Dunbar, Dip. Gen.
Professional Family History Research in Hertfordshire, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Middlesex and London
Past Discoveries is a family run genealogy business offering a friendly and efficient service to those who wish to find out more about their family history. Genealogy is the study of family lines of descent and incorporates all aspects of family history. Researching your family history can be very rewarding and revealing as a lot of unknown information can be found. At the same time it can also be frustrating and very time consuming when you cannot find your family. At some time we all ask that question “Who was my Great Great Grandmother?” With our skills and knowledge of researching, Past Discoveries can help you find the answer to this question, and also other information such as where she lived, when she was born, married and died and what she did for a living and who her family were. Our aim to you is to provide a friendly service that is tailored to your specific needs. We also endeavour to present our Clients with a Professional Report showing all of the research carried out.
I have many years of experience of Family History Research. I started my own family history research back in 1994 and since that time have researched family histories for many people. Since that time my passion and enthusiasm for Genealogy and Family history has grown. Research back in 1994 meant travelling to different Archives and also the Family Record Centre up London. Large index books had to be searched for Births, Marriages and Deaths which were on rows of shelving, and you would then order your certificates. The ever changing world of Family History now finds many resources available on the internet and by various subscriptions. I offer a friendly and efficient service. In addition to the nationally found resources that can be accessed online I also visit County Record offices that hold all historical information for that area as well as repositories up London. I undertake research and verify all information by obtaining the relevant certificates as well as searching census returns. Many companies only use the GRO indexes and do not obtain the certificates themselves. I am committed to continuing my professional development and as such undertake many Professional Courses in specific areas of research to update my knowledge. I am also studying towards the Higher Certificate and Diploma in Genealogy and Heraldry at the accredited Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies (IHGS) at Canterbury.
I can offer various types of service to you including –
You may have become stuck with your own research and need help. I may be able to help with a few tips on what could be searched for next. This would give you fresh ideas so that you can progress further.
You may wish to give your family member a gift of their families past. I have various packages available that are presented in a professional fashion for a special gift.
You would like to have your family history researched but do not have the time to do this yourself.
A family myth is that one of the members of your family died whilst working in the mines and you would like to know if this was true. I would then research this for you to see if this was accurate.
You may be another Genealogist from another area and wish some research to be undertaken at the Local Archives. I would be pleased to help you.
My Specialties include although are not limited to:
GRO Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates including search of the indexes.
Census Records 1841 – 1911
Parish Registers for Baptisms, Marriages and Burials
Parish Records which include:
Settlement and Removal Orders
Past Discoveries uses many resources in researching your family history. These resources can be accessed by researching at the County Record Offices, visiting Repositories in London, or via the internet where we have subscriptions to many family history resources.
Your own family Information – We begin with the sources of information that you can provide. Many documents that can be found in cupboards and attics provide a wealth of information to the family historian. Any Birth, Marriage, Death Certificates can be a starting point for us. Other sources are Memorial Cards, Bibles, Wills, Newspaper Cuttings, Army Cards, Diaries and Birthday books also give a lot of information to the Family Historian and are an invaluable resource for starting your family tree.
General Registration – General registration began in 1837 whereby all births, marriages and deaths had to be registered. General Registration Certificates of birth, marriage and death give a wealth of information to us and this information helps us to work your family history back in time.
Census – the Census from 1841 through to 1911 gives us information such as where your family lived and also the professions they worked in. You may find that your ancestors were wealthy or they could be very poor and live in the workhouse.
Parish Registers – Parish registers of baptisms, marriages and burials were kept from 1858. This information was written on vellum, parchment and later on paper. Many of these registers are still kept today in Register Offices around the country. Many of these parish registers have been copied onto microfilm to preserve the original documents. These parish registers can provide us with valuable information to further enhance your family history.
PCC Wills – wills prior to 1858 can be researched for you and they are held at the Local Record Offices. Many have been indexed.
Other supplementary Sources
Newspapers – both National and Local Newspapers and Pamphlets can hold a wealth of information to the family historian and can give information about your family. Information such as births, marriages, deaths, obituaries, obtaining medals and such information was sometimes recorded in newspapers and as such compliments your family history. Some newspapers have been indexed.
Directories – Commercial Directories were printed from the 18th Century and list people of certain trades along with their addresses. These supplement the Census if you cannot find an ancestor who has a trade. They also list the nobility and clergy in sections. These directories are by area and can be found in London repositories and also Local Record Offices..
Service Records of the Military – Service records can be obtained for the Navy, Army, Royal Marines, Merchant Navy and the Royal Air force. These records provide information such as height, weight and personal information such as hair colour and distinguishing features and so can help bring your ancestors to life.