Heritage Family History - Bringing your past to the present
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For details of my forthcoming family history current talks open to the general public please go to the:Talks Page

For details of current classroom courses please go to:"TRACING YOUR FAMILY TREE"

The Heritage Family History e-Course

Following the launch of two new modules this month, the Heritage Family History is now a 6-module course available for download. You can start it at any time and work at your own speed. Although the course is not assessed there are questions and exercises with answers so that you can see how you are doing.

Student Feedback on the e-Course:

"I've been tracing my family's history for some years, stumbling and learning as I go along, frustratingly thwarted by a lack of time to immerse myself in record offices. I've a fair grasp of social history matters having studied history as part of a degree course (thirty years ago - that's history in itself!) but I'm grateful to your course for filling in gaps in my knowledge of basics, confirming my amateurish hunches, showing me the error of my ways, and giving me completely new information. I was astonished to discover the etiquette of creating an ancestral chart - I've looked at so many but hadn't realized the importance of placing everyone correctly! "

For an in-depth description of the course click here


£129. Once you have paid you are free to begin the course as and when you are ready and to work at your own speed.


Payment can be made using the PayPal button below or by sending a cheque made payable to "Heritage Family History" to Chestnut Lodge, Ivychurch, Romney Marsh, TN29 0AL. Once your payment has been received and has cleared your download instructions and activation code will be emailed to you. Please make sure that you add my email celia@heritagefamilyhistory.co.uk to your friends list or your download may end up in your spam filter. You will also be able to access the Heritage Family History Links Website. If you do not receive your download within 48 hours please ring 01797 344376.

If you are an exsisting e-Course student who previously bought the course as a 4-module course then you are entitled to receive the new modules at a reduced price. Please email me for details.

Optional head to head telephone or Skype sessions are also available for purchase to HFH e-course students only at a discounted rate from my normal head to head charges. All session must be booked and paid in advance. Please email me if you are interested in booking a session.E-mail celia@heritagefamilyhistory.co.uk

Head to head telephone or Skype prices for e-course students:

15 minutes: £14

30 minutes: £23

Number of minutes


The next classroom course is in Rye, East Sussex. See the details below.


Monday 9th and Tuesday 10th March 2015

Tilling Green Community Centre, Mason Road, Rye, East Sussex TN31 7BE.

This is a follow-on course from last year's beginner's course run in partnership Sussex Coast College Community Learning Project.

We will be looking at some more advanced sources such as parish chest records, probate records and army records and enhancing your research technique. Further details to be announced in due course.

There is no charge for the course

To book email: tina.hall@ryepartnership.org


If you would like me to give a talk or workshop for your group or society please contact me for a quotation giving details of the sort of class or talk you would like, an idea of how experienced your group is and also your location. A number of sample courses are listed below and these can usually be adapted to meet your requirements

Tel. 01797 344376

Email: celia@heritagefamilyhistory.co.uk


Five-week evening class.

Family History looks easy when you see it on TV, but in reality things can be quite different! In this Internet age there are numerous websites to use: but how do you know which is the best? Is it really "all on the Internet" and what if you don't have Internet access? How do you proceed when you hit a stumbling block and can't find the ancestor you are looking for, or when you have traced back so far that Internet sources are no longer much use? Family History can be a bewildering subject for the uninitiated, and even if you have made a good start and feel fairly confident - wouldn't you like to know more? A little learning can take you into research areas you had never thought of and really start bringing your ancestors to life!

This five-week course is not just for beginners, but also for those who realise that there is alot more waiting for them out there! We will look not just at how to start, but at the tips and pitfalls of searching and at the history of some of the records you are using. We will hone your research technique so that you avoid tracing someone else's tree by mistake (it is easy to do!) and show you that there is life away from the computer if you wish to progress in that direction!

1. Week 1: Starting Out and Civil Registration.
2 Week 2: Census Records. How To Get the Most From Them.
3 Week 3: Practical Exercise based on Sessions 1 & 2.
4 Week 4: Parish Registers.
5 Week 5: An Introduction To Other Sources.


Of all the sources that family historians use, death records are among the most enlightening for the researcher and frequently bring our ancestors to life to a far greater extent than any other records. They often reveal personal information that is just not to be found elsewhere and which will help you see your ancestor in a much more accurate light. Finding an ancestor’s death is crucial in another way too: an awful lot could have happened to him in between the time you last found him on a census return or baptizing his last child and the day he died – without the death record you only know half his story! Yet these sources are surprisingly underused by many researchers. We will look in detail at all types of death records, from the familiar to the less well known and not only how to get the most from them but how to use them as springboards to discovering other sources too. We will also consider the causes of death given on death certificates and how to interpret them, discover why death records can be hard to trace, and what you can do to locate those that just don’t seem to be there.This course makes use of much research carried out in the course of writing my book, some of which there was insuffcient room to include!

Although aimed at students with some experience in family history, this course is also a good kick starter for complete beginners.


Sessions 1 and 2: approx 1. 5 hours Building a Wider Picture with Death Records & Locating Missing Death Records.Two Sessions with a comfort breaks in between.
Session 3 Inquest Records & Obituaries.
Lunch Break Lunch Break can include a question time for students to ask any questions about genealogy in general
Sesion 4 Wills & Probate Records:Are they Relevant to My Research & How do I Find Them?
Break Tea Break
Session 5 Coping with Death: Suicide, infant death, hereditary illness & the consequences of death.
Session 6 Gravestones & what they can tell us: A look at the information and imagery on gravestones and what can be learned from them.


Many people may be familiar with parish registers and realise that before 1837 they are vital in order trace a family history, but many are unaware of the great wealth of other records created by the local parish authoriites which may help reveal the real lives of our ancestors both rich or poor. Parish Chest records date from as early as the sixteenth century and go on right up to the nineteenth century. They are one of the few sources which are particularly rich in docmentation of the poor and they are a research opportunity not to be missed! We shall look at the diffferent sorts of records to be found, how the parish was organised and see what happened with the introduction of the Workhouse system in 1834.


Session 1 The Organisation of the Parish & the Records Created 1550-1840. Parish Officers and the documentation of both the better off and the poor of the parish.
Session 2 The Poor and the Poor Law.
Session 3 Lunch Break
Break The Introduction of the Workhouse
Session 4 Land records: An Introduction. Maps, tithe and enclosure records. One of the most fascinating sources for finding out more about your ancestors and where they lived.
Session 5 Summing up and final questions.


Manorial records are often dismissed as "difficult" or "only of use for very early research". They are in fact one of the few sources that potentially span the centuries from the 1300s right through until the 20th century while, although early records are in Latin, from the 18th century the majority are in English. Manorial records are one of the few sources that can give us a run of conclusive evidence that will prove a family tree over several generations, sometimes before the advent of parish registers. With a little knowledge manorial records are not difficult and this workshop aims to break down these misconceptions and open up a much wider world of research to you.

This is an intensive workshop limited to 12 students. In the morning we will look at the manorial system and its records and also at who lived on the manor. You may be surprised to find how many of your poorer ancestor may feature. The afternoon will consist of a palaeography workshop with two tutors led by Dr David Wright and adjusted to the individual's skill level. We will practise reading old handwriting and take a look at some basic Latin which will be need for pre-17th century documents.



In this course we will investigate some of the sources that will help you see behind the scenes in your ancestors’ lives, learning about incidents that happened to them and gaining an understanding of what everyday life was like for them.

We cover a range of centuries and will look at records produced in connection with nearly every stage of a person’s life from infant to adult and the grave. Topics covered include school and workhouse records (in particular those relating to workhouse staff), trade directories, apprenticeships and guilds, Ordnance Survey maps, churches and gravestones and finally – court records where nearly all of our ancestors would have featured at some point in their lives either for civil or criminal misdemeanours or as witnesses. These records can be the most revealing and show you what your ancestors were really like!


Session 1 Welcome
Session 2 From Infant to Adult: School, Trade & Workhouse records. What can they tell us, and how to locate them. Three Sessions with comfort breaks in between.
13.00 Lunch and Questions.
Session 3 Court Records. From Petty and Quarter Sessions to the courts of Exchequer and Chancery - your ancestors will be there!
Session 4 Tea Break.
Session 5 Getting Out On the Ground: Maps, Churches & Memorials.
16.30 Approximate Finish.