RESEARCH - my personal experience
I began my own family research over 30 years ago well before the internet age. Unable to travel far with a young family and with a time living overseas it was a triumph gaining one piece of information such as a certificate or census printout once every six months - how those documents were poured over and inspected for weeks to follow. This was before the days of internet searching and indexes were all in paper form, letters needed to be written and replies waited for. Six weeks for a reply was the norm.
My career has been spent working in reference and local study libraries, and following redundancy in the summer of 2011 I decided to make research a full time occupation rather than part time, having been doing research commissions for about three years as well as the library work and writing books. I have written two books and co-authored two. I have also compiled a short booklet on a Tetbury public house which was commissioned by the new owner to coincide with their reopening in autumn 2013.
Further education and interests
I am currently studying with the IHGS for the Certificate of Genealogy. Part of my ongoing education is attending local courses. Local archives hold talks and teaching sessions often focusing on some more specialised collections than are the norm. More of my current knowledge base can be found here. I am an AGRA Member and also a member of various interest societies including The Society of Genealogists, Hampshire Family History Society, Scudamore Family History Group. I have also taken part in the Gloucestershire Archives focus Group which meets every four months to help, advise, support and encourage the archives staff in developments to their already excellent service. This was particularly interesting as they approached their planning of the ‘For the Record’ project and how the services would be run during a time of rebuilding. Thankfully a way to continue a limited service whilst works go on is in place pending their opening this autumn. I have just resigned from this group as it faces it's new challenges as I no longer operate within Gloucestershire Archives.
One place study (unregistered)
A few years back when my husbands family tree couldn’t be traced any further back [they were in Tetbury from at least 1600] I began to fill my hours by collating data from the census onto a huge database which now stands at over 25,000 individuals from Tetbury for the period 1780-1911. This has had parish register details added for 50 years, and as I come across data it is 'filed' appropriately. This led me to develop the website Tetbury Families.
It was as a result of this Tetbury research that I was approached by a publisher of local history books to produce one of the ‘through time’ series which compares old views with current views of the same scene. I believe these books are of great value in family history as it enables the researcher to visualise how their ancestors may have lived and how the scenes have changed over the years.
I am now beginning a new chapter of research investigating my new village of Old Cleeve. Hopefully, time permitting, I will be able to develop a similar knowledge of Old Cleeve as I have of Tetbury.
and currently -
Now, as my husband and I made a life changing move to Somerset a year ago, I am meeting new challenges [which I love otherwise I wouldn’t be doing this job] as I get to grips with several things:
Firstly how Somerset Archives operate and forming relationships with the staff - always useful to know and respect those that you will be relying on for advice etc and they will hopefully end up knowing and respecting my ability.
Secondly beginning to get familiar with a new county, with it’s industry, topography, and the communities within the county. I suspect I may find links with places across the Bristol Channel as it was commonplace to go to Wales via a frequent ferry operating between the West Somerset harbours and Cardiff - no doubt other Welsh ports too.