In this 21st Century world, we are starting to get used to the rapid advance of technology and its impact in almost every corner of our daily lives. The cosy world of genealogy is no exception and recently much has been written about the pros and cons of taking a DNA test to discover ancestors. Hype surrounds it, its geographic mapping enabling claims that it can prove whether your ancestors were Romans or Vikings. However, what is acknowledged by academics is that it can be very useful in matching you with (up to) second cousins. 

In today’s environment of “where there’s a blame there’s a claim”, it was refreshing to find a newspaper article showing how disputes were resolved in Victorian times: in a “gentlemanly manner”.  I am currently mapping the ancestry of the founders of the Cannington Shaw & Co, Glass Bottle Manufacturers of St Helens, Lancashire.

What an exciting opportunity for a genealogist and local historian to be given, unfettered access to an archive crammed with a rich variety of documents relating to almost 300 years of life within the town.  Barrow and Cook solicitors, one of the oldest companies in the St Helens had invited me to take a look at their company history for them and it was an offer too good to turn down.

Isn't it lovely when someone lets you know that they appreciate the work you've done for them.  Here's an email I received this week from a recent client. 

Thank you so much for doing all the work for my Mum’s birthday family tree… she was absolutely delighted! It means a lot to her, and I was surprised to find that it means a lot to me too! You brought the history of our family to life, and opened up the past with your lovely narrative and explanations. Lots to talk about, and information that will be passed to generations to come.


The Ryelands

It was with some trepidation that I joined the volunteers at Lancashire Archives for my first day.  However, the trepidation was soon dispelled and replaced with an eager anticipation for our Tuesday volunteering days to come around.  Such was the infectious enthusiasm within the group and staff.


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