Jul 022015

PennyAs a business owner, Managing Director, or whatever you would like to call me, I regularly attend business network meetings in the local area (and sometimes further afield). I have been doing this for some years now to raise the profile of FWL. In our field, we need to stand out from the crowd. We can be great researchers in our own offices but if people don’t know we exist….!

During the hundreds of meetings I have attended, there have been various occasions when the penny has quite literally dropped in front of my eyes. Today was one of those – a business colleague I have met a couple of times who specifically wanted to talk to me about a personal matter which she needed me to investigate, as well as two services I needed right there in the room! Networking works…. Had I ‘just met’ any of these individuals for the first time? No. I know them (in varying degrees), I’d even go so far as to say I like them and I certainly trust them as fellow business owners.

When I set up FWL, did I think I would be managing a team of researchers? No. Did I think I would need professional office equipment? No. [Oh, I thought I would be able to manage with a desktop printer ….urgh … no!] Did I ever imagine that I would need people to answer the telephone in the office when I wasn’t available? No. How have I come by all these services? Networking. Yes, full stop. That’s it. It is – quite seriously – the answer to everything.

If you want to grow your business, you MUST seek out the local networking events. You really cannot afford not to be involved.

Jul 012015

Frequently at FWL, our  minds turn to the eccentric – sometimes, we are driven there and on other occasions, we drive there of our own accord. Over the past few weeks, we have been collecting various musical instruments in our research and we will begin our orchestral dalliances with the woodwind section.

For those of you who are not au fait with this particular section of the orchestra, all reed instruments fall within the woodwind section – oboe and bassoon being the double reed family, the clarinet having a single reed and the flute …. well, that’s another story. Anyway, two oboes are present in the historical censuses of England – Oboe Oglesby of John and Ann in 1901 and Oboe Mary Myatt in 1911, the wife of Edward, living in Caverswall, Staffordshire [OK, so now you need to guess what they actually were before clicking on the hyperlinks.] Concerning though it may be, there is someone potentially walking the planet right now – born in 1979 – with Oboe as a middle name.

WoodwindThere are less clarinets in the world – in fact, just two impostors in the 1911 census. Clarinet M. Fraser, wife of John, was born in India and perhaps better known to her friends as Claribel? Another variation on the clarinet theme is Arthur Clarinet Brody Hick, or even Arthur Clement Boyd Hick. Hmm….

Having been a flute player from a young age, one particular 1911 census schedule tickled me – Flute Flora Wilch, aged 23 and living in Seaton, Devon. There is also a very young Flute born in 2005 roaming around (potentially) the South of England. Bassoon-wise, of the 18 hits on FindmyPast (at the time of writing), several were travelling out of England and Wales whereas others were definitely made abroad before importation.

Oh you know you want to! Go take a look – you’ll find some amazing/amusing stuff out there. Please let us know of any funny finds – we’d be delighted to from you.

Jun 302015

I do believe that summer is here in England – lordie, we have had the windows, doors and conservatory open today and it is HOT! Of course I realise that, now that I have uttered these words in a public forum, the heavens will open and the temperature will rocket downwards rapidly. The offices of FWL have been like an oven today but interestingly, that has made us very productive.

phoneboxWe work on some really interesting projects at FWL and some which take us away from the planned jobs for the day. Much of our work is time-sensitive and driven by good communication between the team. Thank heaven for modern technology – when it works! Imagine not having Wifi…. or not having a mobile phone for contacting people when you are out of the office/house. Remember those old-fashioned phone box things?

I remember, in the early days of mobile phones, being one of those people who said “I never want to have a mobile. Why would I want to be contactable anytime, anywhere?” I still think that sometimes (!!) but would I be without it? Heavens no! The office hours of FWL are flexible from 9am to 9pm Monday to Saturday because, with modern technology, we don’t all have to be physically IN the office during those hours to answer the phone. Wunderbar!

This evening, I am mighty glad I don’t have to sit in the office. Too darned hot…. The marvellous day I have had I sadly, once again, cannot share with you all – in a few months time, my blog posts are going to be AWESOME! Some of the cases we are working on are sooooo interesting.

Here’s to another jolly day in the sunshine…. and a fan! (Oh, I have some of them already…. Haha!). Tomorrow, we will be regaling you with a few gems we have been storing up over the last month or so. Along the Potty Fartwell & Knob lines…. Watch this space!

Jun 292015

Isn’t that just a classic question! Clients often ask us how far back we can research their ancestry. How long is a piece of string? The influencing factors are numerous. Are your forebears from England, Wales, Scotland, France, Italy….? Do you know much about your ancestors already? If they were from England, from which county did they originate? Were they (like for many of us) agricultural labourers, or were they landed gentry?

Availability of records at parish level varies enormously from one parish to the next neighbouring parish. Some churches began keeping records from the sixteenth century. Others started much later and then there is the issue of document survival as so much has taken place over the last five hundred years. Damp, fire, many Wars and much more…..

Today, I had the pleasure of working with Marc Hervieux as part of the Qui Etes-Vous? television show. Having filmed last week in Newbury (USA), Marc’s journey continued to England yesterday (Sunday) and I met him in his ancestral ‘home parish’, as far back as our research has taken us – and that’s a long way. The programme will be aired in December in Canada and so I cannot say too much more at the moment, but it was such an amazing experience to share Marc’s journey back so far in the history books. We were very lucky to find many documents relating to his family which have survived the test of time (and everything else the centuries have thrown at them!).

So, how far can we go? Well, in this particular instance, back to the sixteenth century. My own genealogy – on many lines – is stuck in the eighteenth century due to lack of parish registers for the churches where my ancestors might have been hatched, matched or dispatched…. Oh Marc, I hope you know how lucky you are!

Jun 282015

Finding living people is not easy. It takes a lot of skill, expertise and what we call at FWL, terrier-like attitude. Depending on why you want to find someone also influences the level of difficulty of your quest. If an individual wants to hide (for whatever reason), they will cover their tracks. These days people have to change their name legally by deed poll whereas in the past – in my experience – they frequently just decide to alter their name, without any documentation to legalise/formalise the change. The fact that we now have a formal process to change a person’s name doesn’t make people any easier to trace though, because there is no central register of these changes….!

500Over recent weeks, we have managed to locate individuals via a variety of means who have legally changed their names. Wills are invaluable sources and whilst sometimes the £10 fee isn’t worth it, more often than not the Will can provide crucial information about the extended family of the deceased person, with contact details provided by the deceased (at the time of writing).

In the UK, we have TV shows called Long Lost Family and also Family Finders but really, you don’t need to go to a television production team or spend a fortune to find your long lost family, whoever they are, wherever they are. Just come to us at Family Wise Limited!

We have located hundreds of people for clients over the years and almost every single person has said that we do not charge as much as they had budgeted for to pay for our services. We think out of the box and do not leave a stone unturned to find long lost family members. Why not ask us for a quote? What do you have to lose?

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