 1999, the first genealogist to be so honoured.