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Past Search

Suite 14
Meadow View House
191 Queens Road

+44 (0)1603 610619

I charge £28 Sterling per hour for research. Costs of other services are detailed throughout this site. Please click here to contact me for more details.


PaypalI now produce an e-mail Newsletter. It goes out every couple of months and contains details of forthcoming events, recommended books and websites, tips and a "this month in history section". If you would like to receive a copy please email me at:

Site created by:
Alex Orton. Ian Buckingham and Gill Blanchard


Gill TeachingReviews of my courses
and talks

Courses and talks

Here you can view reviews of my talks and courses.

General feedback by an attendee of multiple courses

"Gill is an excellent on-line tutor, with great inter personal skills, an in depth knowledge of her subject and able to present it in an interesting and coherent way which makes learning very enjoyable. Thank you once again for an interesting and informative course on Wills."
John Fowler. Professional Genealogist at Genbyte, Buckinghamshire

Writing Your Family History talk at Who Do You Think You Are? Live show, February 2013

"Last month I attended your talk, “Writing your family history” at Who do you Think You Are? Live and found it really helpful, refreshingly practical and well organised in the scope of its content and the timing. I thought the list of 'homework' tasks was an excellent way to sustain our interest and provide a checklist of what is required."
Penny Tipper, Leicestershire.

Society of Genealogists ‘Writing Your Family History’ workshops

"I went on your 'Writing Your Family History' course in November at the SOG, and I'm just contacting you to say thank you. I decided to write up about my grandfather's generation (he was one of 13 brothers and sisters) and using the tasks you set us I began to pull it all together. I have now set my deadline for the next family section for Easter and using your notes and techniques, feel confident I can actually work my way through it all. So, many thanks and best wishes."
Val Squires, Warwickshire.

Tying the Knot: Marriage and its Records, May 2012 (Online Course)

"I'd like to take the opportunity to thank you for the Tying the Knot course course Gill, I really enjoyed it, and felt as if I gained a lot from it learning new sites on the internet and new methods for research too. It was that course that refreshed my thirst for further knowledge and pushed me to join the Dead and Burried course. Thanks again."
Mick Hurst, Sheffield

"I have just finished your last course 'Tying The Knot' which I thoroughly enjoyed; and have just watched a TV programme on marriage by Dr Lucy Worsely, from her series 'Harlots, Housewifes and Heroines', which I watched with more interest because of your course."
Chris Gilham, Lincolnshire

"I just wanted to say I enjoyed it and have got a lot from the course material and the forum. I hope to see you on one of your other courses as I really enjoyed this one."
Janet, UK

Pharos Wills and Administrations Course, Spring 2012 (Online Course)

"Thank you for a stimulating, demanding, very helpful course."
Barbara Schenck, USA

"I would just like to say how much I enjoyed the course, and how much I feel I got out of it."
Jan Kibbon, UK

"Yet another eye-opening course!"
Kim Baldacchino, Taunton, Somerset, UK

"[I] Can't begin to tell you how much I've learned! Thank you so, so much! Not only that, I've thoroughly enjoyed it. When I met you at the 'Who Do You Think You Are?' show, you said the course wasn't easy, and you weren't wrong! I said that I like a challenge, and I've definitely found it so, but in a good way! Hope to do another course with you."
Sue Dorney, UK

"Thanks for the excellent course that you have given us."
Liz Batchelor, UK

"Just to say also how much I have enjoyed this particular course and feel sure I will be returning to the course notes on a regular basis. This is my last course as part of the FHSS Intermediate Distance Learning Course and I have found all the tutors extremely helpful. I will be back doing more Pharos courses"
Karen W., UK

"Thank you very much for yet another interesting and informative course."
Lynn Gunter, UK

"I have learned so much from the course and it seems to have catapulted me forward, so thank you very much."
Nickie Johnson

Tracing East Anglian Ancestors
May 2012 Society of Genealogists, London
Feedback from the event organiser:

"We have had excellent feedback from those attending. The course evaluation forms included the following comments on: which part of the programme people found most helpful/useful/interesting and why:
Non-standard records – beyond certificates, census, parish records
Information about local repositories and the examples of local records
Manorial records, apprenticeships, what records are where
Most enjoyable and informative, thank you"

200 Years: Putting the Census and your Ancestors in Context (Talk)

October 2011 London Branch of the Norfolk Family History Society held at the Society of Genealogists, London
Review in The Norfolk Ancestor magazine December 2011:

“2011 being a census year, we were pleased to welcome back Gill Blanchard of Past Search … Gill spoke a little about the history of the census as a data-gathering tool … Gill concluded her talk by taking questions from members …”

Using Wills and Administrations in Family History (Talk)

October 2010 Norfolk Family History Society, Norwich
Review in The Norfolk Ancestor magazine December 2010:

“Gill Blanchard gave the members present an introduction into using Wills and Administrations for Family History. Gill a professional researcher and qualified tutor, really knows her subject and somehow managed to deliver the talk on this complex subject in an understandable way, with lots of practical advice”.

Migration to and from West Norfolk (Talk)

September 2010 Norfolk Family History Society, West Norfolk Branch in King’s Lynn
Reviewed in The Norfolk Ancestor magazine September 2010:

“In June Gill Blanchard came to talk to us about sources for family historians in relation to migration to and from West Norfolk. This was an interesting topic … Looking at the how and why of migration led us on to the records where we may find evidence of the reasons for such migration”.

Norfolk Agricultural Labourers and Migration (Talk)

October 2009 London Branch of the Norfolk Family History Society held at the Society of Genealogists, London. Reviewed in The Norfolk Ancestor magazine December 2009:

“The promise to hear a talk on rural migration by Gill Blanchard of Past Search was a great draw … Obviously, this was a huge topic, but Gill gave us an excellent framework and plentiful suggestions as to where to find that missing evidence” … Gill ended her talk to much applause and then took questions from the audience. Rural migration was a huge topic to cover, but Gill had given us all an excellent overview of what might have driven our ancestors to pack their bags and how we might track their adventures hundreds of years later”.


Comments from some of my students and audience members

Thank you for this [Poor Law] course Gill. I have found it to be totally professionally run (I'm a bit of a critic of training programs, can't help myself). I shall be doing some more courses, this has been my third, and I like the discipline of assessments.

Margaret Moxon. Australia

Having attended one of Gill's "further steps" family history courses, I was most impressed with her thorough knowledge of the subject and preparation before each class and her encouragement during those classes to explore every aspect of our research. I know we all eagerly looked forward to her classes each week.

Alison Brown. North Norfolk

I have very much enjoyed classes that I have attended. They were relaxed, enjoyable and very informative, with each session being flexible enough to provide for the needs of that group.

Sandra Hopewell. South Norfolk

I attended classes at The Family History Centre, where Gill Blanchard was the tutor, her knowledge and experience of family history shone through, along with an enthusiasm which was infectious, it helped me to get involved, researching and thoroughly enjoying (probably forever) this fascinating subject.

Phyll Clements, Norfolk

I have been on two courses run by Gill, one online and one in a more traditional classroom setting. The online course relating to the Poor and the Poor Law in the 19th Century, was thorough in content and expertise. In true teacher fashion Gill leads her students towards the answers, while ensuring they experience the research process and reach their own conclusions. The more traditional post-graduate course was equally thorough and professional. Gill is an excellent teacher who is generous with her support, advice and expertise. Any course run by her will guarantee an enjoyable experience and will effectively develop your own skills. If you see one advertised, don't hesitate but sign up immediately before all the places are gone.

Liz Rastrick, Suffolk

Gill is a wonderful teacher - anyone interested in past times, their ancestry and local history can't do better than take advantage of her wide knowledge and enthusiasm.

Roger Polhill, Norfolk