RQG Conference speakers

RQG Conference 2024

Sharing Memories: Uncovering your Family History through Storytelling

Programme of speakers

Click to view the full programme and timings here

Keynote speakers






Professor Alison Light
University of Edinburgh, UCL & Pembroke College, Oxford. Author of ‘Common People’



Michael Tobias, OBE
Jewish Records Indexing, President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain & Honorary Research Fellow, Genealogical Studies, at the University of Strathclyde.




Dr Laura King

Associate Professor in Modern British History, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and Higher Education Academy. Laura will present a paper entitled Tales of grandmothers and aunts: storytelling families in twentieth-century Britain.’

Stories are a fundamental part of family life. From the earliest age, children are told stories big and small about their family, their relatives, and the ancestors they might not have ever met, from snippets and phrases passed through generations to epic tales of a family’s move across the globe or a criminal ancestor’s wrongdoing. These stories help to cement our sense of identity, as individuals and as families. In this talk, I’ll explore how stories have worked in fifteen families, including my own, over the last 100-150 years. I’ll reflect on the increasingly blurred boundaries between family history and academic history, as academics write about their own families and family historians publish and share their histories. And I’ll tell you some stories about my grandmother, Anne, or Nanny King, or even ‘Nanette’, and through this example, we’ll think about how stories are not just interesting because of what they tell us about a family’s past, but how the telling of the tale matters as much as the tale itself.




Dave Annal

Read All About It: Using newspapers to bring our ancestors to life


Dave Annal is a professional researcher with over 40 years’ experience. He is a former Principal Family History Specialist with the National Archives and he worked at the Family Records Centre for many years. In 2019 he was awarded a Fellowship of the Society of Genealogists and in 2022 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Dave has written a number of family history books including the bestselling beginner’s guide Easy Family History and Pen & Sword’s Birth, Marriage & Death Records (with Audrey Collins) and, with Peter Christian, he is the co-author of Census: the Family Historian’s Guide. He is also a regular contributor to Family Tree Magazine where he runs the Family Tree Academy. Dave is a popular speaker on the family history circuit and has spoken at a number of major events including Who Do You Think You Are? Live and Rootstech, as well as giving regular talks to family history groups. Dave has been researching his own family history since the mid-1970s and he hasn’t finished yet!


Lorna Kinnaird

The petitions of the Caledonian Asylum Trust, London from 1815-1924

Lorna Kinnaird has been a professional genealogist for 12 years running her own business Dunedin Links Genealogy from Edinburgh. She is an IHGS Correspondence Course Tutor and with East Renfrewshire Culture and Heritage. She has a passion for the Napoleonic Era in which many thousands of Scots took part. This invariably meant that ‘families’ left Scotland never to return which proves a challenge for genealogists to find a link back to Scotland.


Valerie Brenton

Say My Name: A research journey from Dorset to the Plantations of Jamaica

 Valerie Brenton is an alumnus of the University of Strathclyde’s MSc Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies course. As a professional genealogist, since 2017, she is the owner of Penguin Genealogy and a member of AGRA. As a volunteer researcher at Dorset History Centre (her local archive) projects have included producing evidence to support exhibitions at Kingston Lacy house; examining personal letters as part of the Letters Live project to engage the wider public in archives; and researching family details to support the Christmas Blogs. Valerie has had articles published in Family Tree Magazine (June 2019) and the Journal of the Guild of One Name Studies (January 2023). She is the co-ordinator of the Brenton one-name study.


David Ryan

Using oral histories in your genealogical research

David Ryan is a professional genealogist and oral historian based in Cork, Ireland. He has worked as a professional genealogist for the past decade and is a member of the executive board for the Association of Professional Genealogists. He is currently undertaking a Masters in Public History and Cultural Heritage with the University of Limerick.



Sue Harper & Carol Bannister: Genealogical practice and creative writing: a dialectical relationship?

Sue Harper

Sue Harper is Emeritus Professor of Film History at the University of Portsmouth. She has written many books and articles on British cinema, but since 2018 she has worked exclusively in fiction. Her collection of short stories, The Dark Nest, was published by Egaeus Press in 2020. Hitherto all her fiction has been in the category of “Feminine Gothic” and has been preoccupied by the themes of transformation and desire. Blood and Coal – a family saga – is a new departure for her.

Carol Bannister

Carol Bannister is a course tutor on the genealogical studies programme at the University of Strathclyde and a practising qualified genealogist running her own business. She is a Director of the Register of Qualified Genealogists and the Co-Editor of the Journal of Genealogy and Family History. She is a former nurse educationalist and her publications have included guidance on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Moving and Handling of patients and back injury prevention.


Donna Pearson

How did Dick die? Reframing family lore with documentary evidence

 Donna has been undertaking genealogical research since her early twenties, after being given the family Bible, which contained a list of unknown names. Who were they and where did I fit in? In 2023, Donna completed the Diploma in Genealogy with the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, a course which she thoroughly enjoyed. Donna’s areas of research are Cheshire, where she now lives, and Lincolnshire, where she was born, and her interests include house histories, and ancestral tours.


Nicola Waterfall

Hulda’s War: One woman’s attempt to survive in Nazi Europe

 Nicola has been researching her family history for the past 25 years and it has taken her from the UK to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, as well as the US and Australia. Nicola is currently undertaking the IHGS Correspondence course.


Elizabeth Walne

Sharing your story: How marketers can help genealogists to tell more compelling stories

Elizabeth is a Qualified Genealogist with an MSc in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies from the University of Strathclyde (2014). After a decade working in archives, she has spent most of the last ten years writing books, talks and blog posts while occasionally taking on client work. But Elizabeth is not just a QG; she’s a Head of Marketing for a technology company. Elizabeth is writing a new book: the story of a Suffolk community through the lens of a former manor house, interweaving house, social and local history through the tales of its occupants and their workers.


Rhiannon Lloyd

Gouly de Chaville: The birth of a surname

Rhiannon comes from Yeovil, in Somerset and works as a professional genealogist, running Shersca Genealogy. She balances that with Teaching Fellow duties on the University of Strathclyde PG Genealogy courses and writing a blog about various genealogical topics. She has a general interest in Medieval genealogy and also runs the Rowsell One-Name Study (registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies).


Liv Birgit Christensen

Not just a pretty face. Ane Soneson a women of character

 Liv Birgit Christensen is a Norwegian professional genealogist and together with Margaret H. Strand the author of the book Exploring Norwegian Genealogy. She has lectured in the U.S, Great Britain and Norway. She likes to tell the stories of the persons or artefacts that she researches.


Interactive workshop:





Carol Bannister, Toni Sutton & Helen Tovey

Crafting, pitching & publishing genealogy & family history articles: An interactive workshop. Details will be published in January 2024, on how to submit samples of your writing for feedback within this interactive workshop.

Tickets, including limited early bird reduced rates, are available on our Eventbrite page, click here for details