Ruth Bloom Research
A personal approach to family history



Isn't everything available on the internet these days?

  • It's true that increasing amounts of data are being made available online.  These online resources can certainly make the initial stages of research a lot quicker, but at some stage you may well have to go back to primary sources in The National Archives or local record offices.  It's also worth bearing in mind that many transcription errors can creep into the indexes of online resources, making them time consuming and frustrating to use for the inexperienced.  By using various search strategies, I am often able to uncover families in the censuses that clients have previously been unable to find for themselves (I love a challenge!).

How long will it take?

  • This will largely depend upon how much information is available initially, and how far you want to go - or how much detail you want to find out.  Sometimes it's possible to go back three generations quite quickly; at other times it may be necessary to order several certificates for people with the same name before finding the right one.  Of course you might hit a brick wall very early on - it really is impossible to generalise.  
  • Bear in mind also that if it is necessary to order certificates of birth, marriage or death, there will be a time delay whilst I wait to receive them (normally about a week).

How much will it cost?

  • Again, it's impossible to generalise - which is why I like to work to a budget limit, so that the client can choose at each stage whether or not to continue with a particular avenue of research.  Some searches can be very time consuming - looking through parish registers could well take several hours and yield no results - or you could find the record within the first ten minutes.

How can I be sure that you've found the right people?

  • I will always tell you what my supporting evidence is, and document any assumptions I've made.  It can be difficult to unravel families where different generations have the same name, or where cousins of the same name live in the same place.  If I'm not sure, I won't guess - I'll document the various possibilities, and if possible suggest other ways of verifying who was who.

What if my name is really common?

  • Looking for ancestors whose surname is common can be very difficult; however if there are unusual forenames, or occupations, it can still be possible to pinpoint the right people.    If my initial assessment is that it can't be done, I'll tell you.

My family came from the West Country - can you help?

  • Yes - I am a frequent visitor to the West Country, and can carry out research at the Devon and  Somerset record offices.  I'm familiar with the area and have conducted extensive 'field work' here (e.g. visits to graveyards, photographing old houses and inns).

I think my family were originally from Ireland - can you help?

  • Most of us have branches of our family who lived a long way from where they might have landed up in the twentieth century.  Depending upon when the family arrived from Ireland, I will possibly be able to find out where they came from - and when.  Indexes to Irish civil registration registers are held in London at the LDS Family History Centre, and so I could do a certain amount of research for you, if they are relatively recent arrivals.