Seeking Surrey Ancestors

Sorting, Cleaning, Indexing and so much more!

December 6, 20182:59 pmLeave a Comment

We’re stock-checking for the next couple of weeks and having to do all those jobs we’ve been putting off because we can’t do them when we are open to the public. This is not always the best fun, I can tell you. It often involves intense physical work (re-shelving documents) cleaning documents (which can be […]

Family Stories!

November 14, 20183:11 pmLeave a Comment

My darling and sadly missed Aunty Sybil once described my great-uncle Colin as a ‘bit of a rapscallion’.  Isn’t ‘rapscallion’ a wonderful word?  The dictionary defines it as “a disreputable person; rascal or rogue”.  I feel this might be a little harsh for my great-uncle as, although I know very little about him, his claims […]

Who do we think they were!

October 25, 20182:21 pmLeave a Comment

When my friend (and partner in genealogical crime) Jill and I go out to family history events and fairs, we take with us two rather lovely old photograph albums. Now, I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about these; they are NOT part of our archive. They were rescued by one of our […]

Going back even further…..!

October 12, 20184:14 pmLeave a Comment

My friend and colleague Isabel and I have been very busy writing and presenting a course on using and interpreting legal documents for family history. These include wills, marriage settlements, deeds and manorial records. Are any of you scared of tackling pre-1800 documents? I know I was! It’s one of those things which takes you […]

Far and Wide: researching our ancestors overseas

September 28, 20188:34 amLeave a Comment

Hello – did you miss me?  Sorry not to have blogged for 3 weeks but I’ve been having such an amazing time!  First of all, I had a holiday in Italy (yes, they do let me out from time to time!) and when I returned, we had lots of preparation for the wonderful London Family […]

A Woman of Mystery!

August 31, 20188:00 amLeave a Comment

You really can’t always trust what your ancestors say on the census – or on other documents for that matter.  My father’s maternal grandfather modestly describes himself as a ‘Cotton Spinner’ on the 1901 census when he was actually a partner in a very successful cotton mill employing over 250 people in the Wigan area.   […]

A Crim in the Family!

August 17, 20189:27 amLeave a Comment

My boss (History Centre Manager, Julian Pooley) has always said we should have a large sign over the reading-room door which reads ‘if you don’t want to know, don’t look’. He has a point. I recently had to conduct some research for someone whose ancestor had changed her name and wanted to know why. We […]

What’s in a Name?

July 27, 201812:02 amLeave a Comment

Until comparatively recently, the correct spelling of names has seemed, by and large, to be an option.  There are all sorts of theories as to why the spellings of names should vary so much, including: Literacy – if you can’t read or write you have to rely on someone else to copy your name down […]

Wedded Bliss!

I read somewhere recently that the average cost of a wedding in the UK is £27,000. I nearly fell off my perch when I read this and thanked whoever was listening that I hadn’t got any children – if I had, they certainly wouldn’t have got £27,000 from me, or even assuming only a half […]

Brick Walls – and why I don’t like them!

The term ‘Brick Wall’ has crept into the language of family history research and seems set to stay.  You can’t pick up a book or a magazine article which doesn’t offer advice on how to break one down, climb over one, battle through one –any day now I’m expecting an article on how to pole […]