Who Do You Think You Are? Live

Yes, it’s almost that time of year again. Who Do You Think You Are? Live  will be at London’s Olympia once more, on 25, 26, 27 February 2011. This is the biggest event in the UK calendar for family history and much more.

All the big names will be there, including AncestryFindMyPast  and FamilySearch.  There will be a military pavilion and DNA workshops. The Society of Genealogists will be running its 18th Family History Show, with stalls hosted by many family history societies. The Society’s team of experts will be offering advice at bookable one-to-one sessions throughout all three days.

Celebrities from the TV series will be sharing their behind-the-scenes stories and there will be over 100 workshops on a huge range of subjects and aimed at all levels of experience.

I shall be there on all three days, dispensing advice in the Ask the Experts area and also running workshops on how to break down your brick walls.

The full price of  tickets is £20 per day, but there are lots of deals available, including a two for £25 offer from the Society of Genealogists, so there’s no need to pay the full admission price.

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Start Your Family Tree Week



…. will run from 26 December 2010 to 1 Jan 2011.

All the talk of family stories around the Christmas dinner table makes the festive period the perfect time to focus on building your family tree.  This seasonal initiative is a collaboration between several of the UK’s major genealogical sites.  The Society of Genealogists, Find My Past, Genes Reunited, Scotland’s People and Eneclann are all participating. They will have hints, tips and offers to help you start researching your ancestry.

Once you’ve made a start, if you could do with a helping hand, let us know. We look forward to hearing from you in 2011.  Happy New Year!

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New Ways to Find Your London Ancestors

Probably the most notable thing to happen in the world of family history in the past couple of years has been the appearance of so much new information on the internet. This is not a completely new thing, of course. Online genealogical listings and indexes have been around almost as long as the internet. Anything which makes searching easier and more accessible to family historians is clearly a good thing and as a result, more people are now tracing their ancestors than ever before.

But we are always told that we should treat these secondary sources of information with caution. A secondary source may be described as anything which does not show you the original document, as it was recorded at the time the information was provided. This might be an entry in a parish register, a page in a census or maybe a will or marriage licence allegation.

What is so exciting about recent developments on the internet is the huge number of original documents we can now examine, often at a modest cost of course, from the comfort of our own homes.

The most significant of these collections for anyone with London ancestors  has to be the collection of parish registers held by the London Metropolitan Archives  which has recently been digitised in partnership with Ancestry.  London has always been a difficult area for research, with its high density of population, huge number of parishes and the surprising mobility of its inhabitants. Being able to search a significant number of these parishes online, for your ancestor’s baptism, marriage or burial has made it possible to find much more about these Londoners than ever before.

Of course, nothing is ever perfect and there are still some problems to overcome. Not all London parish registers in the LMA’s collection have yet been included. Some images are online but have not yet been indexed. Sometimes the indexing will include errors and omissions – hardly surprising when you think of the enormous volume of work involved and see the damaged state of some of the registers and the difficult handwriting they contain. Many registers have fallen victim to the Blitz or the Great Fire and do not even survive at all. Burials in the Capital are often particularly difficult to locate, with many graveyards becoming full and increasingly unsanitary much sooner than those in the provinces.

If your London ancestors  are still proving to be elusive, perhaps we at GSGS can help you. There may be other sources we can use or alternative methods of searching. We are always happy to talk over your particular problem and suggest a possible solution. Contact us  either by phone or e-mail to see how we can help.

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Sticky: Professional Research in London


Welcome to my research pages. My name is Geoff Swinfield and I am a professional genealogist covering all of the British Isles. This is achieved using all the major online databases and the resources found in these London repositories:

Society of Genealogists, LDS London Family History Centre, London Metropolitan Archives, Westminster Archives, British Library, Guildhall Library, Principal Probate Registry and The National Archives.

If you would like to discuss your research and/or need any assistance, please use the Contact Us Tab at the top of this page or telephone: 0208 325 3670

Address: 14 Beaconsfield Road, Mottingham, London SE9 4DP


Research Director of Achievements Ltd (1983-1993) and Ancestors Ltd (1993-1999).

Proprietor of Geoff Swinfield Genealogical Services (1999 to date).

Teacher of genealogical sources and techniques at Society of Genealogists and to family history societies.

Collaborated with a number of medical establishments to apply genealogical techniques to the study of families with inherited diseases.

Probate and intestacy research for solicitors and other professionals.


Licentiate in Heraldry and Genealogy (LHG), PhD in Genetics.


General genealogy throughout Britain, probate research, tracing living relatives and finding missing people.

DNA tests and their application to genealogy.

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