Our special Gathering and Annual General Meeting in Surrey, England was held over the weekend of Fri/Sat/Sun 30th/31st July/1st August 2010. The main events took place on the Saturday at the Surrey National Golf Club, Chaldon, Surrey and included our conference during the day and a splendid celebratory dinner in the evening. Incorporated into the conference programme was our AGM.

Thank you to all the delegates who attended. We much enjoyed welcoming you to Reigate and to this special gathering. A full account of the weekend will be found below. This includes links to the photo and video gallery on this website, where you will find many photographs of all aspects of the weekend together with videos and slides of the main presentations made at the Saturday conference and in the evening. Following you will find some reminiscences, comments and thoughts from the delegates.

by Michael Neale Dalton

Thursday 29th July, 2010

The advance party assembles

After all the preparations had been made over the past weeks and months, the day had finally come when the first of the delegates would be arriving in Reigate. Karen and David Preston flew in from Las Vegas on Thursday morning on schedule, picked up their hire car and successfully navigated their way to the Reigate Manor Hotel. Meanwhile Mel and Dairne Irwin drove down from Lancashire, and arrived at the hotel in the afternoon. This created an opportunity for an “advance party” get together and Kate and I went out for dinner with Karen, David, Mel and Dairne at the Arkle Manor, a restaurant in nearby Betchworth. Apart from discussion about various aspects of the weekend plans, there was much else to catch up on and a convivial evening went by all too quickly.

Friday 30th July, 2010

Final preparations are made

It had been agreed that David Preston and I should go to the Surrey National Golf Club in the morning to check out the wireless connection for David’s laptop in order to facilitate the live webcast of Saturday’s conference. David had come prepared with all his “gizmos”, some of which he needed, but within minutes everything was working. What a relief – all the technicalities sorted out without a hitch! We really are indebted to David for his expertise in this area. Having made it all work in Orange last year, it is now “expected” that we will do this and I know that many members, particularly in the USA and Canada, appreciate the facility. It is great to be able to share what we are doing live with those who are prevented from attending by distance or other circumstances.

After making sure that all the other arrangements at the Golf Club were in order, we then went back to Reigate. I returned to 2 Harewood Close to finish putting out the display material and help Kate with the final preparations for the evening. This included arranging everything out in the garden for the buffet supper and then a moment of panic at around 4.00pm when it started to rain. This was not part of the weather forecast but fortunately it only lasted for a short time and then settled into a dry and overcast, but quite warm evening.

A beautiful English summer evening

Rosemary Dow, Jane and Geoffrey Dalton, Michael Dalton, John and Sheila Dalton

Delegates started arriving during the afternoon – first those staying with us at Harewood Close, and then delegates staying at the Reigate Manor Hotel. Mel and Dairne, and Pam ensured that those who needed transport had a lift in someone’s car, whilst others chose the option of a 15 minute walk. Before long there were 30 people in our garden all eager to have a glass of wine and chat with old friends and new acquaintances – the party was under way. Soon it was time to serve the buffet supper. Kate laid on a magnificent spread which was much enjoyed by all. She was ably assisted with the serving of everything by Sarah Fitzgerald, the perfect waitress! Meanwhile Howard Dalton took on the role of the perfect wine waiter.

Howard Dalton, Wine Waiter, and Gerald Milner

Some important connections were made, with Martin Fitzgerald and David Preston meeting for the first time and sharing their DGS website experiences; also Karen Preston and Chris Pomery with plenty to discuss about the Dalton DNA project.

Martin Fitzgerald and Chris Pomery discuss the dessert!!

As the evening shadows lengthened we lit candles and people continued sitting outside long after it was dark. The smell of coffee brewing brought people in and many took a closer look at the various displays set out in our dining room.

One of the various displays

It had turned out to be a perfect evening and Kate and I thought we had definitely got the weekend off to a good start – all the hard work had been worth it!

Saturday 31st July, 2010

Down to business

Delegates were invited to arrive at the Surrey National Golf Club at 10.00am when coffee and biscuits were served.

The delegates assembling

We were joined by a few more local Daltons and at 10.30am I opened our conference proceedings in the Sports Lounge. It was a pleasure to welcome delegates from far and wide, both old and new DGS members.

Michael welcoming delegates

The live webcast so expertly organised by David Preston on the Dalton Data Bank website was received loud and clear in all corners of the world – the wonders of modern technology! Soon we were into the more formal business of the Annual General Meeting, the details of which are recorded in the minutes published in this issue of “Daltons in History”. You can also view an edited version of the proceedings in the “Photo/Video Gallery”. A very important AGM announcement to be mentioned here is the decision of the committee to make Chris Pomery, our DNA consultant, and Martin Fitzgerald and David Preston, our website consultants, honorary members of the Society. This was met with great acclaim and we are all much indebted to Chris, Martin and David for the superb work undertaken by each of them for the DGS over the past few years. Many thanks to all three of you.

Chris Pomery giving his presentation

The AGM was brought to a close at 11.30am and after a short break, I introduced Chris Pomery who gave his presentation entitled “Getting the best from traditional and genetic genealogy – the future for the Dalton surname project”. This was a most stimulating talk and it provided the latest update on the project. It also stressed the importance of undertaking good old-fashioned traditional family history research alongside analysing the results from DNA testing, in order to extend and maximise our knowledge of the family history associated with each identified genetic family. The presentation slides used by Chris are available on the website, together with a full video recording of his talk. These will be of immense value to all participants in the Dalton International DNA Project. Chris was able to answer a few questions at the end of his talk, but all too soon it was time for me to propose a vote of thanks and present him with a small gift as a memento of the occasion. He stayed with us during the buffet lunch and many took the opportunity to have more detailed discussions with him informally.

After lunch, business was resumed with a presentation from Karen Preston, who gave us an update on the DGS in North America. This included some details of the next DGS Annual Gathering which is to take place in Salt Lake City in September 2011. Our appetites were whetted and I am sure that there will be a very good turnout for this exciting event. David Preston followed Karen with his report on the Dalton Data Bank, which continues to expand at an amazing rate. Slides of these presentations are also available on the website.

At around 3.00pm, the conference was brought to a close and delegates had some free time before the evening’s celebrations. For some of the more energetic, Maureen Collins had made some suggestions about local places to visit.

Let’s celebrate

In the evening we returned to the Surrey National Golf Club for our 40th Anniversary DGS Dinner.

The dinner begins

Kate and I arrived early to greet Michael Broadway and Vaninne Parker of the Pianola Partnership, our entertainers for the evening, who were already setting themselves up in the Sports Lounge. Fortunately the pianola and accompanying electronic keyboard just fitted into the lift! Michael is a fellow Liveryman of the Glaziers Company and indeed the Company’s Honorary Musician. We had heard Michael and Vaninne perform before, so we were confident that their entertainment would be much appreciated by all. At 7.00pm pre-dinner drinks were served on the terrace outside the Sports Lounge and at 7.30pm we took our places at dinner with Geoffrey Dalton saying grace. The golf club chef had prepared a delicious meal and in between the courses, Michael and Vaninne brought us a delightful selection of songs with piano accompaniment. Their centrepiece was a rendition of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with chimes and cannons provided by us all clinking our glasses and bursting paper bags – what a performance!

Michael Broadway, Vaninne Parker and Michael Dalton

And so to the 40th Anniversary itself. I had deliberately not said too much about it earlier at the conference, but now was the opportunity for a little reminiscing about the 40 years of the Dalton Genealogical Society, its formation and its development from small beginnings to the truly international organisation that it is today with some 300 members worldwide. I particularly wanted to remember the massive contributions to this journey made by five people – Joyce Parker, Morag Simpson, Dick Hamilton, Lucy Slater and Millicent Craig. We all owe each of them so much. Joyce, with all her energy and enthusiasm, was one of the original committee members back in 1978 and hosted several gatherings at her Brighton home. Morag was Treasurer for many years, and edited the Journal. She also organised two very successful gatherings, one in Yorkshire and the other in Lincoln. Dick, a committee member for many years, will be remembered for his prodigious output of well researched and very scholarly articles on so many aspects of Dalton family history, all preserved for posterity in the pages of the DGS Journal. Lucy first met members of the DGS in 1983 at the Lancaster and Thurnham Hall gathering and, very soon, she was persuaded to join the committee and become the Society’s executive secretary. In this role she maintained contact with all our members and also found time to write articles, edit the Journal and organise gatherings. And finally, Millicent who first came to England as a DGS member in 1993. Since then she has involved herself in every aspect of the Society’s work, as North American secretary, starting the DGS website and the Dalton Data Bank, founder of the Dalton International DNA Project and so many other roles. Of course there have been so many others who have helped to shape the Society over the past 40 years and we owe them all a debt of gratitude as well.

Michael reminiscing about the 40 years

We now look to the future with the Society in the capable hands of the present officers and committee, to whom I pay tribute, and I know that others will come forward to carry the work on in future years. One can only speculate about where the Society will reach during its journey over the coming 40 years. Judging by the experience to date, one hopes that there will be great progress, with unanticipated breakthroughs and no doubt a few surprises as well! With these thoughts, all present were upstanding and I proposed a toast to the 40th Anniversary of the Society and to the next 40 years.

The DGS Committee

This concluded the formal part of the proceedings and delegates then continued to circulate and enjoy the remainder of the evening. All too quickly it was time to return to the hotel or home. Discussions continued into the early hours back at our home and I suspect they did at the hotel as well.

Sunday 1st August, 2010

A little bit of history

Sunday saw a more leisurely start both at 2 Harewood Close and at the Reigate Manor Hotel. At around 11.00am, those joining the visit to Chartwell, the country home of Winston Churchill, set off arriving there before midday. This enabled us to take an early lunch in the restaurant without having to join too long a queue. For most it was a first visit to Chartwell, and everyone then enjoyed touring the house and gardens, and the studio where Churchill painted. However not everyone spotted the Dalton link!

Chartwell, country home of Winston Churchill

In the museum, at the end of the tour of the house, the various phases of Churchill’s career are featured and there is a section devoted to the Second World War. When Churchill succeeded Neville Chamberlain as Prime Minister in May 1940 and formed a coalition government, Hugh Dalton, already prominent in the Labour Cabinet, was appointed as Minister of Economic Warfare. The exhibit features Dalton’s quote at the time – “He was quite magnificent. The man, and the only man we have, for this hour”. Quite an accolade and of course, Hugh Dalton went on to work very closely with Churchill throughout the remainder of the war.

The house from Churchill's studio

Down at the local

Delegates returned to Reigate in their own time, and in the evening we all met again for dinner at the Skimmington Castle, a traditional old country pub on Reigate Heath, less than a mile west of the centre of Reigate. We enjoyed another convivial evening in a room reserved for our party. Geoffrey was very kind and proposed a vote of thanks to Kate and myself for arranging the weekend, which we much appreciated.

At the Skimmington Castle

Monday 2nd August, 2010

Time to say goodbye

After a whirlwind weekend, the time had come for departure. Some had already left and many were travelling on to visit other places before returning home. Kate and I bade farewell to those who had stayed at our house and we thought back over the enjoyable time that we had spent with everybody. We had certainly enjoyed it all and we trust that all delegates took away happy memories of their time in Reigate and the surrounding Surrey and Kent countryside.

Those who attended the DGS 40th Anniversary Gathering appeared to enjoy themselves. Here are some of their comments together with a couple from members who were unable to attend.

From Mike Dalton, Portland, Oregon, USA

Kate’s fine dining at Harewood Close. “Oh, and you are the Chris Pomeroy; -- and oh, and you are the Mike Dalton”. Fascinated by Chris’s presentation of phylogenetic charting and by David’s explanation of how the DGS is setup. Walking back to the hotel from Michael’s home enmass from the garden party in almost total darkness….a bit surreal. Thanks to the transportation coordinators for carpooling etc. I would certainly have gotten lost, quite easily, in trying to get somewhere, especially after dark in an unfamiliar place. Thanks once again to Michael Neale for deftly hosting a busy weekend and for providing rare vintage entertainment by a soprano with pianola accompaniment on the Saturday night.

From Karen Dalton Preston, Las Vagas, Nevada, USA

My favorite part of the annual Gatherings is seeing old friends and getting acquainted with members I haven't met before.

One of the highlights were the lovely supper on Friday night at Michael and Kate's beautiful home. The weather was perfect and the food was delectable!

Meeting Chris Pomery was another memorable moment for me. I knew of Chris' work on the Dalton DNA project through his annual report on the project. It was so nice to finally put a face with the name, as especially nice to have time to chat with him during the weekend. I look forward to working with him as we add new participants to the Project.

From Gerald Milner, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, England

For me, it was good to renew acquaintance with many other Members and spouses. Michael and Kate's reception at their home on the first evening was a great success; the weather was good and enabled us to mingle in the garden. There was also an interesting selection of publications on show in the Dining Room. Kate's catering was notable, and the wine flowed freely.

The presentation organised by Karen Preston and her husband was particularly memorable, with the proceedings of the AGM being sent world wide.

The Gathering was another fine example of the organisation and enthusiasm of Michael, ably supported by Members who give their time and talents freely. I am sorry that I was not able to participate in the events on Sunday.

From Maureen Collins, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

As usual it was lovely to get together with so many DGS friends from around the world and the 40th anniversary meeting in Reigate was no exception. Kate Dalton provided an excellent supper, helped by Sarah Fitzgerald, and the weather was kind so we could sit in Michael and Kate's garden. It has not been a good summer in Britain but it was reasonable for the whole weekend with just a little rain to help the brown lawns in Reigate and other parts of Surrey. I had a card from Wendy Fleming, back in Melbourne after her visit, and she has kindly sent me a copy of "Stolen Heath", a book of poetry by Anne Elvey and produced by Wendy on behalf of the Melbourne Poets Union. What a lovely thank you gift for acting as a bit of a tour guide.

There is always something to learn in family history and each time Chris Pommery speaks on DNA I feel I have a better understanding but he is certainly the expert and we are fortunate to have his input into the DGS project. The three new honorary members, Chris Pommery, Martin Fitzgerald and David Preston have all contributed greatly to the website and so on and the appointments are well deserved.

Dairne Irwin and the Norfolk Dalton Group

I am constantly amazed at the talents and organising skills of so many DGS members and the anniversary was no exception with wonderful entertainment at the Saturday dinner, good food and an interesting visit to Chartwell. Thanks Michael and Kate.

From Howard J Dalton, Poole, Dorset, England

The venue for our 2010 DGS Gathering was a most appropriate setting for the 40th Anniversary. Kate and Michael made us so welcome at the informal gathering at their lovely Reigate home prior to the weekend events. The Surrey National Golf Club proved to be an excellent venue for our AGM and Annual Dinner and the entertainment was an inspired choice. I have attended many performances of the "1812" Overture but never one that included the tinkling of glasses and bursting of paper bags!!

The visit to Chartwell was an added bonus and a first for me.

To Michael I add my congratulations on your forty years of dedication and enthusiasm as Founder, Chairman and Honorary Life President of this friendly and flourishing Society.

From David & Audrey Dalton, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, England

Many thanks to you and Kate for your very kind hospitality at the Dalton Gathering. We both had a very enjoyable time, meeting old friends and making some new ones, visiting a Dalton cousin and having a wonderful day with them. The AGM was interesting and Chris Pomery’s talk was very exciting. The Anniversary dinner was excellent, and the entertainment so enjoyable. Well done! Hope you have enjoyed your holiday afterwards!

From John & Sheila Dalton, Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, England

Just settling back into routine after a hectic few weeks………….Thanks once again for your generous hospitality over the Dalton weekend. We both had a lovely time. Our only disappointment was not getting the chance to waltz in your new ballroom!

From Wendy Fleming, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia

Dear Michael and Kate,

Just a brief note to say thank you for your great organising of the meeting and attendant celebrations.

I particularly enjoyed the informal reception and Buffet Supper at 2 Harewood Close. The food was exceptional and the "serving maids" Kate and Sarah so perfect, not to mention the very pleasant company! and surrounds!

The weather was kind to us both on Friday and on Saturday. I am not sure how you arranged that. Well done.

The entertainment was delightful, just right, entertaining and informative. Sunday was also full of interest and nice food and company.

Thank you again to you and all the committee for what you did and continue to do.

All the best (recovering from the worst jetlag ever).

From Pat Robinson, Cambridge, England

Please excuse my belated but sincere thanks for a most enjoyable AGM weekend; the delicious supper and warm welcome on the Friday, the well organised meeting itself, at such a suitable venue, and the memorable Saturday evening, with ideal entertainment. And, of course, for the thought and effort which made it all such a success!

From Elaine Austin, Cromer, Norfolk, England

Congratulations on the anniversary of the DGS. It certainly must have fulfilled all your hopes over the years, and it is so nice that you and Kate can have an “agenda” to follow around the world in your retirement.

This is just to thank you for the invitation to the Gathering in July/August. I cannot of course attend………………hope all goes well. The trip to Utah in 2011 sounds interesting. The Mormons are “big” on genealogy aren’t they?!

Elaine is a founder member of the DGS and has membership number 1. She wrote a letter published in DGSJ Vol 51 (Dec 09) reminiscing about her first meeting with the Chairman, a third cousin once removed, and her own Dalton line. It concludes:

Long may the DGS flourish and proliferate from those small beginnings in 1970 as the families continue to grow. Congratulations to all who have made it what it is today.

From Millicent Craig, Palo Alto, California, USA

It would please me no end if I could attend this gathering and I certainly would have voted to honour the three splendid technical experts who are making such wonderful contributions to the image of the DGS. Please give my best to them………

……..Best wishes for a great 40th anniversary!

During the weekend David Preston, Michael Neale Dalton, Howard Dalton and Dave Lynam took a number of photographs covering most elements of the weekend. A selection of these will be found in the DGS Surrey 2010 Gallery – just follow this link:


In addition to being a photographic record, they attempt to capture the spirit and camaraderie of the gathering and we hope both delegates and this website’s wider audience will enjoy them.

David Preston has created a number of Slides and Videos of Presentations made at the DGS 40th Anniversary Gathering, which are available on www.daltondatabank.org and on this website in "Video on Demand".

Click below for the talks given by Michael Dalton and Chris Pomery on Saturday 31st July 2010.

Conference proceedings: www.daltondatabank.org/PresentationAGM

Genetic Genealogy: www.daltondatabank.org/PomeryFlashPresentation

Remembrances: www.daltondatabank.org/PresentationDinnerSpeech

Annual Gathering for 2010
Celebrating the 40th Anniversary
of the founding of the Society
Friday 30th July to Monday 2nd August 2010
Reigate, Surrey, England


Friday 30th July 2010

from 12 noon
Check in at either the Reigate Manor Hotel or alternative local B&B accommodation, Light lunches can be taken at the Reigate Manor Hotel.

Visit a place of local interest. Suggestions will be made.

Informal reception and supper at the home of Michael Dalton (Chairman) and his wife Kate.

Saturday 31st July 2010


The programme will commence with the DGS Annual General Meeting. This will be followed by talks about Dalton family history and the work of the Society. It will take place at the Surrey National Golf Club.

Buffet lunch.


Visits to local places of interest are being arranged.

The special celebratory DGS 40th Anniversary Dinner at the Surrey National Golf Club followed by entertainment.

Sunday 1st August 2010


A tour of places associated with Dalton family history is being arranged. This will include a lunch stop and transport will be provided.


A buffet supper is being arranged at a local venue.

Monday 2nd August 2010


The conclusion of the DGS Gathering. Check out from your accommodation. Arrangements can be made for those who wish to stay over.

Graeme Attrige, the manager of the Reigate Manor Hotel, has sent the following interesting information about the history of the building.

The original building was known as The Brokes and was built in approximately 1780. The east and west wings were added in the 19th century becoming the Reigate Hill Hotel in 1906.

During World War II Reigate was a target for the German bombers. In Von Runstedt’s plans for the invasion of England the town was to be attacked before the main assault on London. This was probably because General Sir Bernard Montgomery, the Land Commander of the 21st Army, had his headquarters based in the large houses of Reigate Hill, the area where the hotel is situated. The Reigate countryside was the Headquarters of the Army’s South East Command. It is also recorded that Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower made visits to this area.

During the war Monty was billeted in nearby Beech Road and his officers were accommodated in the hotel. It is known that the hill was riddled with fortified tunnels, dug by Welsh miners, now inaccessible. It is said that there is a tunnel leading from his house to the Fort on Reigate Hill. A map of these tunnels can be seen in Reigate Museum.

Homes around Reigate Hill were fortified as defence posts with sandbags and gun holes covered with metal flaps.

How many of our delegates, to the 40th Anniversary Gathering noticed the plaque on the wall in the reception area commemorating the hotel’s use in WWII and that the North African campaign was planned there.

The building was handed back to its civilian owners in 1946. In 1972 it had a four year life as a Wayside Manor before becoming the Reigate Manor in 1976. In 1979 a 12 roomed motel block was added which was demolished in 1987 when the hotel was developed into the present shape. At the present time a friend of the manager is researching the history of the area and its properties which hopefully can confirm or expand what is known.