In 1978, a small group of people in Jersey met to discuss the formation of a Society dedicated to the study and tracing of the family histories of Channel Islanders. The first meeting (Nov. 1978) was at St. Lawrence Parish Hall, Jersey and more than fifty people attended. Membership passed the one hundred mark during the next year. It was an early intention to form local CIFHS Branches in the other Channel Islands and elsewhere but as time went on this proved impossible so the voluntary Officers in Jersey assumed the complete role of the CIFHS Committee. Membership Nos. are given on application and are never repeated, and in the year 2004 the membership numbers are approaching 2,500. Paid-up Membership is now fairly static between six and seven hundred, with very many members abroad.
The backbone of family history is in the old church registers of baptisms, marriages and burials. Jersey members of CIFHS have been busy over the years, on a voluntary basis, transcribing and indexing all these local registers and making these indexes freely available to all. CIFHS housed its growing collection over the next twenty years in small premises in Hilgrove Street. When the Jersey Archive service was established in 1993, (administered by the Jersey Heritage Trust, now ‘Jersey Heritage’ ) plans were discussed to house the entire CIFHS Collection at the Jersey Archive – to be purpose-built in Clarence Road, St. Helier. The Bailiff of Jersey, Sir Philip Bailhache, opened the building on 24th July 2000 and since that time the CIFHS Collection has been available on ‘open’ shelves.
In 2003, The Channel Islands Family History Society celebrated its twenty five years of existence with special silver covers for the quarterly Members Journal.