I graduated from the University of York with first class honours in chemistry, but I 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 an MSc in Information Studies from the University of Sheffield, and my first career was as a science librarian, mainly in university libraries.
I began to research my personal family history in the 1990s, when virtually nothing was available online, and after several years decided to become a professional genealogist, for which I considered a qualification was essential. Rather than taking a course I studied autodidactically, devising my own programme of reading, research and visiting archives. I submitted myself for IHGS examinations and was awarded a Higher Certificate in 2006 and a Diploma in Genealogy in 2008, subsequently becoming a member of AGRA in 2009. During the ten years I practised as a professional genealogist I carried out research for hundreds of clients in the UK and overseas.
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 fairly computer-savvy, and set up this website myself, I am a social media sceptic, so you won't find me on Facebook or Twitter.