December 3, 2018

Speaker Spotlight: Ruth Blair and Kirsty Gray

by admin in Uncategorised

Our Speaker Spotlight continues to bring an insight into the fantastic arena talk programme and some fascinating facts about the speakers behind them.

Ruth Blair

Ruth is a Professional Genealogist and lecturer based in Oakville. She has been doing family history research for over 30 years.  She has her Professional Learning Certificate for Genealogical Studies for Canada, England and Ireland from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies.

Canadian Family History Research: From Coast to Coast to Coast (Saturday 8 June 2019 at 2:30pm in Arena 4)

This lecture gives you an overview of online resources to start your family history research in Canada’s ten provinces.

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

I am travelling about 5,590 kms (3475 miles)

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

Attending my first genealogy show in England. I have attended many in Canada and the US as well as attending the Back to Our Past show in Dublin Ireland.

3. What first sparked your interest in genealogy?

It was a grade school project and I had to write letters to family in England and Ireland to get information. I started to collect more information every time I visited family overseas. The passion grew and now I am helping others research their family history.

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

People can contact me through my website www.familyhistorysearches.com I am also on Twitter @PassionateGenea and have a Facebook page for Blair Archival Research.

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

My whole life I have had an interest in history. In school my favourite class was always history. Research was a natural progression from my interest in history and I have a Research Techniques college diploma.

Ruth Blair

Kirsty Gray

Kirsty has over 15 years research experience and has her foot in many genealogical doors around the world. Her first involvement in family history came at the tender age of seven years with her maternal grandfather’s tree in hand. Obsessed with her great-grandmother’s maiden name of Sillifant, Kirsty began a surname study on the name in 1999. Founder member and Chair (now Secretary) of the Society for One-Place Studies, Kirsty has two places registered, on the Devon/Cornwall border. In November 2014, Kirsty founded The Surname Society with five other genealogists across the globe.

Kirsty took up genealogy professionally while training to be a teacher in 2002. Running Family Wise Limited, Kirsty and her worldwide team of researchers ‘find people and change lives’, conducting research for private individuals, solicitors, academics and companies worldwide. Family Wise Limited is also one of the leading intestacy research specialists (or ‘Heir Hunters’).

The True Life of an Heir Hunter (Friday 7 June 2019 at 2:30pm in Arena 1)

With the BBC television show ‘Heir Hunters’ regularly aired, the public feel that they have a much greater understanding of the process of tracing heirs when people die without leaving Wills. Is the show all hyped up for the media? Is the industry portrayed in a realistic way? Three genealogists from across the globe will grill the Managing Director of one of the leading probate and intestacy companies to discover the truth. What is it really like being an Heir Hunter? No holds barred – come along and find out!

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

Around 100 miles door to door

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

I always look forward to the big events on the genealogical calendar and missed not having one in the UK this year. It’s wonderful to have such an international field of speakers in the various arenas and exhibitors from many different countries as well.

3. What first sparked your interest in genealogy?

When I was really young, my maternal grandparents moved to Tenerife and the family history was left in my mother’s safe keeping. We worked on adding to it when I was a youngster/teenager and when I moved closer to London to do my degree at the University of Reading, I spent many Saturday mornings queueing outside the Family Records Centre. If only I’d have known that so many records would be available online in years to come! Days lost searching censuses in totally the wrong place and now, those pesky relatives can be located at the touch of a button.

I was lucky that many older relatives were also interested in our history and so the tree grew with the additional information they were able to offer up and then I found the Sillifant surname in my paternal line. Well, I was hooked!

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

Googling “Kirsty Gray” and “genealogy” gives quite a lot of hits, so I’m told. Business wise, Family Wise can be found at www.family-wise.co.uk (moving offices in nine days), I’m on Twitter @ThePeopleTracer and @TheKirstyGray amongst other accounts which I manage.

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

Very few people will know that I have been down the Calgary Bobsleigh run (the one which features in Cool Runnings) in a bobsleigh with no brakeman or driver! Oh, and I am a three saxophone family (alto, tenor and baritone) and have played on many a stage over the years (though sadly not recently).

 

 

 

 

 

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