Have your family tree traced properly, using original records in archives, by a properly trained, experienced genealogist.
In 2013 I am celebrating the tenth anniversary of going freelance and wish to thank the many people all over the world who have used my services, bought my books, watched my broadcasts and otherwise supported and encouraged me.
My new book Tracing Your Aristocratic Ancestors was launched at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live show at Olympia in February 2013 was the subject of a half page article in the Sunday Express, 24 February 2013.
As seen on BBC2′s Heir Hunters on 11 January 2013
Author of The King’s Henchman, described by The Literary Review as ’energetic and original’ and by Dan Cruickshank in the Mail on Sunday as ‘a rich and heady brew that gallops along at a cracking pace’.
My profile of Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis and his family history published in Discover Your Ancestors, issue 2, February 2013
I am a professional genealogist, writer and broadcaster. As a freelance professional genealogist, I provide a complete range of services from one-off searches to full scale projects to trace family trees, all over the British Isles and in many countries abroad, from the United States to Greece, and investigates all aspects of surname origins, heraldry, house histories and much more besides.
Whether you want your family tree traced as far back as possible, or want to learn more about particular ancestors; seek living relatives; look for aristocratic connections and coats of arms; understand your surname or study your origins using genetics and DNA, I can help. No assignment is too great or small, or too obscure – it is through working on a wide variety of widely-varying cases for clients all over the world that I have amassed my expertise.
To read more on having your ancestry traced, have a look at my Family Tree Research page.
Born in 1967, I was educated at St George’s College, Weybridge and studied Medieval History at Durham University. Encouraged to pursue a career in genealogy by Sir Conrad Swan, York Herald of Arms (and later to become Garter Principal King of Arms), I studied at The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies under Cecil Humphery-Smith, O.B.E., who was proud to trace his ‘pedigree of learning’ back, teacher-by-teacher, to the great Stuart antiquarian, Sir William Dugdale (1605-1686).
I continued to lecture there and worked for twelve years as a researcher and latterly Research Director for The Institute’s supporting firm of professional genealogists, serving meantime, from 1990 to 1998, as Hon. Secretary of English Record Collections.
The best and most momentous decision of my life was to become freelance in March 2003. I have worked as a professional genealogist, writer and broadcaster ever since – and have not looked back once.
My television career began in earnest in 2000, with the broadcast of Channel 4’s Extraordinary Ancestors, which I researched single-handed, and co-presented with Shilpa Metha. I have subsequently researched and presented programs on genealogy for Radio 4, BBC 1, ITV’s GMTV and This Morning, UKTV and Living TV, and have appeared alongside Melanie Sykes, Bill Oddie, Fern Britton, Philip Schofield, Lorraine Kelly, Liza Faulkener and many more. These programs were a major factor in turning genealogy into the immensely popular pastime it is today, and laid the foundations for Why Do You Think You Are?, whose first series I helped research (I investigated the origins of Jeremy Clarkson, and it was my idea to include Stephen Fry). For my TV work, and also my books, I was nominated – as I was somewhat nonplussed to so discover – as one of the world’s ‘Genealogy Rock Stars’ in January 2012.
I have been resident genealogist for www.GenesReunited.co.uk since the site began in 2003, giving monthly live web-casts on the site – over 100 to date, and counting.
I wrote 13 articles for The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and have written extensivelyon many aspects of history and family and home history for a wide variety of publications from The Sunday Times to Your Family Tree, covering subjects as diverse as Keralese ancestry, Tudor research, Suffolk landscape artist Perry Nursey and interviews with the likes of the British Ambassador in Armenia, Garter King of Arms and the editor of Burke’s Peerage and have researched and written about ancestry of celebrities such as Stephen Fry, Joanna Lumley, Orlando Bloom, Ronnie Corbet, Michael Palin, J.K. Rowling and Hugh Grant: Hugh was kind enough to comment that ‘I grew up knowing a bit about my recent heritage, but now I know about the ancient links and it’s something I hold dear’.
My first book, Tracing your Family History, was published by Collins in 2004. I used the opportunity to pull the previously rather boring genre of genealogy ‘how-to’ books into the 21st century by including all aspects of family history, from basic records right through to heraldry, surname origins and DNA. My subsequent books on house history, Scottish and Irish genealogy have sought to reach even further, the latter two again exploring beyond the records into the realms of genetics and the real and mythical origins of the Scots and Irish. My Irish book was described by November 2007’s Who Do You Think You Are Magazine as ‘a rare achievement’, whilst of his Scottish one, Family History Monthly wrote ‘Adolph triumphs!’. I followed this with Who Am I? The Family Tree Explorer, introducing genealogy to children, and was delighted when the book was recommended, highly, by Blue Peter. ‘I would recommend this book unreservedly’, wrote Sarah Williams, editor Who Do You Think You Are Magazine, whilstJoan Griffis wrote, in The News Gazette ‘of all the how-to books I have ever seen, Adolph’s are the most beautiful’.
My next book, The King’s Henchman. Henry Jermyn: Stuart Spymaster and Architect of the British Empire was published by Gibson Square in November 2012 and earned me membership of the prestigious Biographer’s Club. It was chosen by the Daily Express (7 December 2012) as one of their TOP NON-FICTION CHRISTMAS READS. I am now writing books on tracing aristocratic ancestors, and one on the links between Greek, Roman and British origin myths. That is a huge subject which takes in the stories of Homer and Virgil, and also our own, fabulous British myths about Brutus, the Trojan founder of our ‘isles of wonder’. He is the mythical ancestor of the ancient kings of Britain, so this is a subject that takes our family trees as far back as they can possibly go.
I grew up knowing virtually nothing about my ancestry, but since the age of 15 I have discovered that my male-line ancestry is German, going back to indigo merchants who came from Hachenberg in north Germany to settle in London, on the site of the modern Gherkin Building, in 1832. The wives of subsequent generations have provided me with a lively mixture of English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish ancestry: I am a quarter Irish through my maternal grandmother, with a possible connection to Peregrine O’Duigenan one of the genealogists who recorded orally-transmitted Irish genealogies in the magnificent Annals of the Four Masters.
One line of my ancestry leads back, via the family of Cardinal Pole, to Edward III. Another provides me with a cousinship – that I was thrilled to discover – via the Fairfaxes, with H.R.H. Princess Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge (she is my 10th cousin once removed). When I traced my Fairfax ancestors, I had no idea that an obscure young woman at the other end of a collateral line was suddenly going to become the consort of our future king, and it just goes to show that time tracing family lines is never wasted. A further line which I discovered goes back to Thomas Cromwell, Vicar-General to Henry VIII, who introduced parish registers to England in 1538: I am extremely proud to be descended from the man who introduced a body of records without which most family history research would be impossible.