November 26, 2018

Speaker Spotlight: Pat Reynolds and Mike Sharpe

by admin in Uncategorised

The ‘Speaker Spotlight’ continues, bringing an insight into the fantastic arena talk programme and some fascinating facts about the speakers behind them.

Pat Reynolds

Pat works with two heritage organisations – Free UK Genealogy which is a charity taking a lead on open genealogy resources, and the other is Heritage People – a social enterprise bringing together organisations needing heritage professionals and heritage professionals wanting to volunteer/freelance without self-employment, with a particular focus on integrated heritage management and work in the UK Overseas Territories.


The World of Free UK Genealogy (Friday 7 June 2019 at 1:30pm in Arena 3)

A tour of new features and plans for FreeBMD, FreeCEN and FreeREG, and news of what is happening behind the scenes at Free UK Genealogy and in the wide world of Open Genealogy.


1. How far are you travelling to reach the show?

Approximately 200 miles.

2. What are you most looking forward to at the show?

Meeting other genealogists

3. What first sparked your interest in genealogy?

Listening to my mother and grandmother talk about family and trying to work out in what way ‘Granny Austin’, ‘Auntie Win’ and many others were related to me.

4. If people want to find out more about you, where can they do so?

I’m just a small cog – I think is far more interesting than I am … but I do have a linkedin profile

5. Would you care to share a fun fact about yourself or something that no one else knows until now?

It is my ambition to visit every British Overseas Territory – I’ve already visited Tristan da Cunha, the remotest inhabited island in the world, where everyone’s genealogy is known, back to the time they arrived on Tristan!

Pat Reynolds Photo

Mike Sharpe

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 (, a family history research and writing service.

Tracing Your Birmingham Ancestors: Hidden Gems (Friday 7 June 2019 at 10:30am in Arena 3)

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.

 1. How far are you travelling to reach the show?

I’m West Midlands based and THE Genealogy Show is on my doorstep, which is great. I have a 20 minute drive to the show and get to sleep in my own bed!

2. What are you most looking forward to at the show?

There’s always something new in the family history world and events such as this are a great opportunity for networking and keeping up with what’s going on. I’m particularly looking forward to hearing about advances in DNA genealogy, which is changing so quickly.

3. What first sparked your interest in genealogy?

My grandmother was the sort of person who kept in touch with everyone. I would sit at her kitchen table and listen to her discussing family tales with her brother, my great-uncle, and try to make out who everyone was. One day my great-uncle sketched a family tree for me on a piece of parcel paper, which I still have. From that day, I was hooked!

4. If people want to find out more about you, where can they do so?

My website is at and I’m on Twitter at @WTPgenealogy.

5. Would you care to share a fun fact about yourself or something that no one else knows until now?

It’s not a fun fact, but we should all recognise that we have a story to tell. It’s really important to write down our family histories and our life stories to share with others.

One Comment

  1. Ann Brooker
    31st January 2019 at 3:09 pm

    By taxi. Driving in -Birmingham frightens me!I I’m a Northumbrian/Durhamite , but living down south (Solihull) for last 4 years.
    I will be at the show however. There is always something new to learn.
    Fun Fact. My ancestors told fibs! Even information in our Bible is incorrect. My interest began when I inherited my paternal Family Bible. And stories my maternal grandfather told me.
    Research began in 1978 -qualified and became adult tutor for many years. Self employed working for many North Easteners living abroad. Made many friends. Lovely `hobby`-obsession?

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