Latest Podcast News

September 2020 episode – Recording your ancestors’ lives in book form

In this episode, I talk to Amy from Ottawa about her mammoth project to summarise her father-in-law’s family history into a professional-looking, easy to read book.

We discuss the techniques that she used, the structure and the practicalities of turning your years of hard work into something that family will treasure forever.

I recommend listening to the episode first, and then looking though the following images that will help you to visualise the techniques and processes that Amy has followed.

The following images have been slightly anonymised, and some are taken from a separate book that Amy produced for her Grandmother (following the same technique) for close family members. As her father-in-law hasn’t received his yet, any images relating to his book are also deliberately blurred. Despite this, I hope they will give you a good idea of this well-managed project, and some ideas of how you can tackle it yourself.

The cover of the book, which was printed as a hardback using Blurb (other providers are available)
The contents page, showing the three ‘parts’ that Amy discusses in the podcast.
The Blurb editing screen, showing how pictures, maps, text and other elements can be easily combined
A sample page from the book, showing how the finished article can look.

Thank you to Amy for allowing these to be shared – and if you have any examples of similar projects that you have completed, please do drop me a line. It’d be great to see your finished products.

You can listen to the full podcast here.

Older news

March/April/May 2020 Episodes – Irish Genealogy

I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to talk to professional genealogist Valerie Prince on the subject of Irish Genealogy in a series of three podcasts, launching on St. Patrick’s Day, 17th March 2020.  The second is published on 5th April. Valerie, who works for Ancestry ProGenealogists, has a wealth of experience, not only in tracing family from Ireland, but also specialises in American, Scottish and Mexican research.  Based in Dublin, Valerie is a dual citizen of Ireland and the United States, with deep ancestral links to Dublin, Ireland; Orkney, Scotland; northern Mexico; and Calabria, Italy.

While chatting about all aspects of the practicalities of Irish Family History, it became apparent that there was too much good stuff for one episode, so I’ve broken our discussion down into three separate episodes, with the first being published on St. Patrick’s Day.  The remaining two, will be released in the coming weeks and into April.  Topics covered in each can be found here.

The first of these episodes can be found on this website here (Links will appear soon after the episodes are published), but many listeners have their own favourite podcast app – and the episode can be found at:

Apple/iTunesIrish Genealogy Episode 1   Episode 2   Episode 3

Spotify : Irish Genealogy Episode 1   Episode 2   Episode 3

StitcherIrish Genealogy Episode 1   Episode 2   Episode 3

CastboxIrish Genealogy Episode 1   Episode 2   Episode 3

TuneInIrish Genealogy Episode 1    Episode 2   Episode 3

(Notes and useful links for this episode can be found in the podcast description).

Each episode covers a range of topics (in my typical, ‘bounce around the subject, hoping some logical order might fall out of it’ – type way), and in the three podcasts, myself and Valerie chat about:

Episode 1 

  • What’s available – and for what dates
  • BMDs -equivalent of GRO
  • Non catholic records
  • Church records – dependent on religious denomination
  • What to do when you have common names
  • What websites to use
  • Census coverage
  • Property valuation records
  • Tracing cemeteries
  • Maps of surname distribution
  • Religion: Catholic, Church of Ireland and Presbyterian

Episode 2

  • Great famine of 1840s
  • Migration
  • Workhouses in the great famine and where to find records
  • Assisted emigration
  • Evolution of Ireland in the 1920s
  • Census substitutes
  • Censuses themselves – and what exactly is available -and the effect of the ‘census black hole’
  • Commonality of names – what to do when you find a common name
  • Dealing with ages that drift between census
  • Why Irish people may have three different names
  • What happens when all you know is ‘ireland’?


  • More and more new information – what are we seeing coming online recently? New – and very different records
  • The value of familysearch and some tips on searching
  • Recap on searching
  • What can you find on rootsireland
  • The Geography of Ireland – and how all the records fit together
  • How are civil records structured
  • Trends in migration and peoples’ movements
  • Chain migration
  • The role of DNA
  • Should I go to Ireland?
  • Social media and groups – where to go
  • Should you use a local researcher? – And what can you expect?

Thanks once again to Valerie for giving her time, for free, to talk to me – and to Ancestry ProGenealogists (no, they’re not paying me… it’s not that type of podcast!) for helping facilitate our discussions.

Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts and observations here.  Thanks to all my listeners for your support.

Notes on July 2019 Episode – Cemeteries

This episode was part-recorded in the marvellous Longton Cemetery in Staffordshire.  This rather self-indulgent addition to the podcast is aimed at adding a little atmosphere, but also to show the importance of visiting physical locations when tracing your roots.

At least four generations of my family are buried here, and there is SO MUCH of my history to be found in this pleasant, leafy thoroughfare – located less than a mile from where many of my ancestors lived.

To prove that I was indeed at the cemetery with my fluffy microphone, here is pictorial evidence.  (In suitable sombre pose.  Smiley selfies have no place in cemeteries!)


I also mention in this episode that grave numbers take on many different forms.  Here are a few examples…

How to listen (these will be updated)

On iTunes (best for iPhone / iPad)

On this website (click, then scroll to bottom of page)

Listen on TuneIn

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Overcast

May 2019 Episode – FreeBMD

In May’s episode, there’s a change from the normal ‘how to’ guide format, as we hear from Pat Reynolds, the Executive Director of Free UK Genealogy – the charity behind FreeBMD, FreeReg and FreeCen.

Pat describes how the sites came about, how they run, and how genealogists can get the best out of them.

As one of the most widely used and highly respected free sources of genealogical dats, this episode aims to give users a behind the scenes glimpse of this ever-evolving group of websites.

Remember, if you’re new to genealogy, the step-by-step guide to tracing your roots begins at Episode 1

How to listen to this episode

On iTunes (best for iPhone / iPad)

On this website (click, then scroll to bottom of page)

Listen on TuneIn

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Overcast