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gblanchard@pastsearch.co.uk

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Past Search

Suite 14
Meadow View House
191 Queens Road
Norwich
NR1 3PP

+44 (0)1603 610619

I charge £25 Sterling per hour for research. Costs of other services are detailed throughout this site. Please click here to contact me for more details.

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PaypalI now produce an e-mail Newsletter. It goes out every couple of months and contains details of forthcoming events, recommended books and websites, tips and a "this month in history section". If you would like to receive a copy please email me at:

news@pastsearch.co.uk

Site created by:
Alex Orton. Ian Buckingham and Gill Blanchard

 

Past Search newsletter

Keep up to date on my activities, courses, research and general family history news.

My latest newsletter is below, in a new html format. Older newsletters can be seen further down the page. If you would like a copy of any of my newsletters please email news@pastsearch.co.uk.

July 2014:

Past Search Newsletter Issue 16   July 2014
Issue 13 Title

There has been a lot happening in the last few months, hence the lack of regular newsletters. Since summer 2013 I have been busy with family, house and local history research in Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk, Lincolnshire and beyond.

Newsflashes

Watch out for me on the Mary Berry episode of Who Do You Think You Are? this September

The new series of the BBC Who Do You Think You Are? has been announced and I can finally reveal that I was filmed for the Mary Berry episode airing 8th September. Although the section I appear in is quite brief I conducted a huge amount of work over months into a wide range of documentary sources as well as making visits to locations, However, I am not allowed to reveal any specific details of what was uncovered and the work I did until after the show is aired.

Writing Your Family History book due out September 2015

My third book is finally finished. I have just checked the proofs and created an index and it will be published by Pen and Sword Books at the end of September.

Writing Your Family History

Past Search Tuition: Writing Your Family History Online Courses in 2015

I am in the process of setting up my own Writing Your Family History online courses. These will be 10 weeks in length and are focus on developing writing skills in order to tell your family history story and working towards publication. The lessons will be very practical with writing exercises and the opportunity to share work and give and receive feedback to and from other students. The first course will run in early 2015 and places will be limited. The website will be launched this autumn and I will be taking bookings then. There will then be an opportunity to take follow on courses in e-publishing, publishing to Kindle, blogs and websites. Contact me for more details.

Events and General News

I have had various articles and other items published in national genealogy magazines, including AGRA expert answers and my review of someone else’s book. In addition to this I have ventured into self publishing on Kindle with an article on Smallpox and Vaccination Records. As well as day-to-day research I have produced several family and house history books for clients in the last few months. One challenging project was to finishing over thirty copies of family history book with accompanying family trees in time for a family gathering last summer. Thanks must go to Peartree Bindery of Norwich and Maxbal Genealogy printers for helping make it possible.

The most recent house history book I completed was about a hall near North Walsham in North Norfolk. Architectural historian Dr. Sarah Pearson dated the oldest section of the building to the mid-1500s, with an early extension dating from around the 1590s. It was therefore really exciting and satisfying to locate an inventory with a will from 1593 which referred to the new hall, new parlour and new chamber.

Inventory Snippet

Section from an inventory referring to “the newe p[ar]lor” in 1593.

My teaching and talks to family and local history groups have continued throughout. Topics include: Workhouses and Poor Law Records, Writing Your Family History, Trade Directories and Gazetteers and Tracing Your House History. Apart from talks in East Anglia I was invited to speak and run workshops on Writing Your Family History at the Families in British India (FIBIS) conference in May and the Shropshire Family History Society Open Day in June.

My three linked all day workshops on Writing Your Family History at the Society of Genealogists continue to be immensely popular. They will be repeated this October and November and I have already been booked to repeat them in the autumn of 2015. I also ran a one day workshop on Tracing Your House History at the society in May.

I was honoured to be asked to run a workshop, and to set and adjudicate a competition on Writing your Family History for the Norwich Writers’ Circle. I am a member of the circle and find the talks, workshops and manuscript evenings inspiring. I believe such writing groups are a fantastic way for writers of all genres to share their work, get feedback and develop their writing. I am therefore pleased to announce I will be sponsoring a Past Search non fiction writing competition as part of the Norwich Writers’ Circle programme from next year. Full details will be announced in the autumn and will be posted on their website and blog.

As usual I attended the annual Who Do You Think You Are? Live show in London in February. My talk on Tracing Your House History was completely full. You can see a brief glimpse of me giving the talk on this piece about the show. It was great to meet so many people after the talk as well as in my role as one of the SoG experts and on the Pharos Tutors stand. I was contacted afterwards by a member of Bulgarian Genealogical Federation who had attended my talk asking if they could review it in their journal. I should be receiving my copy soon. I may also be looking for a Bulgarian translator. Next years show will be at the Birmingham NEC on the 16th to 18th April 2015.

The second wave of Pharos Tutors certificate students graduated in July 2013. Having missed that one due to being stuck on a train for several hours I was especially pleased to be able to attend the 2014 graduation party at the Society of Genealogists last month. Congratulations to all who have worked so hard. There are photographs on the Society of Genealogists Facebook page.

On the personal front I headed back to school myself last autumn. I have now completed the first year of a part time MA in Biography and Creative Non Fiction at the University of East Anglia. This is part of the internationally renowned Creative Writing MA programme based at the university and I am thrilled to be on the course. My first MA was over 20-years ago and I was still completing it when I began my research career at Norfolk Record Office in 1992 and I began writing family histories around the same time.

I have always seen genealogy, local and social history as intertwined so writing about people and places in the past was a natural progression. After I launched my own research business in 1997 and trained as an adult education tutor I went on a number of creative writing courses. I then began to develop my own writing courses for family and house historians as none of the conventional ones address some of the particular problems we face when writing a history. I decided to take the Biography and Creative Non Fiction MA to build on those skills and to develop some of my own personal biographical and local history projects I am working on and hope to see published.

Coming soon

Celebrating Norwich’s Literary Heritage 1st to 7th November 2014

The Library Restaurant on Guildhall, Norwich will be hosting a week long literary and local history festival the first week of November to celebrate the building’s 100th birthday. There was library on this site from the 1830s and it became the Norfolk and Norwich Public Subscription Library in 1886. Following a fire in August 1898 the premises were rebuilt and extended and the newly restored premises reopened in 1914. The library closed in 1976 when the new Norwich library opened on the other side of city hall. The restaurant is celebrating this history with talks, meet the author and book signings events and a literary quiz. I will be giving a talk on the history of the area and the people who lived and worked in the building and nearby.

Inventory Snippet

Colman’s Trade Card showing the old public library.

It seems fitting that this festival will occur in the 20th anniversary year of the library fire in August 1994. The record office, which was housed in the basement of the library building, was also affected. Fortunately, no record office documents were destroyed, although there was some water damage as water used to extinguish the fire travelled down air shafts. I was still working at the record office then and can hardly believe it has been 20 years since we spent weeks rescuing millions of documents from the basement wearing hard hats and boots under supervision from the fire department.

We then spent months putting collections back together. This initially took place in the temporary storage generously offered by Mr. Warminger at his former waste paper warehouse on Ber Street. Throughout the whole period the record office kept a small microfilm and microfiche facility open at Shirehall. The record office and library reopened a full service in temporary premises in Gildengate House at Anglia Square. Finally, both the library and the record office moved into their own up to date premises. The architecturally award winning Millennium Library (below left) opened in 2001 on the former library site and the record office (below right) a year later in a building adjacent to county hall.


 

July 2013:

Past Search Newsletter Issue 15   July 2013
Issue 13 Title

At the beginning of this year I produced a newsletter in which I reviewed my working year in 2012. This proved to be immensely popular, generating lots of positive feedback. I have therefore decided to make it a more regular feature, starting with a review of the first six months of 2013.

As usual, my working week includes a mix of desk bound research and administration, visiting archives, teaching and giving talks. I also spend an increasing amount of time writing articles, books and other family and house history material. In addition to which I’ve managed to squeeze in attending some workshops and talks myself as part of my continuing professional development (they are also fun!).

January

January got off to a busy start with new commissions to transcribe family letters, investigate military ancestors and innkeepers. Despite bad weather and travel disruption I managed to visit record offices in Cambridge, Ipswich and Chelmsford as well as Norwich.

Manorial records provided the answer to locating a missing ancestor this month when they recorded both names he was known by.

I took one of my clients to visit Peartree Bindery on Unthank Road in Norwich so he could choose the binding for his family history book. They are a fabulous family run business providing great customer service.

Saturday 19th January saw the start of the first of my Pharos online courses for this year: Tying The Knot: Marriage and Its Records. This three week course is always fun to teach with its strong emphasis on social history.

I was a student myself when I attended a day course on Blogging Your Family History with Alec Tritton at the Society of Genealogists. As well picking up some new tips for my new blog East Anglian Heritage I met some of my own writing students and fellow genealogists all keen to blog their family history. One person told me he was inspired to set up his own blog last year after attending my talk on Writing Your Family History at WDYTYA? Live in 2012.

I finished the month by attending the first of a series of lectures on the architecture of the home by architectural historian and colleague, Dr. Sarah Pearson. This was held at the Anteros Arts Foundation, a wonderful medieval merchant’s house on Fye Bridge Street in Norwich.

February

The month started with a visit to Great Massingham in West Norfolk for a house history commission. I also fitted in attending another couple of architectural history lectures by Sarah Pearson.

I had the opportunity to attend an international weekend conference on biographical writing at the University of East Anglia. Entitled Turning Points The speakers included renowned biographers Claire Tomalin, Richard Holmes, Miranda Seymour, Charles Nicholls and Kathryn Hughes. Other speakers attended from academic institutions and organisations across the world. The lectures focused on new ways of biographical writing and whether or not the traditional ‘cradle to grave’ approach is dead.

The big event at the end of February was the annual three day Who Do You Think You Are? Live show at Olympia in London. I went to London two days before the show to join Liz Doyle of Customised Heritage Tours and her group of Australian ancestral tourists. Liz had arranged for genealogist Chris Paton of Scotland’s Greatest Story to give the group a pre-show workshop so they could make the most of their time there. As well as contributing to this session I then worked with the group and Derbyshire based researcher Kate Henderson of Relatively Speaking on their research plans and met up with them at the show itself.

The show was very hectic. I took part in the Society of Genealogists Ask the Experts sessions every day. The range of enquiries and family history problems was hugely varied and it was great to meet so many keen researchers. My talk on Writing Your Family History: Top Tips took place on Friday afternoon to a full house, with people hanging over the sides and standing at the back.

WDYTYA

My talk on ‘Writing Your Family History’ at WDYTYA? Live 2013
Photograph by Malcolm Bailey, volunteer on the Norfolk Family History Society stand and former student.

I also had three book signing sessions scheduled over the three days on the Pen and Sword stand. As well as signing copies of Tracing Your East Anglian Ancestors, the publishers arranged for advance copies of my new book Tracing Your House History to be available.

In between I spent managed to fit in some time helping on the Pharos Tutors stand, go to some of the other talks and network with other professional researchers, including two evening sessions in Pizza Express. It was lovely to meet so many people, although the downside was coming back with an awful cold and losing my voice.

March

At the beginning of the month I met up once more with Liz Doyle of Customised Heritage Tours and Vicky, one of her Australian clients, for an ancestral tour in Norfolk. From their base in Yaxham we went to the villages of Beetley, Gressenhall and North Elmham. As well as the thrill of exploring churches, churchyards and the locations her ancestors lived in we managed to have lunch in a local pub we are sure her ancestors frequented.

My second book, Tracing Your House History (Pen and Sword Books), was published in early March. It is now on sale at all good books shops, on Amazon, including a Kindle version, the book depository and via the publisher’s website.

Another of my five Pharos online courses started this month. This time it was four weeks on Parish Chest records. Most of my research work took place in Norfolk and the Ipswich branch of the Suffolk Record Office. I also did some work on a Roman Catholic family who moved in and out of several different counties and a man marrying his adult stepdaughter, which presented an interesting research challenge and a complicated family tree. Another interesting project I resumed this month was transcribing more of the letters of a soldier in the First World War. I also got to do some London and Kent research.

  Tracing Your House History
During a visit to Cambridge Archives I met fellow professional researcher, Karen Cummings for lunch. Karen has recently become a full member of AGRA and is taking over running the AGRA East Anglian network meeting from me.

In amongst research work and teaching I gave two talks in March. The first was a general talk on ‘Tracing Your Family Tree’ to a U3A Group in Fakenham. The second was my annual visit to the Mid Norfolk Family History Society in East Dereham, where I spoke on ‘Writing Your Family History’. I also received my first bookings for lectures and talks for the year 2014.

April

This month I visited Reepham to give a talk on being a house detective. I lived in Reepham for ten years and my daughter went to school there so it is always a pleasure to return. I was also interviewed on BBC Radio Norfolk on the 22nd about my forthcoming book and house history generally.

Fenland ancestors were the focus of most of my research projects this month with ancestors who criss-crossed the Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire borders. I visited Huntingdon archives this month for the first time in ages. It was a successful trip which took a client’s ancestry back to a marriage in 1654. I still appreciate how much nicer to work in their new(ish) base in the library than in the old office. Once again, the fabulous indexes at Cambridgeshire record office and some detailed wills provided essential links and breakthroughs.

Right at the end of the month I had the chance to meet up with one of my American clients who was touring England and Ireland with his sister.

May

At the beginning of the month I ran my two week Dead and Buried, Not Forgotten Pharos course. Focusing on researching churchyards, cemeteries and their records, this is quite definitely one of my favourites as I can never resist looking round churchyards and cemeteries whether or not I have any ancestors there.

Saturday the 4th May saw me in student mode once more as I attended a workshop on Publishing to Kindle for the Busy Genealogist by Geoff Young at the Society of Genealogist. Geoff has some useful tips on his website and also published a Kindle article on the same subject available on Amazon.

As well as ancestral research in Norfolk and Suffolk I did some investigating into local history resources for a client who is writing their own family history.

The month of May saw the start of my five week online course on Poor Law Records for Pharos. This forms part of the assessed certificate programme, although students can chose to be assessed or not. The course content is exactly the same but those who choose to be assessed are marked on specific lesson exercises and have to complete two additional assignments.

The Eastern Daily Press newspaper published a two page article on me and my new book in its weekend magazine on the 18th. I enjoyed the interview by Steve Snelling as he is also a local historian who has published several articles and books on military history and the Norfolk in the two world wars.

The following week Jarrolds Store in Norwich hosted a book launch for my Tracing Your House History book. I gave on how I came to write the book and my approach to house history research. A very keen audience asked questions right up to closing time.

EDP Article


I joined lots of my extended Irish family in Brighton on the bank holiday weekend to celebrate my Uncle Pat’s 80th birthday and came back with lots of extra snippets and photographs to add to my own family tree.

The last three days of the month were spent assisting American and Canadian members of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (pictured right) on their tour of East Anglia. I spent two days with them at Bury St. Edmunds Record Office in Suffolk and Norfolk Record Office before they spent a day in Essex with fellow researcher Glynnis Morris.

June

The first reviews of my Tracing Your House History book started to appear in May and June. All of them have been very favourable, but my favourite is the one by Trevor Yorke in the June issue of Who Do You Think You Are? magazine. I’m a huge fan of his books and articles on architecture, so it was an honour to have him review mine.

Another ancestral tour took place this month with an Australian client. Starting in Framlingham in Suffolk we were met by fellow professional genealogist Simon Last of Charnwood Genealogy. Simon grew up in the village and has researched and published two books about the people listed on the war memorial. Despite the cloudy day the rain held off as we drove over 150 miles in nine hours to visit the Suffolk villages of Framlingham, Rendham, Leiston with Sizewell and Beccles crossing the border into Norfolk to visit Gorleston along the way, and passing through several other places associated with her ancestors.

Ancestral research took me to Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire and Essex Archives once more. I finished the month by marking the coursework for those students on my Pharos Poor Law course taking the certificate. It is always a pleasure to read students work and there were some exceptional projects produced.

Photos clockwise from top left: The review of Tracing Your House History in WDYTYA magazine, the village of Framlingham and Framlingham church.


April 2013:

Past Search Newsletter Issue 14   April 2013
Issue 13 Title

The big event since my last newsletter was the annual Who Do You Think You Are? Live Show at Olympia on the 22nd to 24th February. I went to London two days early to join Liz Doyle of Customised Heritage Tours and her group of Australian ancestral tourists. Liz had arranged for Chris Paton of Scotland’s Greatest Story to give the group a pre show workshop so they could make the most of their time during the three days of the show. As well as contributing to this session I then worked with the four women and Derbyshire based researcher Kate Henderson of Relatively Speaking on their research plans.

The show itself was very hectic. I gave two hours in the Ask the Experts sessions every day. The range of enquiries and family history problems was hugely varied and it was great to meet so many keen researchers. My talk on Writing Your Family History: Top Tips took place on Friday afternoon to a full house, with people hanging over the sides and standing at the back.

I also had three book signing sessions scheduled over the three days on the Pen and Sword stand. As well as signing my existing book on Tracing Your East Anglian Ancestors Pen and Sword had arranged for advance copies of my new book Tracing Your House History to be available.

I also managed to fit in a bit of time helping on the Pharos Tutors stand, go to some of the other talks and network with other professional researchers. It was lovely to meet so many people, although the downside was coming back with an awful cold and losing my voice.

Talks

I gave two talks in March. The first of these was a general talk on ‘Tracing Your Family Tree’ to a U3A Group in Fakenham on the 7th. The other talk was to the Mid Norfolk Family History Society in East Dereham on the 20th March on ‘Writing Your Family History’. Both were very well attended with lots of questions at the end.

 

Tracing Your House History book is published

Tracing Your House History (Pen and Sword Books) was published in early March. It is now on sale at all good books shops, on Amazon, the book depository and via the publisher’s website:

http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Tracing-Your-House-History/p/3830

Jarrolds Store in Norwich is hosting a book launch on Thursday May 23rd at 6.30pm at which I will give a presentation based around the book. Cost £5.

http://www.jarrold.co.uk/events-diary/events-list/gill-blanchard-book-launch?page=-1&IArticle=13491

Other book signings are in the pipeline and look out for a feature in the Eastern Daily Press newspaper in early May.


  Tracing Your House History
In the meantime I will be giving a talk on being a house detective to the Reepham Society at the Old Brewery House, Reepham in Norfolk on the 15th April on being a House Detective. I lived in Reepham for ten years and am always pleased to return. The Reepham Society raises lots of money for charity through their programme of events and talks and I was delighted to be asked to contribute one of these. It also seemed very fitting as I feature two houses from Reepham in my house history book as well as having included some local characters in my earlier book on Tracing Your East Anglian Ancestors.  http://www.reepham.org.uk/The_Society.htm

Writing Your Family History Workshops

I will be running a new series of 10 Writing Your Family History workshops in Norwich, starting on 13th May. They will be held on at the Anteros Arts Foundation (formerly the King of Hearts), Fye Bridge Street, Norwich NR3 1LJ on Monday evenings 7-9pm. Although each workshop is linked each one can be taken on its own if there is a particular topic you want to focus on. Cost £14 each of £120 if you book all 10 together. Booking is essential. For more details see the courses link on my website or contact me.

Pharos Courses

Another round of my online courses will be starting soon:

3 May
Dead and Buried, Not Forgotten – Churchyards, Cemeteries and Their Records.
2 weeks. £26.99
http://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=214

20 May
The Poor, The Parish and The Workhouse – Records in the 18th and 19th Centuries
5 weeks. Unassessed £45.99 Assessed £61.00
http://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=203

22 July
Searching for Wills and Administrations in England and Wales
4 weeks. Unassessed £39.99 Assessed £53.99
http://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=205

17 August
Tying the Knot – Marriage and its Records
3 weeks. £33.99
http://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=212 

January 2013:

Past Search Newsletter Issue 13

January 2013
Issue 13 Title

2012 was an incredibly busy year both professionally and personally. People frequently ask me what I do as a full time researcher, tutor, lecturer and author, or whether I’ve found anything interesting recently during my research. Much of what I find is the essential building blocks of family history such as births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials. The excitement for me, my clients and students more often lies in putting the pieces together and filling in gaps. For me personally, I love the detective work and get a real buzz when I find an elusive missing ancestor, take a house history back as far as it can go or find out about the local history of a place. However, I can honestly say that over the years I have probably come across every type of event there is and am never bored by what I do.

Like most self-employed people I don’t work nine to five and probably work more hours than I ever did when employed by others. In general, I spend between three to five days a week conducting research in record offices. The rest of my time is either spent in my office conducting online research; writing reports; dealing with administration; giving talks; teaching and updating course materials and preparing talks; meeting clients; visiting houses; conducting family history tours; expanding my own knowledge base through research and study and writing articles and books.

Below is an overview of my working life during the last year which touches on some of the discoveries made. Whilst the majority of research was undertaken by me personally I have had some excellent research conducted on my client’s behalf by researchers in other areas or with particular specialism’s who I would not hesitate to recommend. Notably: Geoff Swinfield in London, Simon Fowler in London (especially for military research), Diana Spelman (particularly for Latin and very early palaeography), Liz Carter in Cambridgeshire, Chris Paton in Scotland and Peter Towey in Devon.

I hope you find it interesting reading.

January

My year started on a high with a lovely thank you from the recipient of a house history book commissioned by his wife for his Christmas present. After several months work of research and writing it was bound in leather by the excellent Peartree Bindery of Unthank Road in Norwich. I then delivered it to the local post office, who were in on the secret, and had agreed to hide it until Christmas Eve so the surprise was not spoilt.

We moved home in the middle of the month and I opened my new office on Queens Road, Norwich.

I also found time to attend lectures at the Norfolk Historic Buildings Group www.nhbg.org.uk and start teaching a course on Poor Law records for Pharos Tutors. On the 18th I gave a talk to one of my favourite family history societies – the Mid Norfolk Family – on tracing house histories.

By the end of the month I’d attended an AGRA regional network meeting www.agra.org.uk and council meeting as well as continuing to conduct research for clients. Some fascinating aspects of 16th and 17th century life in Suffolk emerged from manorial records whilst a nonconformist family proved challenging to find. I was also commissioned to write a Spotlight on Norfolk article by Your Family History magazine.

February

February was even busier than January. My Pharos Tutors poor law students all passed their course work with flying colours. Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Sussex research predominated. Merchant seamen and a marriage and death in Cuba were amongst the less usual findings.

The Eastern Daily Press and Eastern Evening News featured me in an article on Why Norfolk Has Ancestral Links Across the World http://tinyurl.com/7nfuoh8

The big event at the end of the month was of course Who Do You Think You Are Live at Olympia. I attended all three days, giving two talks to packed audiences on Tracing Your Norfolk Ancestors and Writing Your Family History – including one on my birthday – and helped out on the AGRA and Pharos Tutors stands. I was lucky enough to meet up with lots of other professional genealogists and people working in related fields. This included two meals in great company at Pizza Express on the Friday and Saturday evenings.

On the last day of the month I gave an interview on my life as a researcher and tutor to Future Radio in Norwich.

  WDYTYA Live


On the Pharos Stand at WDYTYA Live 2012 with director Helen Osborn and fellow tutor Gillian Waters

March

This was the month when Essex research took precedence. As well as tracing several family lines I finished off writing a fascinating house history involving a key figure in the English Civil War and witch hunting. My Pharos Tutors course Searching for Wills and Administrations began with a very active and enthusiastic group.

New projects included a family history biography for a client; research into Huguenot ancestors; tracing worstead weavers in north Norfolk; discovering a clients ancestor was one of the first Europeans born in Australia and investigating a 17th century legal dispute over a will and accusations of fraud. I also put together some local history background for a couple of clients on the places their ancestors lived.

April

Several long term Norfolk and Suffolk research projects were completed this month and I attended an AGRA council meeting in London. My Spotlight on Norfolk article was published in Your Family History magazine.

This month I spent considerable time working for other researchers in different parts of the country, a private detective company and tracing relations for heir hunting companies. I also finished marking my Pharos poor law students on their coursework.

Inline images 6

18th century Settlement Examination from 1741 of the kind I ask students to analyse on my Poor Law course



May

I hosted the AGRA East Anglian regional meeting in my office on the first of the month. The following week saw me giving a three hour lecture on Tracing East Anglian Ancestors to a full house at the Society of Genealogists in London. Amongst them were two of my clients, one of whom has also taken some of my online courses too. It was great to meet them in person. In the break I also caught up with Sharon Grant, a London based researcher and associate member of AGRA.

A couple of days later, my Tying the Knot online course on marriage and marriage records started. This is always a fun course to teach as we look at marriage traditions, how the law and marriage records have changed over time as well as some of social and historical context. Comments by some of my students on the tasks set also spurred me on to look again at one of my own brick walls. As a result, I did finally establish that my great grandfather Charles Smith Panting had been married twice, even though he said he was single at his second marriage. I also proved he wasn’t a bigamist, which had been one theory, although I’m not entirely sure if I’m relieved or disappointed! I was then able to take that line back to the early 1800s. Now I just have to find time to go and visit Gloucestershire archives to find out more.

The AGRA (Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives) AGM took place on the 19th. As well as being a chance to meet up with other researchers there was also an interesting talk on the British in India Collection at the British Library. AGRA is the only professional organisation in the UK for genealogists whereby full members have to prove their competence. Associate members sign a code of conduct and are expected to provide evidence of their work in order progress to full membership within a couple of years. www.agra.org.uk

Just when I thought I’d done everything I could on my mother’s side of the family one of my Irish cousins contacted me this month to ask if I knew that we had a relative who survived the sinking of the Titanic. And no, I didn’t. Mary Glynn was my grandfather’s cousin from Slievenore in County Clare. She was travelling to America to join relatives when the Titanic sank. According to family stories she never returned to Ireland because she would not go in a boat ever again.

June

Dead and Buried, Not Forgotten: Burial and Cemetery Records began on the 4th. This is definitely one of my favourite of the courses I teach for Pharos Tutors because it features churchyards and cemeteries.

I took an Australian client on a tour of seven Norfolk parishes at the beginning of the month. Despite the rain we had a wonderful day visiting churches, mills and pubs associated with his ancestors. We travelled from one side of Norfolk to the other, starting in Long Stratton, where we visited the two parish churches of St. Michael and St. Mary. We then went to market town of Diss. After exploring the church and town we travelled to Reedham where we saw the church and mills and ate in the local pub. On the way to Reedham we diverted to the church at nearby Hales to see the remains of the medieval wall paintings. After Reedham, we drove to the lovely village of Marsham, the market town of Aylsham and finally to Corpusty.

I do get some time off, but find that work often follows me. During a weekend break in St. Neots in Cambridgeshire this month I was walking round the market place when someone tapped me on the shoulder and said “I recognised your voice”. It was one of my students from the previous year’s writing workshops at the Society of Genealogists.

I always have lots of what I call day to day research on the go, where I trawl the usual sources of parish registers, wills, poor law records, parish records, newspapers and so on. This month’s work took me to Suffolk several times, where one client’s line was traced back to the early 1500s.


Inline images 7

On an ancestral tour to St. Mary’s Church, Diss, June 2012

 

Inline images 8

Midsummer on Aylsham High Street on an ancestral tour in June 2012

July

On the 3rd I gave a talk on The Homes of our Ancestors to Cambridgeshire Family History Society in March (the place not the month). My four week online Pharos Course on The Parish Chest began on the 5th. The first week of the month saw the graduation ceremony at the Society of Genealogists (SoG) for the first students to complete the combined Pharos and SoG certificate course. It was lovely to meet so many students, most of whom I have only ‘spoken’ to online, and hear from those who couldn’t make it.

I made a rare foray in Scottish research this month. Once I’d exhausted what I could do from a distance I commissioned Chris Paton to do what was needed locally. He produced an excellent report reinforcing my belief that it is always best to use local experts if possible.

I managed to spend several days on a research trip to Lincoln in the middle of the month. I always enjoy visiting the city. I also have some Lincolnshire ancestors on my paternal grandmother’s side so it gives me an opportunity to do research of my own.

A very moving piece of research was to locate where a client’s uncle had died during WWI and whether or not he had a grave. Her father had often talked about his brother who was only 20 when he died, and she felt time was running out to find out the details. Despite him having one of the most common surnames in England it was possible to trace his service record and locate his burial place. My client and her daughter subsequently visited his grave in France where they were able to plant a rose bush.

My lovely research assistant Lauren Orton moved to Glasgow at the end of the month. The good news is that she has been able to continue doing some work for me, particularly the production side of my family and house history biographies.

Finally, finally, finally, I completed my latest book, Tracing Your House History, for Pen and Sword Books, which will be in bookshops in March. I definitely couldn’t have done it without the guidance of my editor Simon Fowler, and some very practical proof reading and help with cutting 30,000 words from assistant Lauren, my daughter Caitlin and friend Pipa Clements.

August

I met a lovely Australian couple who were visiting places associated with their ancestors. The wife’s Suffolk roots include one of the earliest Victorian photographers. Other research for overseas clients this month included people transported for crimes, a Tasmanian missionary and a spate of illegitimacies.

My second five week Pharos Poor Law course of the year began and I spent a lot of time in Ipswich and Cambridge Record Offices.

September

I always like discovering something new about local people, places and business. This month I learnt something new about local engineering company Boulton and Paul whilst researching an early 20th century prefabricated house in Devon. As well as engineering works Boulton and Paul were one of the market leaders in prefabricated buildings. Whilst investigating whether they had designed this particular house I discovered that Boulton and Paul had a massive export market in kit houses, verandahs and garden houses to South America.

The Norfolk Record Society held their annual book launch at the Norfolk Record Office on the 27th. Their latest book is the fascinating letters from 1663 to 1679 of Robert Paston, First Earl of Yarmouth. It is called The Whirlpool of Misadventures and edited by Dr. Jean Agnew. Robert was a descendant of the famous Paston family who are renowned for their letter writing in the medieval period. Robert Paston’s letters document his family life, desire to better his financial position, national and local politics during this turbulent time, his interest in alchemy and struggles with ill-health. Membership of the society costs £12 (UK) and £16 (Overseas). Members receive a copy of the annual publication of transcripts of original documents and an invitation to the annual launch. www.norfolkrecordsociety.org.uk

I spent the end of the month marking coursework and sending out reports to my Pharos Poor Law students. I’m known to be a ‘hard marker’ and they all did fantastically. Research projects included newspapers; coroners’ reports; nonconformists; Huguenots and transcribing some wonderful family letters from the First World War.

Inline images 9

Export Buildings’ in a Boulton and Paul Catalogue from 1926

October

I was invited to attend an event at Norfolk Record Office to commemorate the purchase of the ‘Lost Paston Letter’ on the 4th of October. The Paston Society helped the record office buy a 1455 letter from John Falstaff to his cousin, John Paston. In it, Falstaff’s secretary asks Paston to take action against the prior and convent of Norwich cathedral regarding 18 years of non-payment of rent for land. The original letter had not been seen since the 1830s until it came up at auction in June 2012. The evening gave thanks to the Paston Society and included an interesting exhibition on the Paston family and their letters and a talk about this particular letter and its social and historical context.

My Writing Your Family History workshops at the Society of Genealogists in London began. All three days were fully sold out and the SoG is already taking bookings for the next series later this year. 

I completed a house history book for a client in Brancaster ready to be printed and bound. I seem to have had a run of house histories in the last couple of years where ownership has primarily passed through the female lines. So it was with this one. Several women from the same family inherited the property over a 150 year period. Whilst the house itself dates from the mid to late 1800s, the ownership of the land can be traced back to the 1750s.

November

Two new house histories were commissioned in different parts of North Norfolk. In both cases, architectural historian, Dr. Sarah Pearson came with me to make an assessment of their physical history.

My two-week Pharos online course Dead and Buried ran an extra time due to popular demand. I also began teaching my four-week course Searching for Wills and Administrations for them for the second time this year.

A research highlight for November was finding the second marriage and death of a client’s ‘missing’ aunt. I confess I wasn’t convinced I would succeed as it was such a common name to look for.

I gave another talk to Cambridgeshire Family History Society, this time in Ely. This time the subject was Court and Criminal Records.

Norfolk Record Office, which is where I conduct most of my research, closed for its annual two-week stocktaking. This gave me the chance to catch up with lots of office administration as well as visiting other record offices in East Anglia and further afield.

December

I finished off various other research projects for clients who wanted to share the results with their families over the festive season.

One fascinating north Norfolk family was traced back to the early 1400s using wills, deeds and manorial records, and the help of local Latin expert Diana Spelman.  It is highly unusual to be able to get so far back on a family line due to lack of documentation.

I visited a client’s house in one of my favourite parts of north Norfolk with architectural historian, Dr. Sarah Pearson. Sarah is dating the building from its structural history and I will be working on the various documents to find out more.

Another breakthrough in a client’s research came from manorial records at Cambridge Record Office. They provided proof of relationships for a family which have many ‘missing’ baptisms. They also provided a great deal of detail on female lines in the same family as various land and property was passed on from their relatives. As this land was copyhold each sale, lease and inheritance was recorded in the manor court books over several hundred years.

I completed the marking and student reports for my Pharos Wills and Administrations course just in time for Christmas. This finished off my working year very nicely as they all did very well and it was a pleasure to read their assignments.


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June 2012:

Past Search Newsletter Issue 12

June 2012
Past Seach Newsletter

It’s now halfway through 2012 and this is the first newsletter.  It’s been a busy time for me both professionally and personally.  The end of 2011 was hectic as we prepared to move home and move offices both at the same time.  After working from home for so long I’ve taken the decision to move into an office space, with more room for filing and fewer opportunities for distraction!  Past Search is now located on Queens Road in Norwich. The new postal address is:

Past Search
Suite 14
Meadow View House
191 Queens Road
Queens Road
Norwich
NR1 3PP
01603 610619

There have been three new entries in the records for the family, all very sad.  Just before Christmas my father, Bryan Edwin Blanchard, passed away quite suddenly.  It was probably he who inspired me to become a genealogist, instilling a love of history and an enquiring mind in his children.  A metallurgist by trade he was also a keen folk singer and musician, an interest shared by all of my family.  In May my mother, Bridget Christine Blanchard (nee Naughton) also passed away. Although Chris or Biddy as she was variously known to family and friends had not been in the best of health it was also unexpected.  She was one of the first NHS nurses, coming over from County Clare in Ireland to train in 1947 and spent over 40 years working in the NHS until her retirement. Tom Naughton, one of my mother’s brothers predeceased her by five weeks, dying in the house he was born and lived in all his life.

Future Events

The Parish Chest -There was more to life than baptism, marriage and burial” runs from 28 June in association with Pharos tutors, running for 4 weeks at a cost of £39.99. 

The parish chest is the collective name for the records and accounts of the parish. From the reign of Elizabeth I the parish’s role in local affairs expanded to include many civil responsibilities that affected the lives of your ancestors. This course explains how to locate parish chest records, describes indexes and finding aids, and discusses how to interpret and use search results.  This will cover Churchwardens, Overseers and vestry records, property and land records and the Parish Constable, school and other records.

 

Parish Chest

St Margarets Parish Chest, in Kings Lynn, Norfolk

DMUW

Downham Market Union Workhouse

The Poor, The Parish and The Workhouse - Records in the 18th and 19th Centuries” begins on 13 August, also with Pharos tutors.  This course runs for 5 weeks, and prices start at £45.99.  

Those who could not or would not support themselves obtained help, in England and Wales, either from the parish, before 1834, or the poor law union, after 1834. Careful records were kept and they are helpful to family historians.  The course explains how poor relief evolved, functioned and recorded its activities. You will learn how to use these records, how they can solve genealogical problems and what fascinating insights they offer into the lives of your ancestors. We will cover records of the poor: background, terminology, and how the Internet can help, including workhouse records and parish Poor Law records.

In November a two-week course on “Dead and Buried, Not Forgotten - Churchyards, Cemeteries and Their Records” will be running with Pharos at a provisional cost of £26.99. 

We will cover searching for the records of the churchyard or cemetery where your ancestors were buried. The information recorded for a burial reveals about family background and genealogical facts. This course provides the historical background and practical information you need to find records of burial in churchyards and cemeteries. It also gives practical advice about visiting graveyards and recording monumental inscriptions. We will look at churches, churchyards and burial grounds up to 1853 and also new cemeteries, new records and different searches for records from 1853 to the present. 

Also in November with Pharos is “Searching for Wills and Administrations in England and Wales”.  This is running for four weeks from 5 November, and prices start at £39.99. 

Records of wills and administrations are potentially the most informative sources for genealogical research. The course explains the systems for probate before and after 1858, describes records and online resources, and takes you through the steps of finding and using wills, administrations and death duty registers. You will learn how to extract maximum genealogical benefit from these probate records.

Looking towards next year I will be running a course on “Becoming a Better Genealogist- Research in England and Wales” with Pharos in 2013.  The price is provisionally £51.99, but bookings are not yet open. 

Genealogists who get results pay attention to methods, sources and the essential foundations of all research, history and geography. Regardless of how long you have been searching, there is something in this course that will make you a better genealogist. The lessons pay particular attention to how you tackle research problems, where you can find sources, and how to extract maximum value from online databases. Among classes of records discussed during the course you will discover some materials are available only in archives and libraries. You will learn how to locate original records, transcripts and copies. By the end of the course you will have acquired new skills and gained a better understanding of effective research techniques - from the present back to the 1830s.

Recent Events

“Searching for Wills and Administrations in England and Wales” just completed.  In this course with Pharos Tutors I covered the systems for probate before and after 1858 and took students through the steps of finding and using wills, administrations and death duty registers to extract the maximum from the resources. 

In February I attended the Who Do You Think You Are Live event and gave two talks.  On the Friday I was asked to reprise my popular talk from 2011, Your Norfolk Ancestors: An Insider’s Guide, and on Sunday I presented Writing Your Family History: Top Tips.  In Your Norfolk Ancestors I covered Norfolk resources from hidden gems I’ve discovered through to getting the best from the well-known, including national, local and online sources.

WDYTYA

Me (right) with some of the Pharos
team at WDYTYA Live 2012

In Sunday’s talk I offered advice and tips on choosing a writing style, how to decide what to include from social and historical context and family stories, and how to deal with missing pieces of the story and anomalies in information. 

“Tying the Knot – Marriage and its Records” ran in May with Pharos Tutors.  This covered marriages both legal and otherwise and investigated the fascinating history of marriage, including banns, licences, laws, handfasting, bigamy and more.  Practical advice was given on records and finding aids, the best places to search online, in archives and in libraries, and what to do when faced with puzzling or challenging records.

Past Search in the News

In February I was interviewed for an article in the Eastern Daily Press where I spoke about why so many people, including overseas residents, find that they’ve got family ties to Norfolk. I also touched on getting started on tracing your family tree and offered some brief tips on useful resources and attitudes for success.

I have also contributed an article to Your Family History, which was published in issue 26 of the magazine.  In Spotlight On Norfolk I shared some of my secrets on tracing your Norfolk ancestors. 

Race for Life

One of my assistants, Lauren Orton, took part in Norwich’s Race For Life event, and raised nearly £200 for cancer research.

North Walsham Battle Site

This Month in History

On 8 June 1042, King Hardecanute, son of Canute, collapsed and died at a wedding feast in the third year of his reign.  The Anglo Saxon Chronicle records him as being ruthless and greedy, and fond of drink.  His half-brother ascended the throne and became known later as Edward the Confessor.  Hardecanute was the last Danish king of England. 

On 25 or 26 June 1381 the Battle of North Walsham was fought in Norfolk.  A large group of rebellious local peasants led by Geoffrey Litster, the so called “King of the Commons” met with the heavily armed forces of Henry le Dispenser, Bishop of Norwich.  Dispeser crushed the revolt and Litster was executed.  This battle marked the end of any significant combat in the 1831 Peasant’s Rebellion.

Left: The site of the Batte of North Walsham.

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June 2011:

Past Search Newsletter Issue 11

June 2011
Past Seach Newsletter

Using History to Promote Businesses and Local Tourism

 

Norwich Castle

Norwich Castle which Emma of Norwich held under siege for three months in 1075, after she and her husband organised a revolt against King William (the Conqueror) at their wedding feast. The castle is also home to the world renowned butterfly collection donated by local explorer and scientist, Margaret Elizabeth Fountaine (1862-1940).

It continues to be a busy year for me and my team. I've been working on a range of family, local history and house/property research projects. One of my recent clients was the King William IV Inn and Restaurant at Sedgeford in Norfolk. I researched the history of the Inn and produced a written history for their visitors to read, whilst my assistant Lauren Orton created some display material for owners, Lili and Nick Skerritt to use in the public areas. The King William IV celebrates its 175th birthday this year with a party on the 23rd of June launching their new displays and raising money for the local church and Astro fund with jazz, food and charity raffle from 6.30pm. If you would like to attend tickets cost £23.50.

http://www.thekingwilliamsedgeford.co.uk/index.html

Two related aspects of my business many people are unaware of are ancestral tourism and historical walks and talks. One of my recent favourites was the Norwich's Women in History walk for International Women's Day events in March. The walk was organised in partnership with Gender Equality Norfolk and Norwich (GENN) and Norfolk Netwalking groups. On a beautiful evening our group started from Norwich Cathedral at the Edith Cavell statue then meandered along Castle Meadow past Norwich Castle, down Opie Street, along London Street to Elm Hill then Magdalene Street and Colegate. Along the way I introduced them to some of the fascinating women associated with Norwich and their contributions and links to revolt, social and political reforms, acts of heroism, nonconformism, scientific discoveries and explorations, suffragettes and musical innovations.

 

WDYTYA

 

Who Do You Think You Are Live 2011 and AGRA

The Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA) is the only professional body in the UK whose members have to prove their competence to join. I helped at the AGRA stand at WDYTYA Live in February where the group had a very busy three days talking to people about careers in genealogy and helping people find and choose a professional researcher to conduct work for them. I also attended my first AGRA AGM this month where I was elected to the council. Both were a great opportunity to meet other members and associates and I look forward to being involved.

As well as helping at the AGRA stand I was once again one of the Society of Genealogists speakers at WDYTYA Live  My talk on ‘Norfolk Ancestors: An Insiders Guide’ which took place on the Friday afternoon was full and it was great to talk to so many people afterwards and at the show generally.

What’s Happening in Archives and Online

Changes at local archives in the last few months include the Cambridgeshire archives opening all day, on one Saturday each month. At Cambridge record office this is every third Saturday whilst Huntingdon record office opens every second Saturday. Booking is essential and you can order documents in advance up to 12:45pm the day before.

http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/leisure/archives

The three Suffolk record offices no longer produce original documents on a Saturday unless you order them in advance. This is a retrograde step as many researchers won’t necessarily know they need an original document until they are in the middle of a piece of research.

Government and council cutbacks will have an impact on all archives, with those in East Anglia having to make significant savings. At the moment there has been no impact on opening hours at archive centres but there will be changes in library opening times which will affect people’s ability to access the free online resources they provide.

Good news from Norfolk Record Office is the granting of UN Memory of the World status to the medieval records of the St. Giles Hospital (Great Hospital) in Norwich by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. The Great Hospital, as it is commonly known, was founded around 1249 and is still in use today, meaning it has provided unbroken care for elderly people for over 760 years. As well as being a fascinating complex of buildings architecturally, the records are the fullest and most important set of medieval hospital records in Britain. They provide fascinating insights into the social history of care for the elderly as well as useful genealogical information. The archive will now be listed on the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register, an online catalogue that helps promote the UK’s documentary heritage across the world. The UK Register can be seen at:

www.unesco.org.uk/ukregister

Professor Carole Rawcliffe of the University of East Anglia is the world’s expert on these records. Professor Rawcliffe and her medical history students have been working on the Great Hospital and other pre-modern English hospitals for over 15 years. You can see a series of 3D computer models developed from their work which recreate the pre-Reformation hospital on the Virtual Past website. This also explains the history of the hospital and includes a selection of related maps, plans, manuscripts (with translations), photographs and drawings.

http://www.virtualpast.co.uk/the-great-hospital.php

Sponsored Cycle Ride

I will be taking part in the Norwich 50 cycle ride on today (5th of June) from Norwich to Blickling Hall. I am raising money for Norwich Door to Door, a dial a ride charity for the elderly and disabled. Many thanks to those who sponsored me. How much we've raised can be seen at:

http://www.justgiving.com/Gill-Blanchard

  Cycle Ride

My House History Book

After a few delays and with thanks to my very forbearing publishers, I am continuing to work on this. Publication is now expected to be in the spring of 2012. If anyone has any interesting architectural features, documents or stories associated with their homes they would like featured in my book please get in touch.

Historical Tour

Architectural historian Tony Eggleston explains the history of the stunning Art Nouveau Royal Arcade in Norwich to the house history students on their tour. The Royal Arcade was designed in 1899 by local architect George Skipper who also designed Surrey House (headquarters of Norwich Union) and Cromer’s Hotel de Paris. Tony encourages the class to look at the influence of such buildings and designs on domestic architecture.

 

 

Courses and Workshops

The house history workshops run in Norwich have been a great success and it has been a real pleasure co-teaching with architectural historian, Dr. Sarah Edwards. Our last workshop is in June but we have plans to run more in 2012. One of our field trips was an architectural tour of Norwich, led by local expert, Tony Egglestone.

In the meantime the Norwich Architectural History Group (Norwich AHG) group run by Sarah and other present and former UEA lecturers in art, architecture and history has a programme of talks and walks around Norfolk and Norwich planned for this summer and autumn. Coming soon is a taster session with Gerald Randall on Practical Church Exploration on July 16th at Bedingham and Woodton. The sessions are composed of an introductory walk round the first church followed by two hours of theoretical exploration, a lunch break and a two further hours at a second church in the afternoon. The cost of a day session is £10 a head.

For those of you who develop a passion for church exploration Gerald will be running a further more in-depth course in the autumn term through the WEA on Thursday mornings.  For more details contact Sarah Edwards on norwichahg@googlemail.com

Online Courses with Pharos Tutors

 

Write Your Own Family History

Book writing and research commitments mean I won’t be running as many local face-to-face courses and workshops as usual. However, my Writing Your Family History workshops return to the Society of Genealogists in July and August. The workshops do not have to be taken as a whole course, each session can be attended as astand-alone tutorial.

  • Saturday, 16 July 2011, 2-5pm - Writing Family History (pt2) Expanding your family History
  • Saturday, 23 July 2011, 2-5pm - Writing Family History (pt3) Developing your Writing Further
  • Saturday, 13 Aug 2011, 2-5pm - Writing Family History (pt4) Building background material
  • Saturday, 20 Aug 2011, 2-5pm - Writing Family History (pt4) Production, Presentation and Review

This Month in History

 

Wat TylerA depiction of Wat Tyler’s death from Jean Froissart's Chronicles

 

2 June, 1780: The Gordon Riots begin in London. The Papists Act of 1778 eased discriminatory laws against Catholics. Lord George Gordon headed a 60,000 crowd who intended to hand a petition opposing the Act to the House of Commons. The petition was voted down and riots ensued over the next six days.

8 June, 1929: Britains first female cabinet minister is appointed. Margaret Bondfield became minister of labour.

15 June, 1381:  Wat Tyler is killed at Smithfield, his death disperses the Peasant’s Revolt without any significant concessions by the Crown.

26 June, 1483:  Richard III becomes king of England. He declared his nephews Edward and Richard illegitimate in order to assume the throne.

Recommended Books

Tracing Your Family History on the Internet by Chris Patton. Pen and Sword books Ltd, 2011.

Researching on the internet can be intimidating for those who are inexperienced in both using the internet and understanding genealogical records. Chris Patton offers his considerable knowledge on these subjects and explains how to see the wood from the trees.  Tracing Your Family History on the Internet also takes in the specific record types for all parts of the United Kingdom. Among the records covered are occupational records, registers of births, marriages and deaths, maps and immigration documents.

Overall the book is a great jumping off point for those looking to start delving into their families past online. More experienced researchers will find some gaps in their knowledge get filled, but may want to seek out more specialist reference material to advance their skills.

 

The Pastons And Their England by H. S. Bennett. Cambridge University Press, 1995.

The lives and times of the Paston family have been preserved by a unique collection of letters spanning 1422 to1509. In this book H. R. Bennett uses these letters and many other historical documents to chronicle the families rise from peasants to knights.

Clement Paston is the first to enter the story, living in the Norfolk town with which he shares a surname. Clement worked a few plots of land and managed to educate his son to a very high level. This son, William, went on to study law and set about the family’s progression through several social strata of English society. In an era where much is know of nobility, but little of those below them, The Pastons And Their England provides a fascinating portrait of how ‘the rest’ lived.

Recommended Websites

Sedgeford has a fascinating history and is the site of an internationally important and ongoing archaeological survey. The SHARP website provides lots of fascinating information on this project and the local area.
http://ccgi.sedgeford.plus.com/~sedgeford/blog

There are lots of exciting new developments on the Internet. The major websites continue to add new databases on an almost monthly basis. Amongst the many new items appearing over the last few months those worth a special mention are the census enumerators books for the 1911 census on Ancestry www.ancestry.co.uk whilst Find my Past has new military records and indexes, revised their search facility of the birth, marriage and death indexes and added some interesting Irish resources. www.findmypast.co.uk

Lincs to the Past is a fascinating new gateway website to collections held in Lincolnshire museums and archives, including thousands of images. www.lincstothepast.com

Two old favourites always worth looking at are:

Old Maps, a digital historical map archive: www.old-maps.co.uk

UKBMD provides a gateway to websites providing on-line transcriptions to UK births, marriages, deaths and censuses. www.ukbmd.org.uk

Meet the Past Search Team

 

Boudicca

An illustration of Queen Boudicca of the Iceni, drawn by Lauren Orton

Lauren Orton. Btec in Fine Art.
Lauren has been working part time for me for 11 years. She is responsible for keeping my office in some semblance of order, conducts research and has a real talent for reading and interpreting maps. One of Lauren’s biggest contributions is through her creative talents. She designed my logo, has produced artwork and designed, written and produced promotional materials for me and clients. Lauren started taking over the layout and production of the family and house history books and presentation packs I create for clients last year and has done a fantastic job.

Cáitlin Blanchard.
Some might think it’s a mistake to work with family, but my daughter has also played a big part in my business since her teens. Like all my assistants she has had to multi-task and can count office administration and research assistance amongst her roles. Her career path has taken her into retail and she is currently in charge of my social media marketing.

Alex Orton. BA (Hons).
Journalism graduate, and brother to Lauren, Alex has notched up around 10 years of part time work for me from filing; database creation and entry; market research and research assistance. Alex now lives in London pursuing a career in journalism, but continues to manage my website and produce my newsletters. Without him there would be no pretty pictures or layout on this newsletter. Check out the changes and new additions he has recently made to my website. These include past copies of my newsletter and a photo gallery of places across East Anglia I have visited over the years. This will be added to on a regular basis, so you never know, you might find a photo on there of a place you are interested in.

Ian Buckingham, MBA.
Ian was an IT pioneer, working in the industry since the late 1970s and encouraged the company he worked for to be one of the first in the UK to use the Internet. A project manager and network specialist Ian can turn his hand to anything computer related from building and installation to trouble shooting. A keen amateur genealogist whose interest in family history began in the 1970s Ian has over the years assisted me with many research projects and has a particular love for maps. He has been responsible for book layout and production for many clients; website design, SEO and technical assistance as well as marketing and business development. Although health problems have meant Ian has retired from his main work and taken more of a back seat in mine over the last couple of years, his business skills and analysis still prove invaluable.

I continue to use a network of established professional researchers for work I and my own team cannot provide. In order to maintain the highest standards for my clients I only work with people who have either undergone extensive training, study and ongoing professional development, or built up a research practice over time through in-depth personal research combined with activities such as transcription projects for family history societies and similar organisations.

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