I have always loved history and grew up in an old farmhouse, imagining what it must have been like to live there in the past. Since all my grandparents were born in the late Victorian period and I am the youngest in my family, I sadly only had the opportunity to get to know my maternal grandmother. When I was a child, we spent many happy hours together, especially on a Sunday afternoon, when she would come over for lunch. I always had lots of questions and wanted to know all the stories about her family and childhood. From her, I learnt that a mystery relative had lost his arm. Who was he and how did that happen? I had to learn more.
I made my first foray into family history research in my early teens, when I visited the grave of my great grandfather, George Alfred Batchelor. He was buried in Cooling, Kent and from the age on his memorial, I knew that he had been born around 1858, though I had know idea where. Accompanied by my elder brother, I paid a visit to the General Register Office, in London, and ordered my first certificate. My ancestral journey had begun!
After graduating from the University of Leicester, where I studied history, I was fortunate enough to turn my love of family history into a career. I spent over ten years working as a professional genealogist at the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies (IHGS) in Canterbury, Kent, England, from 1993 to 2005. Having gained the IHGS Higher Certificate and Diploma in Genealogy, I began teaching, writing and lecturing on family history, as well as researching numerous family histories for clients. I am currently a tutor for the Institute’s Correspondence Course in Genealogy and deliver presentations and articles for family history societies and conferences, whilst finding time to write my blog.
In March 2021, I was interviewed as a guest of genealogist, Natalie Pithers, on her Genealogy Stories YouTube Channel, TwiceRemoved. We talked about all sorts of topics related to family history so please click here if you would like to view this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHdBp4-eIcE. I enjoyed taking part in a podcast in October 2021 when I appeared on the very first episode of The Really Useful Podcast, produced by The Federation of Family History Societies. I was talking with my fellow guests all about “Occupations” and their relevance to family history. You can have a listen here: https://www.familyhistoryfederation.com/podcast
In February 2022, my article on Reading Old Handwriting appeared in Who Do You Think You Are Magazine.
Here I am holding the February 2022 issue of Who Do You Think You Are Magazine (WDYTYA)
© Judith Batchelor 2022