Family History Writing

I am a writer with thirty years’ experience, able to take your research or mine, and turn it into a narrative.  I have many reference books, histories and county histories from which to draw background information, and through which I can add historical events or local information to give the story some colour and texture.

I have found that sometimes national events can illuminate a family history.  I studied a family in Uxbridge for a Quaker Meeting House history, and couldn’t understand why a family had suddenly moved many miles away to Scotland.  Then I realised that all the members of their family had died within a couple of months of each other, and that there was a London-wide epidemic in that year of fever.  They moved to escape the disease, but all three members of the family died within days of each other, and must therefore have taken the illness with them.

For Quakers and for everyone in England, the 17th century was very chaotic, with the civil war pitting families against families, and the fortunes of Royalists and Parliamentarians rising and falling as events overtook them.  Quakers found themselves in breach of the law, when dissenters were prevented from meeting together and could be reported to the magistrates and jailed.  A family which chose Quakerism could find themselves progressively poorer as fines were imposed upon people who had held illegal gatherings.  Some were made penniless altogether by recurrent fines and confiscation of goods.

Quaker ancestors can be quite elusive, as they avoided steeplehouses as they called churches, and were sometimes only married in the sight of God and not legally married.  Some, like the licensee of the George Inn at Uxbridge, secretly married in churches away from their meetings, at the behest of their families, who warned them against conceiving children that the law would regard as illegitimate.

Whether you are starting at the beginning, or have been researching for years, I can help you write your family history and make the facts more interesting for a readership who may not be as excited as we are about the bare family tree!