I provide a number of genealogy services. These include:
- family history research;
- archive look-ups;
- facilitating family history workshops;
- family history talks;
- analysis of DNA results; and
- verification of research.
More detail about each service is presented below. The cost of each task is different dependent on a number of factors so please contact me for a quote for the work (see About for details).
Family History Research
Whether you have done no research into your family or you are well progressed, I can help provide research to discover more about your ancestors. I have over twenty-four years of experience researching my own and other people’s family histories.
I have access to the leading online providers as well as a number of archives around the UK. My expertise is in English research, however, I also have experience with research into Welsh, Scottish, Irish, American, Canadian, Indian (British Colonial), Australian and New Zealand records. I have experience using a range of sources from the basics of parish registers and censuses to more advanced records of poor law and non-conformist records. In particular, I am familiar with the complexity of English probate records.
I am happy to review your research question whether big or small and provide you with a quote for any work you would like me to do. Alternatively we can arrange an initial consultation to discuss your research needs. Contact me via the form on the About page.
If you are conducting your own research (or on behalf of your client) and have identified items that need to be looked up and copied (subject to archive rules), I have access to Gloucester Heritage Hub, Bristol Archives and the Society of Genealogists in London. I will also highlight in the Information section when I am travelling to other archives and can provide look-ups. If you need information from another archive in England, please contact me to find out the timescales and costs associated with my accessing an archive specifically for you.
I have experience facilitating workshops that allow a group of people to interact sharing their own experiences as well as learning from each other and from me.
For ‘Beginners’ workshops, this is a chance to learn basics and ask questions as well as to share stories about your family that you may want to investigate further. These can also be themed such as the Census workshop that has been developed for Family Tree Live in 2019.
For ‘Brickwall’ workshops, we take a few brickwalls from the attendees and collectively the group provides ideas and insights from their own experiences to help break down the brickwall. These are fun, interactive sessions where all attendees contribute and learn while also getting the pleasure of helping others.
For ‘DNA’ workshops, it is an opportunity to ask questions about the different types of tests and the testing companies. They also allow people to share their experiences of using DNA testing for family history.
If you would like to arrange a workshop for your group or event, please contact me via the form on the About page.
I am able to provide talks on various subjects regarding family history. I am happy to develop a course to suit your needs or alternatively you can choose from talks that I have already developed and can be adapted to your needs. Details of talks already scheduled and ones I have presented in the past are provided on Talks and Workshops.
Talks that have already been developed include:
- Family History – What Is It All About? – this is an introduction to family history for beginners.
- What Did They Do? – Sources for Occupations, Trades and Professions at the SoG and Elsewhere – this covers more unusual sources that will add detail to your family history. This was first presented at Family Tree Live 2019 which I discuss in a blog.
- Introduction to DNA for Family History – this covers the basics of using DNA for family history research.
- DNA Testing Plan – Considering the Options – a look at the available DNA tests and how to work out which tests to use to solve specific genealogy questions.
- A Genetic Genealogy Journey – a personal view on my DNA journey – this includes information on solving who my illegitimate great-grandfather’s father was using DNA and traditional research as well as how I have been expanding my genetic genealogy knowledge.
I am currently working on developing the following talks:
- Hidden in Plain View – Freely available sources we often overlook – A journey through where to find useful UK records that are often not known about or forgotten in preference for the more commonly used websites. Covering parish registers, BMD, poor law, probate and much more.
- Where there is a Will there is a Way – Finding English Probate Records on FamilySearch – A look at how to use the FamilySearch Wiki, catalog, and images/films in conjunction with other index tools to find probate records – pre and post 1858. This talk assumes the audience have knowledge on how English Probate works.
- X on a Page – hunting for my great grandfather’s father – How DNA and a lot of genealogical hunting helped me track down my great-great-grandfather. This is a story of interesting investigations involving name changes, rushed marriages and forgery all found thanks to DNA clues. Note this covers some of the same information as in the ‘A Genetic Genealogy Journey‘ talk presented above.
- What Did They Do? – English Occupation Sources – A look at records and where to find them covering a range of popular and less popular occupations. From miners to coastguards, engineers to lawyers, stockbrokers to bakers, useful sources of information on your ancestors’ time spent earning their livings. This talk expands on the talk presented above covering SoG sources to include a larger range of sources.
- Breaking Down Brickwalls – Hints and tips for how to break down brickwalls. Different techniques and methods for approaching brickwalls. Tricks for finding those badly transcribed records (or where the records are wrong in the first place). Where else to look for clues to British brickwalls when you fail to find them in the obvious places.
- The Treasure Trove that is the British Newspaper Archive – The ever-expanding BNA holds so many clues and useful information for genealogists. This talk takes you through how to use the website (including linking to the images via FMP) and some of the types of information and insights that you can discover about your family. A few examples of what I have found too!
- Irish Website Sources – There are increasingly more Irish sources coming online – and not all sets of record types are in a single place. This talk takes you along the path through the various sites (noting many are away from the commercial sites) to find the records you may need for your research in Ireland.
- DNA for Dummies – So you’ve seen the adverts and you may have even taken a test but what does it all mean? What is DNA? What can it tell you? What are all these funny words they use? This talk goes back to basics to take you through what you need to know about taking a DNA test, understanding the results and how to use it to aid your family history research. It will cover all three types of DNA tests but will focus on the main test that looks at your closer relatives across all lines of your family tree. Examples will show you what the results will look like from the key testing companies and how to access the full range of information available from your test. If DNA scares you, this is the course to learn more! This is suitable for many levels of family history experience but newcomers to DNA.
Have you taken a DNA test but now do not know how to interpret the results? Do you have a specific research problem and you want to find out how to use DNA to help progress it? I have been using DNA to support my genealogy research for the past few years and have used all three types of tests (autosomal, Y-DNA and mtDNA). I have experience looking at results from most the major testing companies. If you need help with DNA, let me know so we can arrange a consultation session (contact details on About).
My main career has been in nuclear safety engineering which has included the need to always verify any work that has been done. There is always a benefit of a second pair of eyes looking at work to provide a level of assurance that the research is as accurate as possible.
If you have already conducted research and you want an independent verification of the work or a specific aspect of the work, I am happy to provide this service. I am also willing to do proof reading of reports or articles. My need to pay attention to detail as part of my engineering job (you cannot afford to get nuclear safety wrong!) stands me in good stead for performing this type of work.