Bloomin’ Ancestors! – Giving your family history personality

AGRA’s conference Bloomin’ Ancestors – Giving your family history personality is fast approaching. I shall be speaking about Thomas’ step-uncle, Henry Smith:

A Most Notorious, False, Lying Fellow: a Global Black Sheep or Maligned Character

Demonstrating how you can use historical sources – East India Company Records, published source and private papers – to enhance your ancestral history. I have written about Smith many times in this blog and my talk will be an opportunity to hear his whole life-story.

The conference is open to anyone interested in finding out more about their ancestors, it is being held at Pembroke College’s modern Conference Centre in Oxford on Saturday 28th September. Attendees can also stay the previous night at Pembroke College and there will be a dinner in their historic dining hall where the writer Nick Barlay as the after-dinner speaker. Nick has written four novels, including Scattered Ghosts, which tells the 200-year story of his Hungarian Jewish family through war, Holocaust and revolution to contemporary Britain.

I am proud to be included among an impressive group of other conference speakers who are as follows:

  • Dr Janina Ramirez – The well-known historian and presenter will be the keynote speaker who will open the Conference and will be speaking about Personalities of the Past
  • Sue Adams – Follow the Money in the Property Records of the Manor
  • Carol Kerry Green – Dying to Impress – Examining the role and image of the Press Gang (Impressment), particularly during war time. It will show how a single line in a burial register can lead to fleshing out an ancestor’s life and gaining an understanding of the times they lived in.
  • John Titford – Bounce Backers – ancestors who moved away, then returned home.



There will also be three concurrent workshops:

  • Antony Marr – On the Authority of the Registrar General – Exploring the little understood area of re-registrations and corrections on register entries
  • Susan Moore – Cracking Chancery Records
  • Charity Rouse – Discoveries from Across the Pond

A few places are still being held for the conference so, if you would like to join me there, full details of the event are on the AGRA Conference web page at: 

Bookings can be made via Eventbright at: 

If you have any queries about the Conference do contact AGRA Secretary, Cathy Soughton, at:



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