I graduated from the University of York with first class honours in chemistry, but as a student I had preferred tracking down information in books and journals to laboratory work, so decided to pursue a career in the field of scientific information. I subsequently obtained a postgraduate qualification in information studies from the University of Sheffield, and my first career was as a science librarian, mainly in university libraries.
I began to investigate my own family history in the 1990s, when virtually nothing was available online. After several years of personal research I decided to become a professional genealogist, and submitted myself for IHGS examinations following independent study. I was awarded a Higher Certificate in 2006, a Diploma in Genealogy in 2008, and became a Member of AGRA in 2009. During the decade I practised as a professional genealogist I carried out research for a large number of clients both in the UK and overseas. I subsequently wrote two books on research in the period before the introduction of civil registration. I was awarded a Licentiateship in Heraldry and Genealogy in 2019 for my dissertation on extended parish registers.
I was born and grew up in the north-east of England, lived in several different places during my earlier adult life, including London, Edinburgh and Stratford-upon-Avon, and have lived in Somerset since 1995. Although I am no technophobe, and maintain this website myself, I am a social media sceptic, so you won't find me on Facebook or Twitter.