Blame Bruce Durie and Ali Macdonald! Having already decided to take a break from my career as an accountant and head of UK corporate finance for a US film company, I met Bruce and Ali on the Strathclyde stand at WDYTYA in 2008. Their enthusiasm inspired me to take the PG Certificate in Genealogical Studies instead of something more sensible such as an MBA. The Certificate led to the Diploma and Masters in quick succession, and afterwards I joined the tutor team at Strathclyde. My interests are quite diverse: medieval genealogy and heraldry sit comfortably alongside the use of technology and information visualisation.
I was brought up with stories of my ancestors and their diverse origins, but my interest in researching these further coincided with the emergence of accessible records on the internet and the availability of decent software to record and present research. Sadly, my research has not yet confirmed many of the stories. I have recently traced my ‘French/Danish’ great grandmother’s origins back to the C12th on some lines, but all entirely within Kent. My grandmother’s connection to her ‘disgraceful cousin’ Thomas Hardy (too racy for her strict religious views) still eludes me.
I have had more success for clients! I first started some client work whilst studying for the Certificate, but it was only after completing the Diploma that I had the depth of knowledge and confidence to seek clients. I now work both on my own account as ‘Douglas Genealogy’ and as a consulting genealogist to Macdonald & Rees, a firm specialising in a particular market segment. Most of my clients have little interest in genealogical process, and want the story of their family. That is what I attempt to give them, though based on thorough genealogical and historical research.
I attended the symposium in Glasgow as a supportive observer, but shortly afterwards joined the steering committee set up to create RQG. I was heavily involved in the legal and financial aspects, drafted the articles and became a director on formation of the company. As a director, I keep the financial records, produce our management and statutory accounts and, perhaps more visibly to members, deal with subscriptions and renewals. I’m also guilty for the design, maintenance and monitoring of the website, forum and journal, and for much of our visible identity. However, I’m
particularly proud just to have been a small cog in the workings of the team that has achieved so much in just a couple of years. However, there is still much more to achieve. My period as a director ends at the next AGM, though I hope to stand for re-election.