Seeking Surrey Ancestors

Surrey Boundaries!

May 29, 20206:23 amLeave a Comment

Last year I was working away in the History Centre when a lovely American couple pitched up in reception with that excited and keen look on their faces which any family historian will recognise – yes, a follow enthusiast! They were so delighted to be with us and yet we had to deliver them some […]

Love Your Local History Society!

May 27, 20205:50 amLeave a Comment

Whenever people contact us to ask about a specific area in Surrey, often following a vague or ambiguous reference on a census return or in a legal document, one of our first thoughts is “Does this area have a local history group?”  Why?  Well, because members of these groups have conducted hours of research, in […]

Creating a Family History

May 26, 20205:55 amLeave a Comment

Without wanting to sound too grumpy this morning, some things do make me cross and one of these is the notation that history is something “best kept to the experts”.  So what (or who) is an expert? It is a sad fact but up until quite recently, many record offices and local studies libraries regarded […]

A Grave Concern!

May 22, 20206:51 amLeave a Comment

One of the many jewels in Surrey History Centre’s crown are the glorious plate glass negatives from the Sidney Francis collection.  I’ve mentioned Sidney before, a commercial photographer in Woking and you can find out more about his life and work on the Exploring Surrey’s Past website. However, we have also received another set of […]

Peace of Mind

May 19, 20205:53 amLeave a Comment

Regular readers will know that I dislike the term ‘brick wall’ in family history, as it implies that the family have simply vanished rather than that we just can’t find them.  Perhaps a hedge might be a better analogy, because it has lots of gaps which we can poke genealogical sticks through! Sometimes, however, an […]

A Tangled Web!

May 15, 20206:07 amLeave a Comment

There can be nothing more frustrating in family history research than coming up against the birth or baptism of an illegitimate child where the father is not named.  Technically a father had to always be present at a civil registration for his name to go on the certificate although it was not unknown for a […]

Something new and Exciting!

May 14, 202010:24 amLeave a Comment

Well, this is a new departure for me – an online presentation – where you can hear my dulcet tones if you wish! While many of us are ‘confined to barracks’ I thought we could explore some tips and ideas for researching family history in short 5 minute presentations and today I’d like to look […]

Why Databases Don’t Always Work!

May 12, 20208:16 amLeave a Comment

Have you ever found something on or Find My Past – and then tried to find it again and can’t?  This drives me nuts and I was determined to find out why this was happening. Now, I should just point out that what know about computers and the internet would happily only fill the […]

Surprising Gems in Unexpected Places!

May 7, 20202:52 pmLeave a Comment

I think I’ve said before that working in an archive is a wonderful thing for a family historian and you are inclined to find some wonderful family history resources in the most unlikely places. Surrey History Centre as you may or may not know has its own research service.  While a fair amount of our […]

Family History Myth Busting!

May 5, 20206:51 amLeave a Comment

You don’t half hear some nonsense spoken about family history.  People do love speaking in absolutes and delivering sweeping statements such as ‘Well, of course, in those days people always…..” or “They would never have done that” and similar.  Well, I’ve been doing this for more years than I care to remember and I can […]