About Gill Blanchard
I am a full time historical researcher and author with an academic background in History, Sociology and Politics at degree and postgraduate degree level. I also have a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (Post Compulsory Education), which qualifies me to teach adults. I was awarded a second MA with Merit in Biography and Creative Non Fiction by the University of East Anglia.
I have been conducting family, house and local history research on a full time professional basis since 1992, setting up my own research company in 1997, and am a full member of Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA), the foremost accrediting body in the UK. I began my research career by working at Norfolk Record Office for six years. During this time I conducted research on a daily basis on behalf of those who could not visit in person, and assisted visitors with their own research projects. While working at the record office I also transcribed and indexed numerous documents dating from the sixteenth century onwards, including poor law settlement examinations, probate records, coroners’ inquests and quarter sessions court papers.As well as a wide range of private clients from across the world, I have assisted several authors, academics, journalists and television producers with their background research. These include the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?, and I appeared on the Mary Berry episode in 2014 and the Jonnie Peacock episode in 2018. In addition to this have been featured widely in local press, national family history magazines and blogs, and appeared on various local radio shows as an expert and educator in the field. Other organisations I have worked for include local architects, property developers, marketing companies, solicitors, hotels and pubs; the heritage sector; the New England Historic Genealogical Society in America; Customised Heritage Tours in Australia and national newspapers.
As a qualified teacher of adults, I have given talks and run courses and workshops on family history and house history research at all levels from beginners to post-graduate locally, nationally and online. These include at Bury St. Edmunds Record Office, The Genealogy Show at the NEC, the Family Tree Live show; the Who Do You Think You Are? Live show; The Family History Shows; the Society of Genealogists; Adult Education services; a two year post-graduate course at the University of East Anglia; Heritage Open Days; the National Writers’ Centre; the National Centre for Writing; the Families in British India Society (FIBIS); the Guild of One Name Studies, the Society for One Place Studies; the National Trust; Deepings Literary Festival and numerous family and local history societies, museums and libraries.
I played a key role in developing the genealogy certificate programme offered by an online course provider, and taught for them for ten years. Many of my courses are attended by librarians, record office staff and people aiming to set up as professional researchers. In the past I also taught adults on Access, A Level, GCSE and NVQ courses in history and humanities related subjects through the Adult Education and HM Prison Services. Whilst working for the latter I received Home Office security clearance. I have also been a visiting lecturer on archival research for the MA in Biography and Creative Non Fiction at UEA.
I am the author of several research guides, biographies and local histories: ‘Tracing Your Ancestors: Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk’, ‘Tracing Your House History’ and ‘Writing Your Family History are all published by Pen and Sword Books. Another guide on ‘Tracing Your Tudor and Stuart Ancestors’ and a local history on ‘Struggle and Suffrage in Norwich’ are in progress for the same publishers.
My biography of the fascinating and overlooked hero of the English Civil Wars, Vice-Admiral Sir John Lawson is entitled ‘Lawson Lies Still in the Thames’. This was published by Amberley Publishing, and I have a contract with them for another biography of two sisters called ‘The Huguenot Daughters’. My local history ‘I Therefore Post Him as a Coward’ about a scandal in a north Norfolk village in 1836 was published by Poppyland Publishing, and I am working on some new projects for their booklet series.
You can find a synopsis of each book and details of where to buy them on the books page of this website. I have had numerous articles published over the decades in national magazines and journals, including Family Tree and Who Do You Think You Are. See here for a list of some of articles.
I charge £30 Sterling per hour for research. Costs of other services are detailed throughout this site, including on the costs page. Please contact me for more details.You can commission research via PayPal. If you do not have a PayPal account you can still pay via credit or debit card.
+44 (0)1603 633232
Past Search is based in Norwich, United Kingdom.
Comments from some of my clients
“Gill has conducted a considerable amount of Norfolk Family History Research for me. All her findings have been clearly explained and presented. She has always suggested which other avenues are appropriate, to try and find relevant information. Advice has also been willingly given on Research in other areas of the country. Look forward to our next consignment of Research!”
Lesley Fairman, West Sussex
“I have used the services of Gill for many years now and have always found her to be thorough in everything I have requested research on, finding out so much for me and guiding me onto other lines of searching etc. I have recommended Gill to so many people who have all been very satisfied with their results. Keep up the good work Gill.”
Jean Hinton, Surrey