What does being a genealogist mean to you?
Relating to my clients the same pleasure that I derived in accessing my own family history, drives the unstinting work that I carry out as a genealogist. In the ten years that my own business has existed an increasing number of records have become accessible via the internet but searching original records still gives me a tremendous thrill. However the arrival of a new archive or any record source gives rise to new opportunities that all researches must embrace and exploit. I relish the opportunity to link my professional work with my own continued learning of all aspects that affect the processes and methodology of genealogy. To promote this learning I am a member of a number of family history related groups and societies. The opportunities for networking provided in meeting colleagues and fellow professionals at society meetings, lectures, conferences and congresses allows me to support them and also to exploit their professional skills for my own work.
I do not openly confess to any specialism. I carry out general and wide ranging research of all genealogical areas. I have a personal love for and tremendous appetite to know more about the processes of heraldry. For me heraldry provides a superb tool for locating families and providing links to earlier ancestry. I am the Programme Secretary of the Heraldry Society and am responsible for arranging their lecture series. I am also proud to be the General Secretary of the White Lion Society, which acts as a friend’s society for the College of Arms in London.
A typical day?
I do not have a typical working day. I always begin work early and because I manage my own time often work late. Responding to emails, letters and telephone calls can consume a large part of any working day but this does allow me to report progress and generally keep clients informed. Having a clear contract with a client is very important and I always work to this and only make changes by agreement. The first stage of research usually involves a search of all available internet sources and this is followed by a search of my ever growing library of books, case studies and cds. I never visit an archive or library without having a plan, which will directs my searching and allows me to use the time I have effectively. I usually carry out my own searches of original records and only use record agents and archive research services to gather specific records. The most demanding and time consuming activities I carry out are the processing of records and the writing of reports and I value this important opportunity to engage with my clients and relate to them the processes and messages of the research.
Recently I worked with a client who had for a number of years been unsuccessful in their endeavours to determine a link between their last documented ancestor, who was born in the 1660s and their earlier ancestors. I determined the missing link using the family coat of arms and several printed pedigrees were located to document the family to the early fifteenth century. Eureka!
To contact Roger please visit his website