Mike Sharpe

Tracing Your Birmingham Ancestors: Hidden Gems

Birmingham is brimming with archives for family historians to explore. This talk will explain some of the name-rich but lesser known sources for tracking down your Brummie ancestors. These include: the many newspapers published in the city since the mid-18th century; the municipal cemeteries constructed to serve the burgeoning population; the non-conformist communities that have played such a key part in Birmingham’s history; the children’s homes set up for the urban poor; the criminals who appeared in the city’s courts; those who worked the Midlands’ many canals; and military ancestors, including the WWI Birmingham Pals.


Mike Sharpe is a professional genealogist, writer and lecturer specialising in the local and family history of Birmingham and the wider West Midlands. He runs Writing the Past (www.writingthepast.co.uk), a family history research and writing service, and is a member of the Association of Genealogists & Researchers in Archives (AGRA) and several family and local history societies. His books, Tracing Your Birmingham Ancestors and Tracing Your Potteries Ancestors are published by Pen & Sword. Mike was born in Birmingham and has traced his roots there back to 1750, long before the influxes of the Industrial Revolution, making him a true ‘Brummie’.