“I consider myself to be privileged to work in a field I love. Every research case I work on is different while, judging from the many comments I receive after my talks, I seem to have a natural ability to impart my knowledge to an audience in an enjoyable, enthusiastic and interesting manner, whether it be a live talk, radio show, podcast or webinar.”
I am a professionally qualified genealogist and also a full member of the Association of Genealogists and Researchers Archives (AGRA), the professional body which maintains and promotes professional conduct in the field of genealogy and historical research. All AGRA applicants have to pass stringent assessments before being admitted as full members. As a member I adhere to their Code of Practice. I am also a member of the Federation of Small Businesses. I studied family history at the Institute of Genealogical and Heraldic Studies (IHGS) and in 2008 gained a distinction in the Higher Certificate in Genealogy – one of only a handful of people ever to do so.
In 2006 I joined the IHGS to work as Registrar and Lecturer. I left to form my own business in March 2008, but was a tutor on their correspondence course in genealogy for eight years from 2008 to 2016. I was pleased to see many of my students achieve considerable success, not only in the Higher Certificate in Genealogy, but also in the world of professional genealogy. In 2011, I launched my own Family History e-Course. This consists of seven in-depth modules on subjects ranging from GRO and census records through to parish registers, an introduction to Latin and how to establish a sound research technique. It is linked to my family history links website which introduces the researcher to a wide range of essential and more advanced genealogy websites. I also teach a course about One Place Studies for Pharos Tutors.
Prior to my genealogy career, I studied history at King's College, London, obtaining a BA (Hons) degree. As a family historian I combine an interest in people with a great love of history. My historical background is a boon since it helps me set your ancestors' lives into their historical background and I routinely incorporate this into my family history reports. I began tracing my own family history as a teenager and have traced several branches of my own tree back to the 1600s. My interest in my own family history and family history as a subject in itself has grown ever stronger over the years. To read more about my own family history click here.
I have always been a great reader and, as a girl, dreamed of writing a book! Therefore, I was very proud to see my first book Tracing Your Ancestors Through Death Records published in 2013. A second, revised, edition was published in April 2015. Since then I have written two other books; the first a guide to tracing your family history, entitled Researching and Locating Your Ancestors, (published by Discover Your Ancestors) and the second a privately commissioned family history book.
Apart from my research work and writing, I am a sought-after speaker, presenting at many genealogy events around the UK ranging from talks at the WDYTYA Live show at Birmingham's NEC through to courses at the Society of Genealogists in London and local family history talks. I also run bespoke family history courses for outside groups and companies and in 2015 produced my own downloadable video tutorial 'Wills Not Just a Source For Your Better-Off Ancestors'.
In 2015, I was thrilled to be awarded the Bronze Medal in the UK section of the annual 'Rockstar Genealogist' Competition run by John D. Reid of the Anglo Canadian Connections genealogy blog. This asks the public to nominate and vote for the people they consider to be 'must hear' speakers or 'must read' bloggers.
As a youngster, my second love (after family history) was opera and I am also an operatically trained singer! Although I no longer sing regularly, this has stood in me in good stead for speaking at conferences and I have long been accustomed to performing in front of audiences in venues both large and small.
I consider myself to be privileged to work in a field I love. Every research case I work on is unique while, judging from the many comments I receive after my talks, I seem to have a natural ability to impart my knowledge to an audience in an enjoyable, enthusiastic and interesting manner, whether it be a live talk, radio show, podcast or webinar.
In all my work, whether it be a written history of your family, a talk or course I strive to bring you the best results, tailored to meet your requirements.
As required by law, I am registered with the ICO (Information Commissioner's Office) as a data controller under the Data Protection Act 1998 (Registration Number Z2476190).
Although I grew up in Folkestone, Kent, my own family history research has taken me all over the country, notably to the historic counties of Westmorland, Cumberland and Lancashire North of the Sands and also to Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Essex and the Kent/Sussex border, where I now also live.
My love of family history was initially sparked by stories passed down through the family and imparted to me by my Mum in the 1980s. As I grew older, we spent many enjoyable hours in record offices and tramping around graveyards to learn more about our family and discover the truth behind these tales! En-route we got to know our ancestors much better and also tracked down many distant cousins, several of whom have become friends. My own family tree now stretches back to the mid-1600s and contains people for many different walks of life.
When time permits I still research my own family and am currently studying manorial records for Westmorland and Cumberland in order to learn more about my early Dickinson line. I have also recently started a Y-DNA project for the surname Heritage; the long term aim being to determine whether my surname is a single or plural origin surname.