I’ve been interested in family history since my grandmother showed me pictures of my great grandmother in a leotard when I was a small child. She seemed so exotically different from all those prim Victorian pictures of ladies in long dresses staring grimly into the camera. I listened wide-eyed as she told me that my great-grandfather’s family had disowned him when he married a woman who was on the stage, and that my grandfather had always said he didn’t really have a mother as she was always so besotted with his father, all his life.
That fascination for stories and for finding out about the people who are in my family tree has stayed with me, and although I have been researching it for 28 years, I’ve never lost my curiosity to know about the people who make up my genetics and who link me back through time to disasters and triumphs, to the very beginnings of history.
I have discovered one of my ancestors, Charles Jearrad, helped Charles Babbage, inventor of the difference engine, by surveying his stable block for suitability for building it. I’ve discovered a man who, on learning that his children were possibly not his, and maybe to punish his wife, sent them away on the Mayflower to America, never to see them again. I’ve found bigamists and people living in abject poverty, as well as Dukes and Barons, Queens and tax collectors.
In the course of my researches, I have become very good at using census returns to follow families back from 1911 to the 1841 census. I’ve helped about thirty five people with research on their family histories from scratch, and dozens of others with individual problems.
My background as a writer means that I am also able to organize research into a narrative, if wanted, or to tell the stories discovered in families. If you have already researched your family and want help with organizing it into a book or a slideshow, I can help.
When my father died in 2015, I compiled a biography on powerpoint which told the story of his life from birth to death. I think he’d have loved it, and his friends were astonished that he had never talked to them about some of the more memorable things from his tempestuous childhood. Many people have said that they would like a similar presentation for their parents – not necessarily for a funeral, but possibly for a birthday or anniversary. So I am also offering that service through this website.
I know myself how difficult it is to buy services where the answer to how much it costs is “How long is a piece of string?” I can only tell you that I will always discuss costs before incurring them, and will be open and transparent about how much things will be. It will always be by agreement, and never a shock. It is very hard to estimate how much it will cost without information – do you already have the full names and dates for your grandparents, or will I have to discover those? Do you know what area of the country they come from or did they arrive from Europe at the turn of the century? Are all your ancestors Smiths, Jones and Clarkes? All these things will have an impact upon how much time it takes to get the basic details for your family tree.
Contact me and we can discuss what you would like me to help with and how much it will cost.