1. WDYTYA – A week on and the first set of photos!

    My eight talks over and now just over a week on from WDYTYA Live 2015 I am now pleasantly relaxed after several days off! Here are some mementos of three very enjoyable and successful days.

    Apart from some acoustic problems in my talk How Far Did Your Ancestor Travel on Thursday (caused by the fact that the NEC microphone headset in SOG 2 did not adjust down small enough to fit my head!) all my talks ran smoothly, were well-attended and very well-received.


    Tweet-up No 1!

    The highlights of the exhibition for me were my final talk on the Saturday in SOG 1, which was packed with over 270 people, and catching up with friends and colleagues in our many ‘tweet-ups’ and evening ‘genie’ gatherings. Also the fact that my health is now so greatly improved from a year ago. Last year I had to take regular breaks back at my hotel in order to carry out all my commitments and during my seventh talk on day three I can remember wondering  whether I would make it to the end with out passing out! At that time I had just been diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a disease of the connective tissues, which was leaving me increasingly exhausted and in almost constant pain. Thankfully, following my diagnosis, I was lucky to receive some very supportive treatment from a great physio and also CBT pain therapy. A year later, following an intensive exercise routine,I find myself so much fitter and stronger –  and by talk number eight this year I was still enjoying myself! I could not have been more pleased!

    Genie Meal!

    If you could not make the NEC, I will be giving my talks I’ve Lost My Ancestor Before 1837 and How Far Did your Ancestor Travel again on 30 May in Petersfield, Hampshire as part of a one day seminar with Les Mitchinson. For further details see for all my talks are also now available: those for TheGenealogist at and those for the Society of Genealogists (along with handouts from many other speakers) at

  2. Ready for WDYTYA Live NEC!


    Tomorrow sees the first day of the hugely popular WDYTYA Live Family History show and this year, for the first time, the venue is the NEC in Birmingham.

    I arrived at the NEC at lunchtime and spent some time exploring the venue which is in Hall 2 of the NEC. Unlike Olympia the hall is on one level but it is well laid out and there is easy access from both the airport and train stations.

    The picture below will give you an insight into the amount to work that goes into each exhibition and at 4pm on Wednesday the hall is still being transformed into tomorrow’s show ground!


    Meanwhile I am prepared to give eight talks in total – twice daily for TheGenealogist on stall 500 where at 12 0′ clock and 2pm each day  I will be talking about (among other things) tithe records and apprentice records, and other occupational sources. At 3.15 on Thursday I am speaking on migration within the UK for our pre-19th century ancestors in the SOG 2 arena. You may be surprised at just how far your ancestors travelled before this date and this may account for many of your ‘missing’ ancestors. At 3.45 on Saturday my last talk (SOG1) will look at how to trace those missing ancestors before 1837. In between you can pick up copies of the revised edition of my book Tracing Your Ancestors Through Death Records at the Pen and Sword stand (402).

    All set and ready to go! Roll on tomorrow!