The New Genealogy Apprentice

4 November 2020

Ever since I was little, I have always loved to work things out. My time was mainly spent being tech support to friends and family and making countless schedules to try to read as many books as I possibly could. A geek I know, but it’s safe to say that when I caught a glimpse of the TV show ‘Heir Hunters’, the seed of genealogy was planted.

I remember asking as many people as I could to try and ‘complete’ my family tree. So, you can imagine my surprise when I was told that my grandparents had parents too!

It was at this point that I learnt that my Nan Dorothy was adopted; she had grown up with her adopted family happy and content and had also met her birth mother and half-sisters when she had become an adult. This was perfect for my felt-tipped family tree except for one minor hitch, her birth father. Nobody knew anything about him, his name, what he looked like or where her mother had even met him. Having Dorothy never seen or had her birth certificate, the only person who had any idea had died taking the truth with her.

Fast forward to the doomed year of 2020, and it’s been many years since I was running around with my felt tips grilling people about their past. Having left college to work at a climbing centre, you would now find me teaching climbers how not to injure themselves, dealing with broken limbs and answering angry mums on Facebook; oh, and I mustn’t forget cleaning the toilets!

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my job, but something wasn’t working. After a long night of trying to teach some children that they need to move their legs to climb, I tore off a scrap of receipt paper and wrote this list:

1) I want my work to help and inspire people
2) I want to put my digital knowledge to the test
3) Can I have a desk that isn’t a yoga ball?

Shortly after, I saw the advertisement for a Digital Media & Marketing Apprentice at Family Wise Ltd. Now, I’m sure you’re sat there with an image of someone dancing around the house happy as ever that they’ve found the perfect opportunity. Well, scrap that, because I was bricking it! And I still am, but I think that’s probably a good thing.

Having only spent a week or so in the office so far, it is already very clear the passion and care everyone has for the work that they do. The room is seldom quiet; filled with gasps of excitement and murmurs of annoyance as they try to track down the elusive branches of family trees. The work that is done helps people all around the globe feel closer to their past and the people who helped make their existence possible. Although I am not directly involved in the research side of things, it is more than comforting to know that I am part of a team that helps people like my nan. And hey, maybe one day I might even be able to knock down that brick wall, with the knowledge and experience that is passed down to me.

A new and different second lockdown may be looming, but I know that I will still love every minute of my journey at Family Wise Ltd.

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