I have been a Professional Genealogist for almost twenty years and am now on sabbatical!
Time to dust off my own family tree.
I have a BA Honours degree in History from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) at London University.
After a few uninspiring years in marketing, I returned to college to study the London University’s Certificate in ‘Genealogy and History of the Family’ at Birkbeck College. At the time, it was one of the few certificated academic courses available in the field. It was a fascinating two years of study, concentrating on historical research methodology.
Having hosted the ‘Irish Estate Papers Index’ and the ‘Irish Tontine Index’ for several years, I went full-time as a Professional Genealogist in the second half of the 1990s. Since then I have covered London, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Wiltshire and, of course, Berkshire. Although I still travel regularly to London for research at Guildhall, the London Metropolitan Archives, the British Library and the National Archives, over the last seven years I have been focussing most of my attention on my home county, Berkshire.
Why hire a locally based genealogist? Apart from easy and therefore cost-effective access to local record repositories, a local can offer an in-depth understanding of an area’s geography, history and people. With insider knowledge, I have been able to break through many genealogical brick walls, often using documents unique to Berkshire, the kind of resources not available online or listed in ‘how-to’ guides!